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Columns

Kazakhstan and Yellow

Yipes! It looks like we need to make last minute changes to the book cover, and the back cover will be yellow. So much last minute book stuff to do! Our campaign 2008 book will be in stores in about 6 weeks.

And a weekly magazine in Kazakhstan just subscribed to our cartoon service. I’ll bet they don’t see many Western cartoons there.

Remember to follow me on Twitter. I’ll try to keep it up with trivial cartoon news tidbits that don’t quite warrant a place on the blog. I think the Twitter format is interesting in that everyone has so much more to say when we don’t have to say anything worthwhile. I’m at twitter.com/dcagle.

Mike Keefe will have an animation on ABC World News Tonight tonight or tomorrow night, he’s doing it specially for them in his “Talking Heads” format, we’ll post it on the site in Mike’s Animation collection when he’s done.

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Columns

I’m Back From Vacation!

Sorry for being away so long and thanks to all of you who wrote in to complain that I wasn’t drawing cartoons. In fact, we’ve been getting a few complaints about other cartoonists not updating their cartoons. This is summer vacation time for a number of cartoonists; sorry about that.

My blog has finally been updated so that it has modern features, like permalinks and comments. Now I have to learn how to use all this stuff. Thanks to my programmer, Random for setting this up.

I’ve started Twittering, you can follow my exploits throughout the day at: http://twitter.com/dcagle

This is my last week to work on our BIG Book of Convention 2008 Cartoons; my deadline is Monday and the book should be in stores by the first of October. I’m hoping to get McCain’s VP choice in before I have to close this thing out. That’s the book cover, front and back, below.  Brian Fairrington co-edited and did the back cover, as with all of our books.

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Cartoons

Michael Phelps is Done

Michael Phelps is Done COLOR © Daryl Cagle,MSNBC.com,dolphin, fish, swim, swimming, Michael Phelps, Olympics, gold medal, eight gold medals, swim suit, swimming suit, sports

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Cartoons

Obama Do the Math

Obama Do the Math © Daryl Cagle,MSNBC.com,Barack Obama,John McCain,president,campaign,slug,Britney Spears,Paris Hilton,math,mathematics,equal sign,equals

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Cartoons

Bush Red Ink

Bush Red Ink Color © Daryl Cagle,MSNBC.com,Blood on his hands,red ink,budget deficit,president George W. Bush,war,Iraq,Afghanistan,military,army

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Columns

Lunch and Fired

I had lunch with superstar Canadian cartoonist, Cam Cardow yesterday. Here we are. I’m the wide one, he’s the thin one. It was actually the first time I have met Cam, who is famously reclusive. I had a huge plate of Mexican food and Cam had a tiny bowl of soup, which goes a long way to explaining the wide and thin thing.

Dave Astor of E&P is reporting that Stuart Carlson, the long time cartoonist for the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, has been forced out of his job. Carlson, whose work appeared on our site some years ago, has worked for the Journal-Sentinal for 25 years. He was recently asked to draw more local cartoons and said his ratio of local to national cartoons had soared to 70%/30%. Cartoonists often say that the secret to keeping an editorial cartooning job is to draw more local cartoons – that didn’t seem to work here.

At one time the Journal-Sentinal was noteworthy for having two editorial cartoonists on staff, until they laid off cartoonist Gary Markstein, who continues to draw without a newspaper, as Carlson will do – that seems to be what happens when cartoonists are laid off, they keep drawing anyway.

I enjoyed the panel at Comic Con. I had arch-conservative Michael Ramirez speak immediately after arch-liberal Mr. Fish – it amused me to see them adjacent to each other. We had a nice crowd of probably 275 people, which is impressive considering that the people could have chosen to be in another room hearing about the exciting, upcoming season of Stargate Atlantis.

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Columns

Cagle at Comic-Con

I’ll be moderating a panel of top editorial cartoonists at the San Diego Comic Con this Friday, July 25th from 1:30pm to 2:30pm in room 5AB. We have an impressive, all-star group of cartoonists that will each give short presentations, Mike Peters, Signe Wilkinson, Steve Breen, Mr. Fish (Dwayne Booth), Bill Schorr and Michael Ramirez.

Another Job Loss

It was announced that Dick Adair, the cartoonist for the Honolulu Advertiser, will lose his job.

