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Ben Sargent takes buyout at American Statesman

Ben Sargent, who has the editorial cartoonist for the Austin American-Statesman for the last 35 years has opted to take what he described as a “pretty generous buyout.” His last day with the paper will by March 13th. His wife, who is the paper’s longtime TV critic, is also taking a buyout.

Ben says that management has expressed interest in buying cartoons on a contractual basis, but nothing has been finalized.

Ben is a Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist, taking the prize in 1982 and was a finalist in 2001 and 2002. His cartoons are currently syndicated through Universal Press.

Community Comments

#1 Ted Rall
February/19/2009
@ 8:34 am

This is a sad day for the residents of Austin. Ben Sargent is one of the best in the profession.

#2 Beth Cravens
February/19/2009
@ 8:37 am

That makes me sad.

#3 Mike Lester
February/19/2009
@ 9:09 am

I’ll always “Remember the Alamo” and the day Ben Sargent showed it to me. Editorial cartooning’s loss is the rail road crowd’s gain. All the best.

#4 JD Crowe
February/19/2009
@ 10:32 am

Ben’s a giant talent, even by Texan standards, and an all-round great dude. I hope they’re giving him a trainload in the buyout.

#5 Wiley Miller
February/19/2009
@ 11:01 am

Yet another nail in the coffin of editorial cartooning.

#6 Lucas Turnbloom
February/19/2009
@ 11:09 am

“Ben Sargent is one of the best in the profession.”

Yes, indeed.

#7 Matt Bors
February/19/2009
@ 11:44 am

Sargent is great.

#8 John Cole
February/19/2009
@ 12:06 pm

One of our craft’s real-deal originals and a fine gentleman, to boot. Long may he wave.

#9 Scott Bieser
February/20/2009
@ 3:01 pm

What a stunner.

Back in the ’80s when I was attempting (and failing) to join the ranks of pro editorial cartoonists, I visited Ben several times at his Statesman office. Despite our ideological differences he was always warm and friendly, freely offering tips of the trade, happy to chat about events of the day.

He’s truly a great guy and I hope he manages to land on his feet and keep working in these difficult times.

#10 RS Davis
February/22/2009
@ 3:33 am

Hmmm…I live in Austin.

I have for 15 years. Over that time, Sargent sure has been rough on Sen. Larry Craig, Newt Gingrich, Randy Cunningham and other GOP’er’s who got caught with their pants down.

Sliced them open and gutted them like a fish in the most vicious of ways. Oh he is good at what he does, that is for sure.

Of course, many deserved it, no question. Craig? Ick. Cunningham? Pathetic. Gingrich? Should of kept the zipper up.

People who behave badly and hold high profile postions SHOULD be held to account, don’t you think?

Editor’s Note: In light of the nature Mr. Davis’ comment, and his subsequent “retraction,” I have deleted the last portion of the comment.

#11 Wiley Miller
February/22/2009
@ 9:23 am

Let’s see…

Sen. Larry Craig (an elected representative) was a loud advocate against Gay rights and got caught soliciting gay sex.

Rep. Newt Gingrich (an elected representative and House Speaker) led the charge to impeach Pres. Clinton on the morality issue of having an extramarital affair in the Oval Office, while having extramarital affairs at the same time.

Rep. Duke Cunningham (an elected representative) who presented himself throughout his career as a straight forward congressman with strict military code of ethics and honor gets caught as one of the most corrupt members of Congress.

All ripe issues of hypocrisy for cartoonists. And I find it curious that you left out the cartoons he did on Clinton during the whole Lewinsky scandal.

So just how is it a double standard for Ben Sargent, a private citizen, to have done cartoons (which is his job) on these elected representatives?

I just don’t know what your point is here, other than to publicly sully a good man’s name for something he did a decade ago, that had absolutely no bearing on you or anyone else other than Ben and his family. Proud of yourself?

#12 Bill Hinds
February/22/2009
@ 10:17 am

I understand that Ben Sargent is going to take his hefty buyout and concentrate on his letterpress work. Sounds like something a 61-year-old artist would find exciting and rejuvenating. According to my 18-year-old art student, letterpress is the hot medium for artists these days. Ironic in this digital world.
I’m happy for the guy.

#13 RS Davis
February/22/2009
@ 11:00 am

Who sullied his name?

All I was saying is that he took delight in mercilessly ripping people he tagged as hypocritical (and yes, you are correct that Clinton was targeted, but never as fiercely as those on the other side – but nevertheless…).

If you are going to make a living portraying people as mean spiritedly as he did, then isn’t it hypocritical to do something as dumb and dangerous to your reputation and career as what he did? The old glass house and rocks thing is at work here, I believe.

Again, who sullied his name?

He did, don’t you think? I think he was the guy who stood outside the adult video store doing – whatever.

Oh, and BTW, I did say he was very good at what he did. I never took away from his skill as an artist. In fact, I would argue that in today’s political climate, he is the best at what he does.

#14 RS Davis
February/22/2009
@ 11:38 am

Mr. Miller,
I have reconsidered my comments above.

In light of a post I just made over on “the thread that wouldn’t die” about the Delonas cartoon, I will stand down on Ben Sargent.

Although the content of my thread my still reflect my opinion, it nevertheless was unnecessary.

In as much as I can here, I retract my statement above. I wish Mr. Sargent and his wife all the best and hopes for a very enjoyable retirement.

My apologies if my comments were hurtful to anyone.

#15 Dave Johnson
January/27/2010
@ 6:55 pm

An old pal made good! He’ll keep his hand in…Retirement is not an option for Amarillo Ben…

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