Shitty Editorial Cartoons By People Who Get Huge Salaries From Newspapers That Refuse to Run Good Cartoons, Even in Syndication

Some of my colleagues are unhappy that I am, as they put it, airing the dirty laundry by criticizing terrible editorial cartoons. I don’t get it. It’s not like these things are state secrets. They’re published in newspapers. They appear on the Internet. Pointing out that they are terrible doesn’t require speaking out of turn; everybody already knows that they are terrible because only have to do is look at them to see that they are terrible. All I do, as I see it, is describe and articulate why I think they are terrible. It’s not like I have any special power to censor bad editorial cartoons – although that would be great – or that anyone is going to get fired because of something I write. It’s just my opinion. And I suspect that it is an opinion that is more widely shared than the lazy hacks who create this crap would like to think.

And so, without further ado, here’s a look at today’s artistic atrocities by cartoonists who receive huge salaries from newspapers that wouldn’t pay $20 a week to run syndicated editorial cartoons by a good cartoonist. And editors wonder why the newspaper business is in trouble…


131272 600 College Bills cartoons

First and foremost, this is not a political cartoon. It does not express a political point of view. I happen to know that the cartoonist is a Republican, but you can’t possibly tell that from the cartoon. What is the take away message? College is expensive. Yeah, like everyone didn’t already know that. I’m never going to get the four seconds back that I spent reading that.

131458 600 Sanford and Son cartoons

This is one of those cartoons that you practically need a decoder ring to figure out. Unless you are the biggest political wonk in the world, you’ve probably forgotten about South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford and his lame excuse for going AWOL while he was sneaking off to Argentina on taxpayer money in order to visit his girlfriend: that he was hiking on the Appalachian Trail. But what really gets me, and it showcases just how old-fashioned mainstream editorial cartooning is, is the reference to the 1970s TV show “Sanford and Son.” I’m nearly 50 years old, and I was 14 years old when the show was canceled in 1977. In other words, I’m about as young as you can be and still remember it. When you do a cartoon that can only be referenced in terms of pop culture by people who are older than 50, you are giving up on the present – never mind the future.


131456 600 Cleveland Kidnappings cartoons

In recent years, in a formatted trope that I think we began with Mike Ramirez, many cartoonists have started doing this below-the-frame caption thing, like the “locked in the attic” here. The effect is incredibly pretentious. It says I am smart and you are not. Ta-daa! Furthermore, the inherent weakness of the metaphor format shows through here. This is a drawing of the suspect in the Cleveland kidnappings. So why is he labeled Cleveland kidnappings? He isn’t the kidnappings. He is the kidnapper. Ultimately, the biggest problem with this cartoon is the simpleminded and vacuous concept behind it: that this is all explained by evil. You know, like he’s possessed by a demon. Which, frankly, if true should allow him to walk free. Or at least walk free after he has his demons exorcized by a crazy priest. Somehow, I doubt that the right-wing cartoonist who drew this cartoon really believes that this guy is possessed by a demon or the devil or Satan or whatever. All you are really left with is: some people are bad. Which, I already knew. And it’s not a political statement. So it should not be marketed as a political cartoon.


131442 600 Cleveland kidnapping Superheroes cartoons

When I become cartoon dictator of the world, I am going to ban all editorial cartoons that point to anyone and say: that person is a hero. Editorial cartooning is an inherently negative medium. It is here to criticize, not praise. When you praise anything, you look cheesy and stupid. In this format.  The only exception would be if you praise someone who is widely vilified by the mainstream media and American culture.

131433 600 Animal Nuz 144 cartoons

This runs in Daily Kos. I do not.


131386 600 KIDNAPPED IN CLEVELAND cartoons

Totally retarded. Telling the public or for that matter the victims of a crime that they can take comfort in a fictional Christianesque anti-deity wreaking vengeance on their behalf is cartooning malpractice. Not to mention, now that I think of it, weirdly anti-Christian. Unless Randy is a devil worshiper.


131384 600 Kidnapped Cleveland Women found alive cartoons

This one… Wow. What the hell?

11 thoughts on “Shitty Editorial Cartoons By People Who Get Huge Salaries From Newspapers That Refuse to Run Good Cartoons, Even in Syndication

  1. Ted,

    Firstly, “Or at least walk free after he has his demons exercised by a crazy priest.” Unless the priest is Richard Simmons, you meant “exorcised.”

    Secondly, you wrote, “Some of my colleagues are unhappy that I am, as they put it, airing the dirty laundry by criticizing terrible editorial cartoons.”

