Saturday, June 29, 2019

Last Call: Water, Water Everywhere, Nor Any Drop to Drink

Detail from "The Rectangle" by Frank O. King, in Chicago Tribune, June 1, 1919
The 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was set to go into effect on July 1, 1919, prohibiting the production, sale and transportation of beer, wine, and intoxicating liquors throughout the country. As reported by Arthur Sears Henning in the Chicago Tribune that fateful Tuesday morning, alongside reports that $1.5 million was spent in 4,500 Windy City taverns Monday night:
Washington, D.C., June 30: Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer, who is a Quaker and a "dry" than there is no dryer, announced tonight the determination that the department of justice [sic] "shall do its utmost to enforce wartime prohibition, which goes into effect tomorrow."
"The Vacant Chair" by John T. McCutcheon in Chicago Tribune, July 2, 1919
Faced with the reality of the situation, a few — very few — editorial cartoonists still thought the Noble Experiment was a good idea worth a shot.
"Its Finish" by Orville P. Williams in New York Journal, ca. June 30, 1919
And by "very few," I believe I mean "perhaps as many as two."
"Drowned in His Own Bathtub" by J. Thomas in Bend (OR) Bulletin, June 9, 1919
The rest of the lot were not looking forward to that Tuesday morning.
"It Doesn't Seem Like the Same Old 'Smile'" by Paul Plaschke in Louisville Times, ca. June/July, 1919
"Sketched on the Edge of the Desert" by Wyn Barden in Los Angeles Evening Herald, June 27, 1919
If cartoonists were apprehensive about John Barleycorn's impending doom, the nation's tavern keepers were all the more so. They would be put out of business overnight unless they could come up with some other commodity with which to attract their old clientele.
"Booming" by Kenneth R. Chamberlain in Cleveland Press, ca. July, 1919
Frank O. King devoted the top half of his "The Rectangle" on the Sunday prior to Prohibition to the spectacle of the guys down at the bar gathered to enjoy a frosty mug of soda. This originally printed at about a meter wide, so you will need to click on the image to read any of it.
Detail from "The Rectangle" by Frank O. King in Chicago Tribune, June 29, 1919
Many taverns did indeed become soda and ice cream fountains, but as King predicted, those treats simply were not going to cut it for many American men.
"Signs of the Times" by Shafer in Cincinnati Post, ca. June/July, 1919
"Near beer" would remain legal for the time being: pending a ruling by the courts, there would be no prosecution for the sale of beer with less than 2.75% alcohol content. In that court case, however, Attorney General Palmer contended that even 1/2 of 1% alcohol content was intoxicating, and warned that if the government won its case, it would not grant immunity from prosecution to anyone cited for selling near beer.

"It Will Be Dry By To-Morrow" by Ted Brown in Chicago Daily News, June 30, 1919
Some of the nation's editorial cartoonists were openly skeptical of the prospects for the Noble Experiment.
"Samuel" by Daniel Fitzpatrick in St. Louis Post Dispatch, ca. July 1, 1919
Barely weeks before Prohibition went into effect, American and British pilots had successfully flown their rickety, open-cockpit aircraft across the Atlantic from North America to Europe, triumphing over fog, rain, snow and mechanical breakdowns. Nobody had yet managed to make the return trip against the prevailing winds. But where there's a will, there's a way.
"What Will the Atlantic Look Like..." by William Donahey in Cleveland Plain Dealer, June/July, 1919
In the meantime, there was still talk that "wartime Prohibition" would last only as long as the war was officially on, perhaps only a few months. Germany, after all, had finally signed the Treaty of Versailles on June 28. There were a lot of cartoons about people having stockpiles of beer, wine and liquor in the cellar to tide them over until Congress ratified the treaty, too.
"Whenever Mrs. Jones Thinks She Hears Burglars..." by Kenneth R. Chamberlain in Cleveland Press, June/July, 1919
That stockpile was going to have to last a while.

Friday, June 28, 2019

Stonewall Semicentennialback Satureve

Given that my blog features my editorial cartoons for the LGBTQ+ press, plus a regular Saturday feature of old cartoons marking this or that anniversary, you might expect that tomorrow's post will feature a bunch of 50-year-old cartoons about the Stonewall Riots.

Well, it won't.

