CSotD: Nov III – A New Beginning (you wish)

Tom Toles (Ret.) has left behind a farewell to his readers after 18 years at the Washington Post, which might have called for a special edition of CSotD yesterday except that nearly every cartoonist in America promptly reposted it on Facebook and Twitter, making it pretty hard for comics fans to avoid anyway.


Adam Zyglis (Cagle) followed up with this tribute piece, which is not only a fine piece of graphic imitation, but particularly appropriate given that, when Toles left the Buffalo News after a kabillion years there, it was Zyglis who was hired to replace him.

As he says, Toles will certainly be missed, if only by the Good Guys, though WashPo plans to replace him.

Washington DC is still provincial enough that the local paper swings a heavy bat, and the decisionmakers see what appears in the Post. It was true of Toles, it was true of Herblock, it was true of Art Buchwald and it’s true of Ann Telnaes.

Except that, while Telnaes is strongly influential, most of her work is on-line and I’m not sure the degree to which the old mossbacks even know that series of tubes exists. I’m betting there are more than a few Old Farts in High Places who still have staff print out their email so they can read it.

Toles’ departure provides an opportunity to once more ponder the future of print in particular and political cartooning in general.


As this Matt Davies (AMS) piece suggests, the massive voter turnout this year tells us that Americans want to engage. The question is whether print remains the place to reach them.

Newspaper numbers are down and less because of the Internet than because of unresponsive ownership. It was not so long ago, for instance, that the Denver Post was a doorstop. Now it’s a pamphlet, and that’s true of most newspapers.

Local news still matters and there are plenty of local on-line aggregators out there making a living, though most of them work alone and have few bells and whistles.

But while American papers persist in Not Getting It, over in South Africa, the Daily Maverick is a going concern with a full reporting staff as well as two massively popular national cartoonists — Zapiro and the Madam & Eve team.

It has no print product and, rumor has it, attracted a lot of talent because South Africa’s print paper of record, the Mail & Guardian, wasn’t consistently paying its contributors on time.

Go thou and do likewise.

The first part, that is. Not the failing-to-pay part. We’ve already got that covered.

Now, while we wait for the media revolution that the hedgefunders will never approve, cartoonists should smarten up about social media.

It’s called “social” because it’s supposed to be interactive: Don’t just post your work and run away. Engage with readers. Be there. As Woody Allen (maybe) said, 80% of success is showing up.

Thus endeth the sermon.


Meanwhile, Paul Berge has a nice tribute to Toles with a collection of past work, and, if you missed my similar piece, you can go back and read it now.

His like will not be seen again.


Now here’s Matt Davies again, with a portrait of the parties as we chug along towards Tuesday.

We are in parlous times, and the polls more than suggest that the Republicans need to keep everyone motivated so they’ll show up and vote, while the Democrats have to guard against the overconfidence that kept people home four years ago.

The Democratic Party’s problem, admittedly reminds me of when Notre Dame was consistently in the hunt for the National Championship, and each week, Ara Parseghian would extravagantly praise next Saturday’s victim, making it almost seem like it might be a competitive game, though all logic and probability suggested otherwise.

Given how many people have already voted, participation may be at record levels no matter what is said over the next three days, bringing us to our

Juxtaposition of the Day

(Clay Bennett – Times Free-Press)


(Chip Bok – Creators)

Both cartoonists, coming from different ends of the spectrum, suggest somewhat the same thing, and it stems in large part from the same source: Dear Leader’s frequently expressed opinion that only a fix can prevent his re-election and that he’ll be the one to decide what the results mean.

The defiance is different: Bennett’s stickers boast of having overcome the concerted efforts to keep voting totals down, while Bok’s suggest an unwillingness to accept the final count.

Myself, I have enough faith in local jurisdictions to believe that, while there will be an extraordinary number of challenges to an extraordinary number of mail-in ballots, the rejection rate won’t negate the overall will of the electorate.

Knock wood.


But Dave Granlund (Ind) is almost certainly right. The good news is that it will be hard for the TV teams to declare a victor while polls on the West Coast, Alaska and Hawaii are still open. The bad news is that we’re not going to see the end of this for quite a while.

Lawsuits and recounts aside, we all seem to be looking to Tuesday as the end of the arguing, but there is also the period between Nov 4 and Jan 20 when Dear Leader will still be president, and likely in the role of the wounded bear, far more dangerous than a healthy one.

Now, we shouldn’t forget that, though the president is not inaugurated until the 20th, the new Senate takes office on the third.

But that’s small comfort: We’ve just seen how quickly the Senate can move when properly motivated, and the outgoing Senate may have its own share of wounded bears, whatever the makeup of the new group.

Please remain in your seats with your seatbelts fastened until the plane has come to a full and complete stop at the terminal.

And, jayzuz, watch dem overhead bins, as content may have totally transmogrified.


Meanwhile, eat, drink and be merry with Stephen Collins (Guardian), whose suggestions apply over here as well, even if our ignorance of where the hell Ohio is can’t be as readily excused.

And chin up, eh?


4 thoughts on “CSotD: Nov III – A New Beginning (you wish)

  1. Tom Toles is a great cartoonist, no doubt about it. Sounds like he is retiring out of choice, not one of the many who have been axed as newspapers fade. His last cartoon here is a clssic.

  2. William: Interesting — a weekly edition sounds sensible, and, as it happens, the Salt Lake Tribune is going from daily to weekly. If it does as good a job as the Maverick throughout the week, that might not be a disaster.

    Though I’d add that reading the daily paper is a habit hard to replicate when the paper isn’t there every day. My suspicion is that, if a newspaper becomes a daily on-line habit, the print version will fade.

    I may not be the best judge of any of this, however, since I’m an old dinosaur who still uses a full screen rather than a phone.

  3. Interesting bit about S. African papers. Being of American origin (my ancestors arrived in Virginia in the early 1600s) but having lived and traveled abroad for the past 30 years, it appears to me that the US may be the only nation in which newsprint is a seriously endangered species. Here in Japan, where I’ve spent the last 25 years, one is as likely to see a middle-aged “salary man” reading the morning news as one is to see him reading a manga–Japanese comics, with versions for all ages–on his long train commute.

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