Welcome to the webbed and wired edition of R&R, aristotle. We’ll be doing the same sort of song and dance here as we do in print: reviewing the latest comics and cartoon-related books and ranting about trends and abuses and unfathomable foolishnesses. Each installment will stay here for about four weeks, with a new one coming in just about every other week or so. If you don’t have the time to ponder every punctuation mark in this deathless prose and merely want to see what might be there that would interest you, we suggest you scroll down the page looking for the bold-face type that heralds the notables who reside herein this week. So here we go with Opus 392 and a reprise of Opus 391:
Opus 392A (May 15, 2019). Our Political Opus for this month—all the editoons we left out of Opus 392 because including them would have lengthened Opus 392 to Kansas City. Also: editoonist Chan Lowe’s life and work and Turk editoonist Musa Kart’s satirical testimony at the trial that sent him to jail for drawing cartoons critical of the current Turk prez, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. And a couple newsstories. Here’s what’s here, in order, by department—:
NOUS R US
Fiore Wins RFK
Chan Lowe Retires
Turk Kart Jailed for No Reason
Barr Sets the Mueller Report Loose
Gigantic Selection of the Last Month’s
Editorial Cartooning and Anti-Semitism
Politics as Cartoons
Finally, our customary reminder: when you get to the $ubscriber/Associate Section (perusal of which is restricted to paid subscribers), don’t forget to activate the “Bathroom Button” by clicking on the “print friendly version” so you can print off a copy of just this installment for reading later, at your leisure while enthroned. Without further adieu, then, here we go—:
NOUS R US
Some of All the News That Gives Us Fits
HE NEWS THIS TIME is mostly that which is reflected in the editorial cartoons of the last month or so. The events of that month provoked editoonery in such profusion that we couldn’t include any in our last posting except a few about the burning of Notre Dame. Thus it is with the Trumpet, a walking, blurting, fuming manufacturer of buffoonery and outrage (and sometimes both together, as outrageous buffoonery) that no editoonist can ignore. And so they don’t. As we’ll see in a trice. Just before that, however, we have a couple of announcements and news from abroad, from Turkey, where journalism in general and editorial cartooning in particular are being systematically suppressed. First, the announcements—:
FIORE WINS RFK FOR THE SECOND TIME
On May 3 by way of celebrating World Press Freedom Day, Robert F. Kennedy Center announced the winners of its 2019 Robert F. Kennedy Book & Journalism Awards. Mark Fiore won the editoon category for his series of child separation animations, his second RFK Award, the first in 2005.
The Robert F. Kennedy Awards for Excellence in Journalism is named after Robert F. Kennedy. The annual awards were established in December 1968 by a group of reporters who covered Kennedy's campaigns.
Fiore’s RFK award joins a crowded shelf that includes Pulitzer and Herblock Prizes among others. In 2010, he was the first in a small but growing field of animating editoonists to win a Pulitzer Prize—"For his animated cartoons appearing on SFGate.com, the San Francisco Chronicle Web site, where his biting wit, extensive research and ability to distill complex issues set a high standard for an emerging form of commentary."
In 2011, Ann Telnaes, who animates her editoons for the Washington Post, was a finalist.
In 2016, the Herblock Award went to Fiore, who the Wall Street Journal has called “the undisputed guru of the form.” In addition to appearing on the San Francisco Chronicle’s web site, his animated editoons have appeared on Newsweek.com, Slate.com, CBSNews.com, MotherJones.com, NPR’s web site and is currently being featured on online news sites ranging from KQED and Truthdig.com to The Progressive and DailyKos.com.
CHAN LOWE RETIRES AFTER 44 YEARS AT EDITOONING
On April 26, Chan Lowe, 66, retired from his job as deputy editorial page editor for The Berkshire Eagle. And he reflected upon his four decades of editooning by referring to a favorite cartoon.
"You can lead a reader to water,” he said. “But you have to let them do the drinking. If it goes on inside them, they love the cartoon."
A cartoon’s impact must happen in the reader’s mind, he said.
His favorite, reported Larry Parness of The Eagle staff, showed three flag-draped military caskets against a white background. It was one of the simplest editorial cartoons Lowe ever drew. But in his 43 years of producing cartoons for newspaper opinion pages, the last two years in Pittsfield, Massachusetts from his base at The Eagle, this work from 2009 remains Lowe's favorite because its message must stew in a reader's mind.
Three silent caskets.
Then the hand-lettered caption: "Which Is the Gay One?”
Coming after years of debate about gays in the military, the line can be read as petty bias. Or, as Lowe anticipated, as a gut check. Here, plain evidence of a soldier's sacrifice says everything.
As with all the cartoons Lowe produced — three a week for the Tribune Content Agency over 34 years, more than 5,000 in all, plus local cartoons nearly every day — the one showing military caskets went out to media subscribers across the country. For a few seconds at countless breakfast tables, Lowe's work prodded the American psyche.
That's the job Lowe performed for years, sitting at a drafting table wielding a sable brush, and countless bottles of India ink, to give people who follow the news the shock of insight — or indigestion. Lowe's longest run was at the Sun-Sentinel in Florida, where he also created local cartoons above and beyond the works shared nationally. He was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize at the Sun-Sentinel in 1990.
Perhaps the time spent in the unique locales of New York, Oklahoma, California, England and Florida helped Lowe stamp his editorial cartoons with his everyman perspective on events in the United States and throughout the world claimed his biography at the Tribune Agency site.
Lowe was born in New York City in 1953; attended school in New York, Los Angeles and England; and graduated from Williams College in 1975 with a degree in art history. Then he went to work as as staff artist and editorial cartoonist for the Shawnee News-Star in Shawnee, Oklahoma, from 1975 to 1977 and served as editorial cartoonist for the Oklahoma City Times from 1978 to 1984.