The fact is, the nation's editorial cartoonists hardly took note of Stonewall (and most probably would have drawn cartoons demeaning the rioters if they had). Outside of New York, few newspapers even reported the uprising. As riots go, Stonewall was overshadowed by racial riots in several U.S. cities, including Omaha, Nebraska; Kokomo and Marion, Indiana; Des Moines, Iowa; Middleton, Ohio; and Waterbury, Connecticut that same week.
"The President Says He'll Cover That..." by Pat Oliphant in Denver Post, ca. June 28, 1969
But since it is the 50th anniversary of Stonewall today, here are a few modest examples of what editorial cartoonists were drawing about at the time. The Nixon administration, and, for some reason, former Secretary of Defense Clark Clifford, announced plans to withdraw some of the American troops from the war in Vietnam. The Nixon administration also withdrew the nomination of Dr. John Knowles to be Assistant Secretary for Health and Science Affairs in what was then the Department of Health, Education and Welfare.
"Tell Them We Did Everything We Could" by Gene Basset for Scripps-Howard Newspapers, ca. July 1, 1969 
One of the issues that sunk the Knowles nomination was his support of all-inclusive health insurance so that poor people could afford health care, by the way, just in case you thought that was a new-fangled concept.
"Aren't We Suppose to Get Some Foreign Aid First" by Wayne Stayskal in Chicago Today American. ca. June 30, 1969
And let's see... We were about to send our first manned mission to the moon — which is pretty fricking amazing when you consider that the moon landing was 50 years ago now, and 50 years before that, we had only just succeeded in flying across the Atlantic Ocean for the first time.
"His Critics Never Broke Through...," unsigned (Ted Shearer?) in Washington (D.C.) Afro-American, July 1, 1969
And Chief Justice Earl Warren stepped down from the Supreme Court. I've already discussed how Republicans Merrick-Garlanded President Lyndon Johnson's nominees to succeed Warren, so it's hardly worthwhile to repeat myself today.
"That Cat's on Crab Grass" by Bill Mauldin in Chicago Sun-Times, ca. June 29, 1969
Oh, there was plenty of other stuff, but most of it just doesn't inspire a whole lot of nostalgia (I'm not quite old enough to wax nostalgic about 1969 anyway...although I have sometimes wished I still had the drug awareness workbook we had in elementary school, just to see how well I remember it) or insightful commentary.
"To Soothe the Savage Breast" by Bill Crawford for Newspaper Enterprise Association, ca. July 1, 1969
So tune back here tomorrow morning for a slew of cartoons half a century older than these.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Q Toon: Mayor, Pietà

Presidential candidate and Mayor of South Bend, Indiana, Pete Buttigieg interrupted his campaign to deal with a police shooting at home:
Eric Jack Logan, 54, was killed in South Bend after someone called police to report a suspicious person going through cars, according to the St. Joseph County Prosecutor's Office.
A police officer confronted a man in a vehicle at an apartment building parking lot. The man, later identified as Logan, got out of the vehicle and allegedly approached the officer with a knife raised, and the officer opened fire, the prosecutor's office said. Logan died at a hospital.
The officer, Sgt. Ryan O'Neil, was equipped with a body camera, but didn't turn it on, so we are left to trust his word over that of the deceased.

Because police Sgt. O'Neil is White and Mr. Logan was Black, the incident has inflamed racial tensions between the African-American community and the South Bend Police Department. Police-community relationships have been a sore point since very early in the Buttigieg administration. Three months after Buttigieg took office, a scandal broke over racist language police officers used in wiretapped phone calls, and Mayor Pete responded by firing three police officers and demoting South Bend Police Department Chief Darryl Boykins, who is Black.

In the years since, Black citizens have complained about abusive treatment by SBPD officers; a Latina mother was killed when an officer, without lights or siren on, was chasing a reckless driver and crashed into her car; and officers shot and killed another knife-wielding person of color in April of last year. Another SBPD Chief failed to come to the aid of an officer breaking up a fight at the city's Martin Luther King Center in 2013, even though the Chief was present at the Center.

