Here are the most popular cartoons from February. 20% of the cartoon get 80% of the reprints in newspapers, because editors tend to like the same things at the same time. Editors also tend to like the same, small pool of cartoonists, even though all of our cartoons and cartoonists are presented to editors in the same way –so these are the cartoons that got the vast majority of reprints in American newspapers last month.
Here’s my weekly blog about my latest cartoons! The last two are about the drop in the stock market and rise in interest rates after remarks by Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke. Here’s another take on the Wall Street bull.
And here is Bernanke, trimming rates, only to see a little sprout of the economy bloom.
Bernanke, and Greenspan before him, have been trimming rates for a long time. This cartoon adds sprouts to a three year oldie (right). This one amuses me because it is the kind of thing our editorial cartooning professional organization will be discussing next week – whether to ban editorial cartoons that consist of alterations to previously drawn cartoons. The cartoon police may come down on me for ethical infractions like this one. Cartoonists are a humorless bunch, when it comes to “cartoon ethics.”
The previous cartoon was about the NSA eavesdropping scandal. Presidential ears tend to grow over the years in editorial cartoons, and Obama’s big cartoon ears have become absurdly huge among my colleagues. I once met Obama’s buddy, Susan Rice when she was UN Ambassador, and all she wanted to talk about was why I draw Obama’s ears so big. I didn’t have a good answer, except for “peer pressure.” I may keep drawing Obama’s ears small. Maybe the cartoon police will cite me for a small ears infraction too.
The next cartoon is about “Value Added” testing of teachers. This cartoon is just a list of the bad things value added testing encourages teachers to do. There have been lots of testing scandals around the country featuring these abuses, among others. I got an interesting response to this cartoon from defenders of teachers, who saw the cartoon as “teacher bashing” rather than testing bashing.
Here are my latest cartoons. Today the Pope quit, and I drew this one as a riff on Rene Magritte’s famous “This is not a Pipe” painting (right) that we all studied in art history class. We had a recent discussion on Facebook about our brilliant, Mexican/Cuban cartoonist, Angel Boligan, who drew another Magritte allegory about the Pope, which got me thinking.
We get about two phone calls per day from high school students who ask, “what does the cartoon mean?” We tell them they have to do their own homework and we can’t help them. I thought the phone might be ringing off the hook with this one.
Metaphors with famous paintings are meat and potatoes for editorial cartoonists. Here’s one by Nate Beeler.
Magritte did lots of versions of this painting, some in English. I went with the classic French. I thought I would add this Bagley/Pope/Retirement cartoon here – I think it is the best of the bunch.
And I drew these two about the sequester.
Wedgies are a mainstay for editorial cartoonists. Bagley draws better wedgies too.
The stock market fell when we heard the result of Italy’s crazy election, which I drew as the Wall Street Bull tripping over Italy’s boot. It was only a one day drop, but Italy’s bonds are down the tube, so I think it still works.