Drawn to Extremes

Drawn to Extremes: The Use and Abuse of Editorial Cartoons in the United States

CHRIS LAMB
Copyright Date: 2004
Pages: 288
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7312/lamb13066
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Drawn to Extremes
    Book Description:

    In 2006, a cartoon in a Danish newspaper depicted the Prophet Mohammed wearing a bomb in his turban. The cartoon created an international incident, with offended Muslims attacking Danish embassies and threatening the life of the cartoonist. Editorial cartoons have been called the most extreme form of criticism society will allow, but not all cartoons are tolerated. Unrestricted by journalistic standards of objectivity, editorial cartoonists wield ire and irony to reveal the naked truths about presidents, celebrities, business leaders, and other public figures. Indeed, since the founding of the republic, cartoonists have made important contributions to and offered critical commentary on our society. Today, however, many syndicated cartoons are relatively generic and gag-related, reflecting a weakening of the newspaper industry's traditional watchdog function. Chris Lamb offers a richly illustrated and engaging history of a still vibrant medium that "forces us to take a look at ourselves for what we are and not what we want to be." The 150 drawings in Drawn to Extremes have left readers howling-sometimes in laughter, but often in protest.

    eISBN: 978-0-231-53418-5
    Subjects: Language & Literature, Art & Art History, Political Science, History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. ix-xiv)
  4. 1 “You Should Have Been in the World Trade Center!”
    (pp. 1-29)

    The September 11, 2001, terrorism attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., resulted in a day of unprecedented sadness in the United States. Americans wept as they watched on television while one tower—having been hit by a hijacked airplane—burned as another plane approached the second tower. Within an hour, both 1,350-foot towers collapsed into rubble, burying hundreds of fireflighters and police officers, many of whom had trudged up dozens of flights of stairs in search of survivors. Newspapers published special editions with pages of photographs and moving accounts of...

  5. 2 “President Bush Has Been Reading Doonesbury and Taking It Much Too Seriously”
    (pp. 30-56)

    On November 3, 1967, Garry Trudeau, who later created Doonesbury, published his first editorial cartoon in his college newspaper, the Yale Daily News, which criticized hazing practices at several fraternities. The crude drawing shows two naked pledges being branded on their rear end with an iron with the symbols DKE. Delta Kappa Epsilon had earned a dubious recognition by initiating its pledges by pressing the tip of a smoldering wire coat hangar to the small of their backs. When the New York Times interviewed the fraternity’s president, a compassionate-conservative-in-training named George W. Bush, he defended the practice by saying that...

  6. 3 “No Honest Man Need Fear Cartoons”
    (pp. 57-89)

    During the 2000 presidential campaign, Democratic candidate Al Gore, the standing vice president, was widely perceived as wooden, remote, boring, and calculating. His opponent, the Republican nominee, Texas governor George W. Bush, was seen as dim but highly bankrolled. The presidential election inspired little passion on the part of either the electorate or the editorial cartoonists. “The worst thing was how packaged it was. Everything was scripted,” Christian Science Monitor editorial cartoonist Clay Bennett said. “Both camps were as calculated as I’ve ever seen.” According to Pulitzer Prize winner Doug Marlette, “When everyone is controlling all their ideas and everyone...

  7. 4 “McCarthyism”
    (pp. 90-125)

    More than a hundred years ago, as editorial cartoonists made their presence on the front pages and editorial pages of daily newspapers, the art of graphic satire was considered masculine because of the power and esteem associated with demanding social reforms, exposing corporate corruption, and ridiculing political leaders.¹ In the first two decades of the twentieth century, however, women made their introduction into editorial cartooning. Drawn by the suffrage movement, these women made a difference in society with their cartoons in newspapers and magazines demanding a constitutional amendment to give women the right to vote.²

    In the introduction to Alice...

  8. 5 “Second-Class Citizens of the Editorial Page”
    (pp. 126-155)

    Doug Marlette’s 2001 novel The Bridge begins with the narrator, an editorial cartoonist named Pick Cantrell, describing a drawing of a close-up of the pope wearing a button with the words “No Women Priests,” which was intended to criticize the pope and the Catholic Church for their continued prohibition of female priests. An arrow points from the inscription “Upon this rock I will build my church” (Matthew 16:18) to the pope’s forehead. After Cantrell’s Long Island, New York, newspaper, The Sun, published the cartoon, offended readers complained to the publisher, editor, and cartoonist. In response, the editorial page editor, Richard...

  9. 6 “We Certainly Don’t Want to Make People Uncomfortable Now, Do We?”
    (pp. 156-184)

    Doug Marlette remembers the first time one of his editorial cartoons was not published. While working in the art department of the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times during the late 1960s, the newspaper ran a story about a local high school that had the nickname Rebels, flew the Confederate flag, and played “Dixie” at football games. Black students, who had recently been bused to the school, protested the school’s customs, which angered the white students and resulted in racial confrontations. As he drove home from work, Marlette thought of a cartoon with a couple of white school-children, including a girl holding...

  10. 7 “That’s Not a Definition of Libel; That’s a Job Description”
    (pp. 185-208)

    On August 23, 1984, Milt Priggee, then with the Dayton (Ohio) Journal Herald, published a cartoon on a much-publicized feud between the chief justice of the Ohio Supreme Court, Frank Celebrezze, and the state bar association. In the drawing, Priggee portrayed the dispute as a 1930s-era feud between rival gangs, in which tommy gun–firing hoods are fleeing from a storefront labeled “Ohio Bar Association” in a car with “Celebrezze” on the license plate, leaving behind on the sidewalk two injured men and a skunk holding his stomach (figure 7.1).

    In March 1985, Priggee learned that he and his newspaper...

  11. 8 “Comfort the Afflicted and Afflict the Comfortable”
    (pp. 209-238)

    During his State of the Union address on January 28, 2003, President George W. Bush emphasized the need to invade Iraq in order to oust its leader. “The British government,” Bush announced, “has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.” Bush’s words, delivered with an unmistakable sense of urgency, made clear the dire consequences to the United States and the rest of the world if Iraq’s brutal regime possessed nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction. With those sixteen words and over the objections of the United Nations, the Bush administration issued a moral...

  12. NOTES
    (pp. 239-270)
  13. INDEX
    (pp. 271-282)