In all these incidents, members of the community felt that the police individuals involved got off scot-free or with no more than a slap on the wrist. And when, after this latest incident, Buttigieg met with members of the Black community, the crowd let him know whom they held responsible.
Shirley Newbill, Eric’s mother, asked Buttigieg and the city to act on her son’s death.
“I have been here all my life, and you have not done a damn thing about me or my son or none of these people out here,” she said. “It’s time for you to do something.”
At one point, a woman at the rally told Buttigieg," You're running for president and you want black people to vote for you? That's not going to happen."
Following that rally, Buttigieg and the current Chief of Police, Scott Ruszkowski, tried to hold a formal Q&A with city residents. That didn't go smoothly, either.
Many made sure their voices were heard, often shouting over the mayor’s answers, calling him a liar or demanding that Ruszkowski be fired. When the crowd was asked to hold its anger, Komaneach Wheeler stood up and shouted “A mother of injustice cannot hold her anger!”
Some of the questions were pointed squarely at Buttigieg, whose run for president has put the Logan shooting and ensuing reaction in the national spotlight.
“How can we trust this process?” Blu Casey, a local activist, asked the mayor. “How are we supposed to trust you?”
Buttigieg at one point admitted that he had failed to bring greater diversity to the Police Department, where 5% of the officers are African-American, though he said it wasn’t for a lack of effort as he mentioned some initiatives the city undertook or is exploring.
“I promise you, we have tried everything we can think of,” he said.
For the small city mayor who thinks he's ready to be President of the United States, this will be the test that either substantiates or disproves that belief.

Because this is not just a South Bend, Indiana issue. Elsewhere this week, the mainstream media took note of exposure by the Plain View Project of racist and hateful remarks law enforcement officers in eight major cities have made on social media. We saw video of Phoenix, Arizona police pulling guns on a young Black family of four and screaming obscenities at them as if it were a case of the family shooting up a school instead of shoplifting a doll and a t-shirt from a Dollar Store. "Shooting Bias," the greater tendency of police to fire at Black civilians than at White ones, rates its own Wikipedia page.

Expect this topic to come up at tonight's Democratic Candidate Cattle Call.

Don't expect many African-Americans to be satisfied with what is said on the stage.

Monday, June 24, 2019

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Versailles of Relief

The world commemorates November 11 as the day in 1918 when the fighting stopped in World War I, but today's Surrenderback Saturday marks an equally important centennial coming up next week. On June 28, 1919, the German government finally officially accepted the Entente's terms and signed the Paris peace accord.

Remembering Paul von Hindenburg's reply, to reports of food shortages in Berlin, that he would be in Paris by April 1, 1918, the St. Louis Republic's Sidney Chapin produced this gem:
"Sire, Your Paris Dinner Is Served" by Sid Chapin in St. Louis Republic, June, 1919
The punishment imposed on Germany was harsh, and intentionally so. The industrial Alsace-Lorraine region was given to France, and East Prussia was separated from the rest of Germany by the recreation of Poland. England, France and Italy demanded reparations from Germany as further punishment.
"Das Festmahl" by Johannes Bahr in Kladderadatsch, Berlin, June 15, 1919
Johannes Bahr's cartoon portrays Michel (Germany's Uncle Sam/John Bull/Marianne) having to sacrifice his own cow and to do all the hard work of butchering and roasting it all for the benefit of others. The final panel is labeled "This is called 'League of Nations.'"
"The Next Patient" by Wm. C. Morris for George Matthew Adams Service, ca. June, 1919
The German Empire's territorial losses paled next to those imposed on Austria, which lost Bohemia, Moravia, Silesia, Galicia, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Hungary, Bukavina, Transylvania, and parts of what are now Serbia and Italy. Given these losses, the Entente powers recognized that what was left of Austria was in no position to pay the huge reparations expected of Germany.

The victors helped themselves to portions of the junior Central Powers of the Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria as well, while granting Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia freedom from Russia as punishment for the Bolsheviks quitting the war in 1917. And for being commies.
"Der Schwertertanz" by Hans Gabriel Jentzsch in Wahre Jakob, Stuttgart, June 20, 1919
The humiliation of the Central Powers was not received particularly well in Germany; cartoons of the victorious Entente, and President Wilson in particular, drip with sarcasm. In Hans Jentsch's cartoon, Wilson's sheet music is "Wilson's 14 Points."
"Höher Geht's Nimmer" by Willi Steinert in Wahre Jakob, Stuttgart, March 14, 1919
Nor were the Germans alone in ridiculing the American president.
"O Ovo de Colombo" by José Carlos de Brito e Cunha in La Careta, Rio de Janeiro, May 24, 1919
Some of the sharpest barbs came from our allies. Gabriele Galanta depicts Wilson's 14 Points as a bunch of toy rubber clowns.
"14 Articoli Americani di Gomma Elastica de Vendere" by Gabriele "Rata Langa" Galanta in l'Asino, May 18, 1919
As we've discussed before, part of Wilson's problem stemmed from the competing appetites the erstwhile allies of the Entente had for the territory of their vanquished foes. Italy thought the Italian majority of residents of the city of Fiume (Rijeka) entitled it to more of the Croatian coast than Wilson thought appropriate, and Japan wasn't about to return German-leased territory on the Shandong peninsula to China.
"At the Peace Table" by Cy Hungerford in Pittsburgh Sun, May/June, 1919
Australian cartoonist David Low enjoyed embarrassing the American president over Mr. Wilson's opposition to Japanese demands to include language guaranteeing that the League's members "equal and just treatment" of aliens within their borders from other member states.
"Washington's New Found Brother" by David Low in Sydney Bulletin, 1919
The European powers opposed that provision, too. Donald Trump would have been so pleased that the Just Treatment of Aliens clause didn't make it into the charter.
"Say, John, There's Some Dirt on Your Face" by Alfred Lewis in The World, London, 1919
American senators pushed to have consideration for Irish independence included in the Paris peace negotiations. British cartoonist Alfred Lewis, noting the renewed raids of Pancho Villa off our southwestern border, would have none of it.
"The Embarrassment of Arranging a Match..." by John T. McCutcheon in Chicago Tribune, June 13, 1919
The Irish question would prove to be hardly the limit of senatorial second guessing of the peace treaty.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Q Toon: Putting On The Fritts