From there, he went to the Sun-Sentinel from 1984-2015. He also acted as an occasional feature writer, television columnist and classical music critic for the Daily Oklahoman during that time. In 1992, Lowe spent a year studying at Stanford University as a John S. Knight Journalism Fellow.
Lowe was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 1990 and has won many awards for his work, including a 1996 John Fischetti Award and the 1992 Green Eyeshade Award.
Lowe’s cartoons have appeared in Newsweek, The New York Times, The Washington Post and on network television. He was commissioned by the Library of Congress to design a poster, and he also illustrated the humor book Are You a Newrotic (Prentice-Hall). A kinetic sculpture by Lowe was exhibited in 1997 at the National Gallery for Caricature and Cartoon Art in Washington, D.C. Apart from cartooning, Lowe’s interests include history, sailing, woodworking and playing the Baroque flute.
LOWE ADMITS that he's walking away from a rich subject for commentary — the administration of President Donald Trump.
But walk he did, Parness says, albeit not before a newsroom send-off from colleagues at The Eagle. Lowe stood in the afternoon hubbub, near the requisite sheet cake, as Executive Editor Kevin Moran praised a career spent "sticking up for the small people in the world." Moran said that Lowe's cartoons have appeared "in all the newspapers that matter.”
One promise continues to bind Lowe to The Eagle: a pledge to come out of retirement to create a cartoon commenting on Trump's departure from office, whenever that comes.
"I was damned if I was going to let him control my life after three years," Lowe said of the president.
It took some time, Lowe says, for his caricature of Trump to jell. "At first, he was hard for me to draw. I just wanted to soak in the essence of Trump. I was trying to immerse myself in Trumpiness."
Lowe put up photos of the president around his drafting table at The Eagle — showing Trump laughing, angry, in repose, in a pout. The challenge of caricature, he says, is to show the essence of a person, filtered through the cartoonist's commentary.
Last month, after it emerged in the Robert Mueller report that White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders had lied at briefings with reporters, she became the subject of one of Lowe's final cartoons. It was his first time drawing Sanders, and it meant taking stock of her features. Lowe found them surprisingly off-kilter, lifting the left side of his face to dramatize it.
"Her face is in conflict with itself. When I look at her, I think, `Catch the dichotomy, catch the schism — the difference between the good side and the less-than-good side.' She's a lot of fun to draw."
In the cartoon, Sanders sits in a sort of "kissing booth" of the kind made famous at county fairs of old. But the sign says, "Lies— $1."
A man looking on says, "Being a typical Trump staffer, she figured out a way to monetize it."
As with the caskets drawing, Lowe believes that the best cartoons are the simplest — those with few visual distractions.
"It took me decades to figure that out," he said. "Know when you're finished. And stop. Everything has to be directed at the point you're trying to make. The best cartoons have no words at all.” ...
A NATIONAL PRESS FOUNDATION AWARD in 2000 noted that Lowe "has it in for people who are a little too full of themselves and social movements smacking of hypocrisy."
"So a couple smooching in a parked car and criticizing same-sex marriages turn out to be married — to other people," the citation reads. ...
The best cartoons, Lowe says, get their messages across almost instantly.
"In a flash to the reader, before they have a chance to be skeptical, or be bogged down in a column. Your message will at least stick to the wall. The message is instantaneous. It's an incredible power they give you," he said of the cartoonist's role.
Lowe's retirement further depletes the ranks of nationally known editorial cartoonists. Lowe estimates that while as many as 250 full-time editorial cartoonists were at work when he joined the field in 1975 at the Shawnee News-Star, in Shawnee, Okla., there are now fewer than 50.
He retires able to draw the White House and the Capitol from memory.
"If you can't do that,” Lowe cracked, “ you shouldn't be in the business."
We have samples of his work on the Other Side of the $ubscribers Wall.
TURKISH CARTOONIST JAILED FOR NO REASON AT ALL
Adapted from the New York Times report, April 25
IN A REPORT JUST REACHING US, Turkish cartoonist Musa Kart was returned to prison in February along with five other journalists. All were charged with inciting or aiding terrorism in one way or another, the charges entirely trumped up. The case is considered to have grave implications for freedom of the press in a country now dominated by its autocratic president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has been imprisoning people he believes were supporting the 2016 coup that failed but cost the lives of 249 citizens and the injury of many others. And Erdogan has been suppressing news media who report news unfavorable to him.
Allies of Erdogan now control most of Turkey’s news media. According to the Vienna-based International Press Institute, more than 150 journalists are in jail in Turkey. The country is ranked 157th out of 179 in the world press freedom index compiled by the advocacy group Reporters Without Borders.
The six who were returned to jail were among 13 employees of the newspaper Cumhuriyet, convicted last year and given sentences of two to seven years. All were detained for nine months before the trial, but then released after the trial during an appeals process. The appeals process has now reached its conclusion.
The journalists, their lawyers and media freedom organizations denounced the trial as politically motivated.
“It is a scandal, a huge injustice,” said Tora Pekin, one of the lawyers for the journalists.
In February, an interim appeals court upheld the convictions of eight of the 13, sending six of them back to jail, including an accountant at the newspaper, one of its board members, a lawyer and its cartoonist. They have up to 18 months left to serve.
Cartoonist Kart told a meeting of journalists this week: “We all know that they are throwing us into jail, just to create a climate of fear in this country. I am waiting for an apology. If not today, in the future they will apologize to our children.”
To Find Out What Kart Said in His Testimony at His Trial and To Witness a Massive Selection of Last Month’s Editoons and Then Read Essays on Editorial Cartooning and Anti-Semitism and Politics as Cartoons, —Click Here
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