Pat Bagley is one of the all time great editorial cartoonists! Pat has drawn for the Salt Lake (Utah) Tribune for decades. I went through our archives to select my favorite Bagley Christmas cartoons – enjoy!
Our reader supported site, Cagle.com, still needs you! Journalism is threatened with the pandemic that has shuttered newspaper advertisers. Some pundits predict that a large percentage of newspapers won’t survive the pandemic economic slump, and as newspapers sink, so do editorial cartoonists who depend on newspapers, and along with them, our Cagle.com site, that our small, sinking syndicate largely supports, along with our fans.
The New York Times’ stupid decision to stop publishing editorial cartoons is generating more articles around the world, and the world’s cartoonists are responding with lots of cartoons on the topic – some of the cartoons are more offensive than Antonio Antunes’ cartoon, and I won’t show them here, but I’ve posted some new ones here.
Courrier International, the great French news magazine that reprints lots of editorial cartoons by international cartoonists, asked me a bunch of questions for an upcoming article; I thought I would post my responses here.
1) As a cartoonist and founder of Cagle Syndicate Cartoon, what do you think of the incriminated cartoon by Antonio Moreira Antunes?
I would have killed the cartoon if it came in to us. I can also see how the cartoon could have slipped through, without notice, since the cartoon didn’t feature an obvious, anti-Semitic, Der Stürmer cliché like depicting a Jew as a rat or spider.
The Antonio cartoon illustrates the trope that Jews manipulate the world’s non-Jews, with yarmulke-wearing Trump blindly following Jews, which are broadly indicated by the Star of David the Netanyahu-dog wears on his collar, rather than having the dog wear an Israeli flag which would indicate that Trump is led by Israel. When cartoonists mix anti-Israel and anti-Jewish metaphors, the cartoons should be killed. It isn’t about the dog, although the choice of a German Dachshund is provocative; the most common anti-Semitic cartoons depict Jews as Nazis.
When we get an anti-Semitic cartoon from one of our cartoonists, I email the cartoonist letting him know why we killed his cartoon, and usually the cartoonist will say, “OK, I get it.” Over time, our cartoonists have learned where we draw the red lines and it is less of a problem for us. Anti-Semitic cartoons are so common around the world that the cartoonists are usually unaware that their cartoons are offensive.
2) Did the decision made by the NYT surprise you (that is : did you see it coming?)? What’s your reaction?
The Times doesn’t run editorial cartoons in their USA edition and has a long history of being cartoon-unfriendly, so their decision to stop running cartoons in their international edition didn’t surprise me.
I was mostly surprised that the Times suddenly cut off their relationship with their partner, Cartoonarts International Syndicate, because of the poor decision of a Times editor. Cartoonarts is a family business that has worked with the Times for nearly twenty years, with the Times handling all of Cartoonarts’ sales and online delivery services, which were suddenly cut off. The announcement that the Times would “stop using syndicated cartoons” didn’t describe how brutal their reaction was to a small business that relied on their long-running partnership and support from the Times.
3) Many cartoonists (Chapatte and Kroll, among others) reacted to the NYT’s decision saying : it is a bad time for cartoons, caricature, humor and derision. Do you agree with this appreciation?
Yes, jobs with newspapers are mostly a thing of the past for editorial cartoonists. Outrage is easy to express on the internet and often takes the form of demands for revenge on the publication and the cartoonist who offended the reader. Newspapers are responsive to organized online outrage and shy away from controversy. Cartoons draw more response from readers than words, and responses are usually negative as people who agree with the cartoons are not motivated to email the newspaper.
When did things begin to turn ugly, and why?
Editorial cartoonists are in the same, sinking boat as all journalists. Things turned ugly when the internet took the advertising revenue away from print.
Is there a US specificity in this context, especially since Donald Trump was elected president?
Not regarding Donald Trump. I’ve drawn Trump as a dog, and I’ve drawn Netanyahu as a dog. Cartoonists love to draw politicians as dogs. Anti-Semitic cartoons are common around the world but are not common in the USA where editors do a good job of recognizing and killing offensive cartoons.
4) Why is it important to defend cartoonists and press cartoons, according to you? (or: do you think a world without cartoons and caricature has become a serious eventuality? Can you imagine such a world?) What should be done to defend this form of journalistic expression? 5) As a cartoonist and founder of Cagle Syndicate Cartoon, what would you say about the role played by social medias? Do you see them rather as a useful tool or a threat to a good and sound public debate? Or somewhere in between?
It is troubling that so many people get their news through social media. Social media has taken the advertising revenue away from traditional news media – both online and in print – so journalism is being starved. Editorial cartoonists are no different than other journalists; we’re underpaid freelancers now; we draw for love rather than because of any good business sense.
I run an editorial cartoons site for readers at Cagle.com, and we stopped running advertising on the site. We rely on donations from readers to support Cagle.com. Other publications are going non-profit and relying on donations to support their journalism – I’m impressed with Pro-Publica and the Texas Tribune. The Guardian has been successful with support from their readers.
Cartoon fans who worry about our profession can support us by going to Cagle.com/Heroes and making a small contribution. We really appreciate everyone’s support!
Want to see more of my posts about the New York Times’ ugly, recent history with editorial cartoons?
The “Salon de St. Just, ” in its 32nd year, draws cartoonists from around the world to a tiny town near Limoges. The townspeople have adopted the cartoonists and hold a party that stretches over two weekends, in a grand cartoon museum they built in the middle of cow country. Most of the cartoonists stay in the homes of volunteer villagers – the entire event is put together by townpeople Cartoonists usually come for only one weekend of the festival, splitting the crowd between what becomes two different weekend groups of roughly 120 cartoonists each.