On Sunday June 2, Grayson Fritts, founding pastor of All Scripture Baptist Church in Knoxville, Tennessee, celebrated LGBTQ Pride Month with a sermon calling upon police to enforce biblical law that "If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them" (Leviticus 20:13, KJV).
Fritts made several violent statements in his sermon, calling non-straight people "freaks, animals" and other names. He expressed the belief that it is the duty of police and the government to enforce anti-LGBTQ+ laws that are outlined in the Bible.
"Here's how it should work, it shouldn't work when we go out and we enforce the laws, because the Bible says the powers that be are ordained of God and God has instilled the power of civil government to send the police in 2019 out to these LGBT FREAKS and arrest them," he ranted. "Have a trial for them, and if they are convicted then they are to be put to you understand that? it's a capital crime to be carried out by our government."
Fritts went on to say, "All the pride parades, man, hey call the riot teams, we got a bunch of 'em, get the paddy wagon out here, we got a bunch of 'em going to jail, we got a bunch of them we're gonna get convicted because they've got their pride junk on and they're professing what they are, they're a filthy animal."
One might dismiss this as the fulminations of one more Fred Phelps wannabe, but as it happens, Revrunt Fritts is also Deputy Fritts of the Knox County Sheriffs Department. Or, well, he was until video of his sermon got out.

Even as Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero and Sheriff Tom Spangler denounced Fritts's sermon and the District Attorney began a review of every investigation in which the former Deputy of the Month had been involved, Fritts doubled down in a follow-up sermon, telling his flock, "Just as God loves, God hates. ... Put homos to death!"

Shortly before that follow-up sermon, someone left an rainbow flag attached to a note outside the storefront church. The message read, "Dear Pastor Fritts, I don't know what happened to you, but I am so sorry. Love, Thy Neighbor."

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

EnviroStewardship: The Buds and the Bees

Almost in time for Fathers' Day, here's my dad's column for the monthly newsletter at his church.

To bees and other pollinators, a well-manicured, well-fertilized, weed-free, frequently mowed lawn is a desert … a food desert, with nothing to eat or survive on. It may look nice to us, but not to these pollinators. Remember that most butterflies are pollinators and are worth the price of any extra efforts.

The local paper recently printed an article on “bee lawns” that suggested blending low growing perennials with slow-growing grasses such as the fescue Festuca brevipila. Good luck in finding that to replace your Kentucky bluegrass!

The perennials they suggested to mix into your lawn included: white clover, dandelions (beware the neighbors), creeping thyme, daisies and lamium. Finding plants under three inches at the garden store may be a problem.

In a way, I have been doing this for years with a front lawn full of the native Spring Beauties (Claytonia virginica). These are shade tolerant, early bloomers so that by not fertilizing I can put off mowing until after they have gone to seed. They are there for the early pollinators in the first of May, and I would recommend them for any other environmental stewards that have the patience and the shade.

But I even more heartily recommend reducing and defining the limits of your lawn with areas of native, flowering ground covers that may be available to the pollinators all spring, summer and fall, depending on the perennials that you plant. They don’t have to be restricted to under three inches or mowing tolerant such as dandelions, as is the case in bee lawns.

