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Cartoon Complaint Campaigns

Tempers run short in turbulent times, so it is no surprise that provocative editorial cartoons sometimes get blowback from readers. Cartoons generate angry conversation on social media, but they seldom generate complaints to us, or to the newspapers that run them – unless there is an organized campaign to solicit complaints. These campaigns usually take the form of Facebook pages that demand that an editor or cartoonist is punished, or simply demands for an apology, and newspapers are often quick to apologize. Come take a look at our recent cartoons that generated complaint campaigns and made newspapers apologize or ban cartoons completely – and in one case, defend their choice to run the cartoon.

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California and Saint Serra Statues

My cartoon today depicts the bear on the California flag pulling down a statue of Junipero Serra, the controversial Catholic saint who oversaw the opening of nine missions in colonial California. Serra participated in the Spanish Inquisition and enslaved native Americans, imprisoning them at his missions. Statues of Serra have been vandalized recently as many protests toppling statues commemorating racist historical figures have swept the nation, and the world, in the wake of George Floyd’s murder.

The California bear is something of an “everyman” character. I like seeing the movement to purge symbols honoring racist, historical figures; perhaps it is a bit of wishful thinking on my part to see California’s “everyman” tearing down Serra since there is quite a bit of support for defending the many Serra statues that dot our state like a pox. President Trump is using an executive order to boost penalties for defacing racist, historical monuments. My depiction of the California flag today is more a symbol of hope that these protests succeed than than a depiction of today’s reality.

The statue is based on one located in San Juan Capistrano that was relocated recently to protect it from protesters. I lifted Serra’s robe a bit so that I could get some Saddam Hussein action going with his ankles.

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The Most Popular Cartoons of the Week

Here are the ten most widely published cartoons of the week (June 13-20, 2020). Again this week, no drawings of President Trump are among the most reprinted cartoons. Drawing Trump seems to poison a cartoon with editors, limiting reprints. 

Foreign issues were ignored by editors this week. John Bolton’s sensational new book ripping Trump dominated the news and generated many cartoons, but none of those cartoons were popular with editors and none made the Top Ten. There were no cartoons about Trump’s controversial rally in Tulsa. Only one of many cartoons about the Supreme Court’s landmark civil rights decision made the Top Ten. Come take a look and see what the editors want!

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SUSIE on the PLASTIC CRISIS

… it’s the kind of story that’s rarely able to exist, because of the journalism industry’s constraints and expectations. Comics journalism is super popular, but also super labor intensive and super time-consuming. Even the editors most enthusiastic about this still emerging medium often don’t totally understand just how much effort it takes to do two jobs, as both reporter and illustrator. Outlets are reluctant to spend much on cartoons — and even less on comics journalism.

Now that I’m working as a freelancer again, support from readers through Patreon bolsters my ability to keep doing these kinds of projects. Thanks for learning more about my work, and I hope you’ll consider becoming a patron! –Susie Cagle

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Bolton Book!

Former National Security Advisor, John Bolton, has a new book full of salacious details about Donald Trump. According to a report based on an unredacted version of the book, Trump demanded of China’s president Xi, “Make sure I’m elected,” and he told Xu that he approved of China building “concentration camps” for their Muslim minority. Nasty stuff. The cartoonists are all over it. Come look!

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The Most Popular Cartoons of the Week

Here are the ten most widely published cartoons of the week (June 6-13, 2020). It is interesting to note that no drawings of President Trump have been among the most reprinted cartoons since one appeared in March. This was another week when cartoonists drew passionate cartoons criticizing the president that were ignored by editors. What cartoonists want to draw most is not what editors want to print. It is also rare that editors choose to print cartoons about Joe Biden. The reprint curve is steep with the most popular cartoons dominating the reprints and with most cartoons getting little ink. The foreign cartoonists were ignored by our subscribing, American editors again this week. Come see the cartoons!

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My Favorite Cartoonist/Journalist!

I’d like to introduce everyone to my brilliant cartoonist/journalist daughter, Susie Cagle. Unlike the cartoons everyone is used to seeing on Cagle.com, Susie’s work is non-fiction; she does original reporting in cartoons. Cartoon journalism is still pretty rare, but it is very effective, especially for making dry topics more interesting and adding some feeling and humanity to stories where text falls flat. And as photojournalism has been made more difficult in our current strange circumstances, cartoon journalism works even when access is difficult. I’d love to see publishers embrace more reporting through cartoons.

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Trump and Race

President Trump seems to be staking out his positions in opposition to the Black Lives Matter movement. As the saying goes, “not all conservatives are racists, but all racists are conservatives.” Trump is playing to the ugliest impulses of his base.

None of this is lost on the Cagle Cartoonists. Here are my favorite cartoons on Trump and race.

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