Lessons of a Fiery--and Fired--Cartoonist
As some call for the head of New York Post cartoonist Sean Delonas, insisting that he never work in that town again -- much less anywhere, amid the paper's "partial apology"--
it's intriguing to step back to think of hard-hitting artists who have not only drawn fire, but also have been fired for the clarity of their convictions.
Pink-slipped New Zealand cartoonist Malcolm Evans, Qantas Media's 2003 Cartoonist of the Year, gives his side of the story -- and discusses life as a truly POLITICAL cartoonist -- in this video. The one thing that particularly strikes me about his cartoons is that the sharp-edged point of his work is almost always bluntly, boldly clear. There's little guessing or hedging as to what his visual metaphors mean, in a retro-style evocative of Paul Conrad, among others.
Sure, an over-reliance on labeling your images is way passé, but if Delonas is being intellectually honest with us, then I would have preferred that he label his chimp straight-up. As Sean Penn said last night after his win-- in a statement that holds truth above and beyond one's politics-- (and I paraphrase part of his larger point): If you have convictions, then strive for clarity in communicating them.
And that, if nothing else, should be Job One of any truly professional political cartoonist. Comic Riffs does not post this in order to endorse any views represented by these cartoons; we post this simply because Sean Delonas -- if he wants to be honestly controversial for self-respecting reasons, AND if we take him at his word what he meant -- should strive for even half this degree of clarity.
While Garry Trudeau is on vacation, he's re-running his poigant, provocative "Doonesbury" series from last year, in which Rick Redfern is laid off by HIS Washington Post.
Seeing the strips anew reminds just how right Trudeau got it -- even if journalists must re-live the pain this week. Yes, the pen is mightier than our double-edged sword.
| February 23, 2009; 1:00 PM ET
Categories: The Political Cartoon
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