The two most common ground covers for these purposes are pachysandra and periwinkle. They are not native to our area, although they grow very well in our area. Also, they flower for only a short time in the spring. During that time, they are very popular with the bees.

I recently came across a list of 11 pollinator-friendly ground covers, several of which (the shade tolerant ones) I have in my yard and can recommend them: Big Leaf Aster (Aster macrophyllus), Mistflower (Eupatorium coelestinum), Goat’s Beard (Aruncus vulgaris), Obedient plant (Physostegia virgiana), Purple Poppy Mallow (Calliirhoe involluorata), Canadian Wild Ginger (Acarum canadense), Wild Strawberry, Rose Coreopsis, Vanilla Sweet Grass and Wild Geranium (Geraniium maculatum). For more details  and descriptions, check the June electronic newsletter of Wisconsin Pollinators.

This essay has wound up with more details than the reader might want and it is not readily apparent how this relates to the church and its people. When I was a voting member at the Churchwide Assembly in Orlando, Florida, we passed a resolution calling on all of the congregations of the ELCA to protect all living species. Doing what we can to protect the bees and other pollinators from starving due to our choices and practices is not only good environmental stewardship, but responds favorably to that resolution.

Monday, June 17, 2019

This Week's Sneak Peek and Rant

One question we cartoonists get all the time is "How do you come up with your ideas?"

I can't answer that question, but I can tell you that how we don't come up with ideas is spending a whole week trying to figure out where we put something that is determined not to be found.

I have — or perhaps I had — a little iPod that I was listening to last Monday as I mowed the lawn, and that's the last I've seen of it. The earplugs are safely put away in the case they came in; the bandanna I wore to keep the earplugs from falling out every five minutes was on the clothes dryer until I washed it and put it away in a drawer. But the iPod is nowhere to be found, in the house, in the garage, in the car, on the patio, in my pockets, ad infinitum.

That effing little iPod has been a disappointment ever since it arrived from Amazon. I bought it because my previous iPod Nano was a.) full, and b.) synced to a laptop that died in 2011. We were planning a family trip to Italy, and I wanted to have a playlist of Italian music and another of music to try to help me sleep during the flight. I also had previously downloaded a couple hours of Bach organ music I could only listen to on the computer, that widely panned U2 album Apple had released for free on iTunes, and a few other random pieces of music.

When the iPod arrived, I discovered that the marketing geniuses at Apple had redesigned the product so that it can't play on the iPod docks I have at home and at work. I could plug earphones into it or hook it up to the car radio, and that's it.

Well, fine. I made playlists of Italian music, boring music, Latin American music, organ music, Tchaikovsky and Grieg. I downloaded from iTunes a few albums I had had only on cassette tape, one of which was the soundtrack to Philadelphia.

I later discovered that the only cut from the Philadelphia soundtrack on the iPod was Maria Callas singing "La Mamma Morta," which I had marked to go into the Italian playlist. The rest of the soundtrack was on the computer, but nowhere on the iPod. Indeed nothing I had bought from Apple or copied from CDs after some point early on was in the iPod unless it had first been tagged to go into one of those six playlists. I tried making new playlists, but to no avail.

For a while, I could still add music to those playlists. Before long, however, the iPod quit accepting any new music at all, even though it was only about 20% full.

So now, I have to decide whether to give that little shit up for lost; and if so, whether it's worth replacing, given that the marketing geniuses at Apple have ended iTunes.

I think I'd be better off replacing my tape player.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Tripping Over Tropes

There's not much of a theme to today's Scatterback Saturday post, other than to pick up on the threads of disparate conversations about recent cartoons, both mine and others'.

Sean Martin (cartoonist of Doc and Raider) confessed on a post earlier this week to being puzzled by the furor over the Portuguese cartoon that proved to be the final straw in the New York Times's decision never to run editorial cartoons again. Others can and have explained the issue better than I can; the argument boils down to the insistence that because of historic antisemitism, some images and criticisms that might be perfectly acceptable about any other country ought to be out of bounds if the topic is Israel.
This brings us to Howard Wasserman's recent post on PrawfsBlawg, in which he suggests that the cartoon of Netanyahu is no more offensive than would be a similar cartoon of Vladimir Putin leading a blind Trump. ... [T]he cartoon in question engaged an ancient anti-Jewish trope — the tricky Jew who secretly controls the government of unwitting Gentiles — which differentiated it from any similar cartoon about other world leaders. The Putin analogy would have meaning only if there had ever been such a thing as the Protocols of the Elders of the Kremlin. It does not take much effort to imagine images of other world leaders that would be readily acknowledged as racist or sexist, but would be okay if applied to Putin.
Imagine a cartoon of Putin-as-Dracula, sucking blood the people of Ukraine. That would be gory, but not racist. Now imagine a cartoon of Netanyahu doing the same thing. Is there any question that the image of a Jewish bloodsucker, preying on a Gentile body (during Passover, no less) would evoke classic anti-Semitism?
The question of what is permissible in visual criticisms of the Israeli state reminds me of a controversy that arose back when I was drawing for the UW-Milwaukee Post in the '80's. UW-Milwaukee has long had politically active Jewish and Palestinian student groups that were ever at odds.