    Sorry, Ted. Your colleagues are lying to you. And themselves. They are unhappy because there is, pretty much, not a chance in the world for them to have a return to the heyday of your profession. So they are just barely able to kid themselves that the scraps they’re getting are not too terrible. And you point out to them that some people are having a hell of a nice dinner by breaking all the rules and doing a crappy job to boot.

    They prefer to have their crappy little sandwich with one slice of bologna and one slice of processed American cheese on Wonder bread on a paper plate. I can’t say that they’ve made the wrong choice. They’ve made their choice.

    I’ve been down this road before. Maybe 20 years ago, I got a lecture from one of my bosses about how I was kind of negative, and how maybe I should consider changing for the other people in the office. My response was to say that, in all honesty, I had a lot of trouble with how perky and thrilled everyone else was about the terrible working conditions. That there are never paper towels in the men’s room, I said, was not me being negative. It was me being factual. That other people were not bothered by the lack of towels was, bluntly, kind of disgusting.

    Why don’t I bring it up with management, I was asked.

    Because my co-workers, I responded, told me not to unless I wanted to get fired.

    Ted, you will never convince them that not having to wipe your hands on your thighs is a minimum standard.

  2. Cartoons like these have always seemed to be the majority – illuminating problems that are fairly commonly known and re-iterating back what people already may feel or think. Witht the constant 24-7 feedback of the Internet and the ability of mistakes or “stupid remarks” to go viral, I think it has encouraged a lot of people, including editorial cartoonists to “play it safe” and pander a bit more to common sentiment and political correctness. Ted – people like you and Dwayne Booth fly in the face of ths style, and this makes publications nervous. I have to believe that you must know this better than me, after all, you’ve been doing it for years, but the times have slowly changed, and I have become irritated at the constant negativeness assaulting me from every direction, whether daily media crap or even emails from organizations. One example is the fact that deaths among the American public due to guns have actually been decreasing since the 1990’s (but it is still unacceptably high), but due to the medis, TV news, etc. many people think it is the opposite. More and more people are doing the 3-monkey thing, putting their hands over their eyes, ears and mouths. Constant strident vitriol coming from every direction numbs people, and when more and more people are living at lower levels and just trying to get by, they simply don’t respond much any more. You can choose to become more strident and yell louder, but like many other cartoonists with similar style, you may have to get used to being less syndicated or have your work accepted – you may have to get a second job to continue on this way.

  3. Satan is God’s buddy, just look at the book of Job. Good Christians invoke his name all the time.

  4. Thanks for the fix on “exorcized.” Sadly, I agree with the rest. But I don’t care. I’ll never stop bitching about this stuff because once you stop complaining, you’re in tacit agreement with your own oppression.

  5. This basically comes down to a dislike of the point of view. I can say the same about Matt Bors, for instance. The guy’s got a half-dozen themes he keeps harping on: Guantanamo, Bush=Obama, Millenials are maligned, we should be more like Canada, rich people suck, and a couple other standard left wing Oregon granola themes. Bors is as much a tool as these clowns on the right. In the end, there’s really no one in cartooning that has anything interesting to say, much less in an innovative way.

  6. “Showing your true colors, ex.”

    Yeah, yeah, yeah. Blah, blah, blah. More tribalism. If I don’t agree with everything on the left, then I’m “showing your true colors”. Whatever.

    Matt Bors is not some genius, he’s run-of-the-mill. He has said stupid shit plenty of times, and this whole “Occupy” schtick is old and tired. It’s not an accident it died a quick death. Blaming the rich for everything is a douchebag strategy. The people on the left would do well to look hard at themselves, what motivates them, and their own shortcomings before constantly pointing the finger outward.

  7. @Ted

    “[I am incredibly jealous that t]his runs in Daily Kos [and] I do not.”

    Fixed that for you, Ted.

    Although the answer as to why you don’t run in Daily Kos is blindingly obvious. They are only interested in people who are going after the REAL enemies of progress in this country; insead of simply and pointlessly bashing Obama and the Democrats-often for things beyond their control.

  8. ex, disagreeing by reasoned argument is appreciated. The phrase “left wing Oregon granola themes” does not qualify as reasoned, or even as argument at all. It’s just innuendo.

  9. @Idiot Whimsical

    Daily Kos is only interested in people who are [supporting] the REAL enemies of progress in this country; [by] simply and [end]lessly [prais]ing Obama and the Democrats – often for [every]thing.

    Fixed that for you, Idiot Whimsical.

  10. Says the guy who sent Boris Yeltsin to a ” fictional Christianesque anti-deity’s” lair… cough, cough…