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Columns

Two More Editorial Cartoonist Job Losses

Dwayne Powell of the Raleigh News & Observer resigned today. He had been laid off and offered a part-time job of drawing three local cartoons a week for the newspaper, but he decided to turn that down. Dwayne, who had been employed at the newspaper for close to thirty years, will continue to draw national cartoons in syndication and his cartoons will continue to appear on our site.

Don Wright, the Pulitzer winning cartoonist for the Palm Beach Post took a buyout today. There is no news yet on whether he will continue to draw only for syndication.

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Columns

New Yorker Cover Corrections

Some of our cartoonists have offered helpful suggestions for how the new Yorker cover could be made to work. These are from Mr. Fish, Justin Bilicki, Tab, Stephff, Simanca Lalo Alcaraz and RJ Matson.

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Cartoons

New Yorker Cover Fear

New Yorker Cover Fear © Daryl Cagle,MSNBC.com,New Yorker,donkey,elephant,magazine,campaign 2008, Barack Obama,Michelle Obama

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Columns

Why The New Yorker’s Obama Cover is a Lousy Cartoon

Cable news channels and bloggers are buzzing about The New Yorker magazine cover featuring Barack Obama dressed in Muslim garb and Michelle Obama with an afro and machine gun, doing a “terrorist fist bump” in the Oval Office, while an American flag burns in the fireplace. The cartoon by Barry Blitt drew immediate condemnation from the Obama and McCain camps.

In an interview on the Huffington Post Web site, New Yorker Editor David Remnick argues, “Obviously I wouldn’t have run a cover just to get attention — I ran the cover because I thought it had something to say. What I think it does is hold up a mirror to the prejudice and dark imaginings about both Obamas’ it combines a number of images that have been propagated, not by everyone on the right but by some, about Obama’s supposed ‘lack of patriotism’ or his being ‘soft on terrorism’ or the idiotic notion that somehow Michelle Obama is the second coming of the Weathermen or most violent Black Panthers. That somehow all this is going to come to the Oval Office. “The idea that we would publish a cover saying these things literally, I think, is just not in the vocabulary of what we do and who we are… We’ve run many many satirical political covers. Ask the Bush administration how many.”

Cartoonist Barry Blitt defends the cover by saying, “It seemed to me that depicting the concept would show it as the fear-mongering ridiculousness that it is.” So the cover cartoon is simply an exaggeration of the allegations against the Obamas.

There are rules to political cartoons that allow cartoonists to draw in an elegant, simple, shorthand that readers understand. Exaggeration is a well worn tool of political cartoonists; we use it all the time. I’ve drawn President Bush as the King of England, to exaggerate his autocratic tendencies. I’ve drawn the president as a dog, peeing all over the globe to mark his territory. I exaggerate every day, and I don’t expect my readers to take my exaggerations seriously — but when I draw an absurdly exaggerated political cartoon, I’m looking for some truth to exaggerate to make my point. A typical stand-up comedian will tell jokes about things the audience already knows or agrees with, “it’s funny because it’s true,” or true as the comedian sees it. It is the same for cartoonists — our readers know that we’re exaggerating to make a point we believe in.

Cartoonists have a great advantage over journalists in that we can draw whatever we want. We can put words into the mouths of politicians that the politicians never said. Cartoons can be outrageous in their exaggeration; we draw things that never happened, and never could happen — but we have a contract with the readers who understand that we’re drawing crazy things that convey our own views. The New Yorker’s Obama cover fails to keep that contract with readers. Cartoonists don’t exaggerate anything just because we have the freedom to do so; we exaggerate to communicate in a way that our readers understand.

There is no frame of reference in The New Yorker’s cover to put the scene into perspective. Following the rules of political cartoons, I could fix it. I would have Obama think in a thought balloon, “I must be in the nightmare of some conservative.” With that, the scene is shown to be in the mind of someone the cartoonist disagrees with and we have defined the target of the cartoon as crazy conservatives with their crazy dreams.

Since readers expect cartoonists to convey some truth as we see it, depicting someone else’s point of view in a cartoon has to be shown to be someone else’s point of view, otherwise it is reasonable for readers to see the cartoon as somehow being the cartoonist’s point of view, no matter how absurd the cartoon is. That is where The New Yorker’s cover cartoon fails.

I reserve the right to be as offensive as I want in my cartoons, and to exaggerate however I please — but I want my cartoons to work, to be good cartoons. A cartoon that fails to communicate its message in a way that readers understand is nothing more than a bad cartoon.