In 1988, the General Union of Palestinian Students (GUPS) posted a large banner over the lobby of the student union, depicting a prone Palestinian child impaled in the back by a large blue Star of David. The pro-Zionist student group TAGAR protested that the banner was antisemitic and demanded it be taken down. GUPS's response was that the Star of David is the one identifiable emblem on the Israeli flag and thus represented the Israeli state rather than the Jewish religion.

It does both, of course. I waded toe-deep into the controversy with this cartoon:
In UWM Post, December 13, 1988
Toward the end of my service at the Post, GUPS posted an intentionally offensive banner in response to a cartoon I'd drawn mourning the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzakh Rabin as a "martyr for peace." I think that TAGAR may have blown the cartoon up to banner size to hang in the union, but I'm not positive about that.
In UWM Post, November 6, 1995
In any case, GUPS made a banner out of the cartoon, but added a military helmet and replaced "martyr" with "murderer." TAGAR, naturally, called for GUPS to remove its poster. I drew a reply of my own.
In UWM Post, November 16, 1995
No doubt, the children and grandchildren of those GUPS and TAGAR students continue to antagonize each other from the rafters of the student union.
Moving on to another topic entirely: a fan wrote me about my recent cartoon of Trump proposing a tariff against transgender people. The fan particularly liked the portrait of Warren G. Harding in the background and asked, "Is this a reference to the most corrupt Presidential Administration 'before Trump' and a recognition that the realization of the corruption came out after Harding had died which implies there is so much more to worry about with Trump."

Of course it was. And it isn't the first time I've hung Harding's portrait in the Oval Office.

Presidents can hang portraits of Andrew Jackson or whatever dead president they like in the Oval Office; I will still feel free to choose a more appropriate wall hanging in my cartoons. I haven't picked out the decor for any of the 386 candidates seeking to unseat the Corrupt Trump Administration, however.
In UW-Parkside Ranger, March 5, 1987
Not just yet.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Q Toon: Paradivus for the Straightivus

So some bunch of heterosexual white dudes has announced plans to hold a Straight Pride parade in Boston in August. Their parade will no doubt celebrate how the straight cis white male community has overcome prejudice, religious persecution, employment discrimination, parental rejection,  straight-bashing, mullets and the New Coke crisis to win equal rights in a just society.

Unable to convince Brad Pitt to be their parade marshal, they settled for Milo Yiannopoulos, which is only fair, I guess. Many an LGBTQ Pride parade has had as its marshal a straight person with a predominantly gay following, so it's fitting that a Straight Pride parade should have as its marshal a gay person with a predominantly straight following.

But, hey, let 'em go ahead and have their fun. May they enjoy the thrill of the purity of their movement now, before commercialism takes over and the true meaning of Straight Pride gets lost amid the sales of overpriced tee shirts, jewelry and keychains emblazoned with the Chik-Fil-A logo.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Toon: Older and Greyer

The New York Times announced over the weekend that its international edition (formerly the International Herald Tribune) would no longer print editorial cartoons, thus adding Patrick Chappatte and Heng Kim Song to the ranks of unemployed editorial cartoonists. (Chappatte responds here.)

The Times is not alone in kicking its editorial cartoonists to the curb. Just last month, Gatehouse Media fired the Columbus Dispatch's Nate Beeler, Savannah Morning News's Mark Streeter, and Augusta Chronicle's Rick McKee. Once, we roamed the plains in great numbers, but now, there are only some two dozen full-time employed editorial cartoonists left.

In the first half of the 20th Century, the domestic edition of the Times had its own cartoonist in Edwin Marcus; from 2011 to 2016, the Sunday Times featured a cartoon by Brian McFadden after its editors decided to cancel a weekly round-up of four or five cartoons by syndicated editorial cartoonists.