This was my second “Salon,” last year I went with our knuckle-dragging, conservative, “Tea Party” cartoonist, Eric Allie, who was a strange beast to the French. This year I went with three liberal cartoonists, Pat Bagley of the Salt Lake Tribune, Steve Sack of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, and Bob Englehart of the Hartford Courant for three days of open bar and schmoozing with our international colleagues.
Here I am with my Cagle Cartoons colleagues, dubbed “Cagle Cowboys”, from left, Josette, Pat Bagley, Me, Bob Englehart and Steve Sack below.
My festival friends tell me that a cow is usually a placid animal, but sometimes the cow will get annoyed and give a swift, painful kick as a surprise to an unlucky bystander; this contributes to the idea that the cow is a little sneaky, nasty and unpredictable. The “Prix de l’humor Vache,” the grand prize they gave me, is described as an award for “caustic humor.” “Humor Vache” (funny cow) rhymes with “Amour Vache” (love cow, or more accurately “rough love”) a French idiom for a love affair that is nasty, consisting of harsh words and arguments. In France, to refer to someone as a “vache” (cow) is a little bit nasty. In contrast, on the first Saturday of the Salon, they give out the “Humor Tendre” (Tender Humor) award, which is a sheep, given to a sweet cartoonist such as a children’s book illustrator.
The Limoges area is proud of their cows, which are raised for beef and are all a warm brown color. The cow is the symbol and mascot of the Salon. Every year, the “Prix de l’humor Vache” cow is named “Josette” and is actually given to the winning cartoonist. At the ceremony, the mayor of St. Just, Gerard Vandenbroucke, awarded Limoges porcelain cows to my three American compatriots, dubbing them “Cagle’s cowboys.” Bob, Pat and Steve, who can also claim to have won cows (although, not real cows) took their little cows around to all the other cartoonists at the Salon to sign; it was charming.
Typically, the winning cartoonist is expected to take a cash award (I still don’t know how much) in lieu of actually taking delivery of the real Josette, who would be difficult to check on a plane and would likely be an unpleasant roommate in my tiny, Nashville apartment. But, they make it clear that the cartoonist really won a cow and could actually take the cow if he or she chooses to, and there are stories of cartoonists in past years choosing to take the cow. I’m told that are some amusing movies of a past winner taking his cow to Paris, trying to bring the cow on the Metro, and taking the cow up the Eiffel Tower. If anyone can find these movies online, I’d love to take a look.
Part of winning the grand prize cow is the obligation to do the art for the poster for the next Salon. The poster this year featured a lovely Degas-like ballerina cow. The festival people then dress a cow sculpture, in the entry to the museum, to match the cow on the poster. My plan is to give the cow on next year’s poster a very elaborate costume that will be a unique challenge for a St. Just volunteer to create for the cow statue. Right now, I’m thinking of doing the poster cow as Marie Antoinette with a huge, elaborate, flowing gown.
Here’s Bob Englehart with the cow statue at the entrance to the exhibition. The cow is dressed to match the poster which is a ballerina this year. Next year I’ll be doing the poster and I plan to put the cow in a very elaborate costume that will be a challenge for St. Just’s volunteer seamstresses.
The whole event in St. Just is a lovely boost for our beleaguered editorial cartooning profession which is suffering in France as it is here and around the world with newspapers declining everywhere. I’d love to see some of the great French attitude about the value of editorial cartooning rub off on other parts of the world, like America, which treats cartooning as a second class art form. I can’t imagine a whole town in the USA choosing to build a municipal cartoon museum, opening their homes, and pitching together to cook dinner for hundreds of editorial cartoonists – and, of-course, a nine day open bar would be unthinkable in America.
From left to right, Bob Englehart, Stave Sack, St. Just’s Mayor Gerard Vandenbroucke in the red shirt, me holding my “Prix de l’humor Vache” porcelain statue, Josette, and Pat Bagley in the lower right corner.
I’m impressed with the NCS Southeast Chapter, they put on an ambitious gathering and have a lot of cartooning luminaries in their ranks. I’m looking forward to it.
Next week I’m going to the big, international, editorial cartooning convention in St. Just le Martel, France. This is a little town that has decided that they love editorial cartoons – they built an impressive cartoon museum and the whole town comes out in wholehearted support of our troubled art form. They also love cows; this is French cow country, down by Limoges.
So, if there are any editorial cartooning fans in France who want to visit with some obscure, American editorial cartoonists, the four of us will be hanging with all the other world cartoonists at the cartoon museum the second weekend of the Salon, October 4th, 5th and 6th.
This week, the Salt Lake Tribune ran Garry Trudeau’s “Doonesbury” despite all the controversy surrounding its focus on a Texas law requiring women seeking an abortion to receive a sonogram. However, the paper’s editors decided against running today’s “I thee rape” strip. That didn’t sit to well with our own Pat Bagley, the paper’s staff cartoonist. He decided to take matters into his own hands, and share his cartoon with today’s “Doonesbury” installment (the top part of the cartoon references Utah House Majority Leader Kevin Garn, who resigned after confessing to a nude hot-tubbing incident with an under-aged girl).
Tribune columnist George Pyle said Bagley’s decision to put his cartoon together this way was like peanut butter and chocolate. “Separate they are good. Together they are great.”