Otherwise, the Old Grey Lady eschewed cartoons. No comics page. No editorial cartoons. The editors clearly didn't understand them, didn't respect them, and didn't like them.

Yet somehow, the Pulitzer prize committee awarded the Times the prize for editorial cartooning last year, in a move that left every editorial cartoonist in the western hemisphere gobsmacked.

Meanwhile, Chappatte's cartoons, in the international edition since 2001, won the Overseas Press Club of America’s Thomas Nast Award for best cartoons on international affairs in 2011, 2015 and 2019. But then, this past April, some anonymous editor decided to run a cartoon by a Portuguese cartoonist that depicted a blind, yarmulke-wearing Donald Trump being led by a guide dachshund with Bibi Netanyahu's face and a Star of David dangling from its collar. Many were offended by the cartoon, and the Times apologized for printing it.

So now the Times is citing that Portuguese cartoon as the reason why it will never print editorial cartoons again. (As Canadian journalist Jeet Heer tweeted, "NY Times prints one awful cartoon & now decides to stop running cartoons. By this logic, the paper should have shut down after its 2002-2003 WMD reporting.") American editorial cartoonists, still smarting over the cancelling of the Sunday round-up, are up in arms.

My above cartoon is based on a cartoon by the great Homer Davenport, which I have variously seen with the caption "No Honest Men Need Fear Cartoons" and "They Never Liked Cartoons." The former is probably more authentic, but the latter speaks to the editorial attitude of the New York Times.
For anyone who needs the refresher course, here's a quick explanation of Davenport's cartoon. On the left is New York City's Democratic Commissioner of Public Works William M. "Boss" Tweed, whose corrupt dealings in the 1870's were the subject of a great deal of investigative reporting, and the cartoons in Harper's Weekly of Thomas Nast. Tweed remarked that "I don't care so much what the papers say about me. My constituents don't know how to read, but they can't help seeing them damned pictures!"

Tried and convicted for stealing untold millions from the public coffers, he fled to Spain, but people recognized him because of Nast's cartoons. He was returned to the U.S. and died in jail a couple years later.

The other guy in Davenport's cartoon is Thomas Platt, the Republican leader of the New York State Senate in the 1890's. Upset by Davenport's cartoons in William Randolph Hearst's New York Journal, Platt had back-bencher Timothy Ellsworth put forth a bill in 1897 to prohibit publication of a person’s portrait or caricature without his/her consent, with penalties of up to $1,000 in fines and a year in prison. The Ellsworth Anti-Cartoon Bill passed in the State Senate, but died without a vote in the House.

Finally, the guy on the right in my cartoon is current New York Times publisher A.G. Sulzberger. I suppose I could have put any of the Times editors in his place, or, better still, an Old Grey Lady.

As much of a cliché as the newspaper's nickname may be, I don't think I've ever seen an actual depiction of what that Old Grey Lady is supposed to look like. That includes this week's flurry of cartoons by my fellow ink-stained wretches.*

Call it a lost opportunity to personify the Times.

And our times are running out.
* Update: The Old Grey Lady shows up in the June 12 cartoon by the wonderful Pat Bagley here.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Look Up to the North by Northwest

They're closer than ever right now, so if you look carefully, you should be able to spot Jupiter and its largest moons in the sky this month.

Monday, June 10, 2019

This Week's Sneak Peek

Once again, This Week's Sneak Peek serves as an excuse to update Swhateverback Saturday's post.

A reader has helpfully pointed me to Alex Jay's entry on Orville P. Williams at Stripper's Guide, where I learned that O.P. Williams was almost certainly not on the cartooning staff of the Los Angeles Evening Herald. He did, however, draw for William Randolph Hearst's Star Publishing out of New York at some point in time, which would no doubt have supplied Williams's cartoons to the Herald.

According to his obituary, Williams joined the staff of Hearst's New York Evening Journal in 1919; he had drawn for the Boston Herald and Philadelphia Evening Ledger — not Hearst newspapers — before World War I. At some point, he crossed over to the lurid tabloid New York Evening Graphic (founded in 1924, folded in 1932) — again, not a Hearst paper, but whose publisher was even more eccentric than Mr. Hearst.

Jay's post also includes one item tying O.P. Williams to Winsor McCay: at the start of Williams's career, he succeeded McCay at the Cincinnati Enquirer.

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Gladly the Crosshatched Bear

Researching last Saturday's post of women's suffrage cartoons, I came across the work of the Los Angeles Herald's O.P. Williams, a cartoonist with whom I was previously unfamiliar and about whom I haven't been able to locate any references*. His densely detailed cartooning style reminds me a lot of the styles of cartoonists at two other William Hearst newspapers of the time and leads me to wonder if there it was a style that particularly appealed to Mr. Hearst.
"Danger Ahead!" by Winsor McCay in New York  American, July 28, 1916
Of the three, the one cartoonist who remains famous in cartoonist circles is the New York American's Winsor McCay, best known for his "Little Nemo in Slumberland" and "Gertie the Dinosaur" comics. Every one of his editorial cartoons is finely detailed, meticulously crosshatched, and in perfect perspective.
"Walking the Plank" by Winsor McCay, July 26, 1916
It is the humans in his cartoons, who, while drawn with equal care to his architecture and machinery, don't quite come alive. His crowd scenes are masterfully detailed, but his politicians are more portraiture than caricature, and even his drowning victims look like they're patiently waiting to stroll to another page and sell Arrow shirts.
"America First" by Harry Murphy in Chicago Examiner, October 3, 1916
At Hearst's Chicago newspaper, the Examiner, editorial cartoonist Harry Murphy belonged to what I'm going to call the Winsor McCay School. Notice how his precise inking of light and shade renders distinct folds and wrinkles in fabric, and even Mr. Food Speculator's musculature.
"The Rival Shows" by Harry Murphy in Chicago Examiner, June 16, 1916
Another trait that typifies the Winsor McCay School is the dominance of symbolic representatives (e.g., Uncle Sam, John Bull, John Barleycorn, donkeys and elephants) over caricature. That's not to say these cartoonists never drew real politicians in their cartoons; Kaiser Wilhelm showed up in a number of Murphy's wartime cartoons, and he congratulated Charles Evans Hughes on his election to the presidency by drawing him taking the wheel of the ship of state.

It's just too bad that Hughes lost the election.
"Bring Him Home with the Rest" by O.P. Williams in Los Angeles Evening Herald*, February 19, 1919
Densely inked cartoons such as these were common in the illustrated magazines of the late 1800's; it took a while for the equipment at daily newspapers to be up to the task. Still, a cartoon suffers in its journey from drawing pad to printed newspaper to photograph to microfiche to .pdf to internet to .jpeg.
"Getting Top-Heavy" by O.P. Williams in Los Angeles Evening Herald*, January 31, 1919
What is impressive about the McCay School is how any of them managed to crank out one of these cartoons every day. Thomas Nast and Joseph Keppler had an entire week to compose and execute their cartoons for Harper's Weekly and Puck, even if you take into account that they would draw more than one cartoon per issue, often including one that took up a full page or two.
"Courage, Boy, Courage" by O.P. Williams in Los Angeles Evening Herald*, July 7, 1919
I have not come across any depictions of real persons in O.P. Williams' work (and I hope I'm reading that scrunched-up signature of his correctly). But he did a reasonably good job drawing animals, and perhaps that was of more interest to him.
"If They Keep on Retreating" by Hal Coffman in Los Angeles Herald, October 22, 1918
O.P. Williams didn't crank out a cartoon every day*; he alternated days with Hal Coffman (above), whose looser style was much more in the manner of the majority of pen-and-ink cartoonists of the day. Once in a blue moon, the L.A. Herald would run both of its editorial cartoonists on the editorial page, one right atop the other, since Coffman presumably could complete his cartoons faster than Williams could. In fact, there are some editions with two Coffman cartoons on the page.
"Quiet Apartment Wanted" by Frederick B. Opper in New York Journal, March 5, 1915
I include these cartoons just to demonstrate that although the McCay School of cartooning was nearly exclusive to Hearst newspapers, the Hearst newspapers did not rely exclusively on the McCay School for their editorial cartoons. Frederick Burr Opper established his reputation at the weekly magazines (Frank Leslie's Weekly, Puck) before being hired away by Mr. Hearst to draw for his New York Journal, and was quite influential in his own right.
"New Year's Never Agains" by Thomas E. Powers for International News Service, January 3, 1916
You can hardly get any further from the McCay School than T.E. Powers, reportedly one of Hearst's favorite cartoonists.

But getting back to the McCay School of Cartooning: since I promised a cross-hatched bear, here's one of Harry Murphy's.
"Suicide?" by Harry Murphy in Chicago Examiner, November 10, 1917
* See the comments below and my June 10 post for corrected information about O.P. Williams.