CSotD: Pulitzer the Other One

As DD Degg reports, the Pulitzer Prize folks have awarded a medal to a group of artists and editors who produced a long-form, non-fiction, illustrated report on the suppression of Uyghurs by the Chinese government.

I think that’s a good thing, though I haven’t changed in my general distain for awards. Winning a Pulitzer used to enhance job security, though, in the current catastrophe of journalism, that’s no longer guaranteed. But the publicity can bring your work to a much wider audience, and a check for $15k can pay a debt or two.


However, I have also not changed my general distain for cloth-eared editors who are skilled at spotting typos and grammatical errors but are utterly tone deaf when it comes to nuance, and twice that when nuance is presented in graphic format.


To be honest, the category should, in honor of Thomas Nast, be called “Those Damned Pictures,” because this year’s finalists were

… Friend-of-the-Blog Ann Telnaes and …

… Zoe Si, who has more arrows in her quiver but was honored for her New Yorker cartoons and, I would guess, for her frequent illustrations in that magazine, since I suspect the Pulitzer judges can’t tell the difference.

But, hey, they’re all pictures, and not pictures like photographs, which can be Breaking News Photographs or Feature Photographs, but drawrings which, in the eyes of editors, can be comic books or political cartoons or ceilings of Sistine Chapels or whatever.

Check out the microtome they use to divvy up the awards in Journalism:

Note that they have three different Thumb Sucker Awards for commentary, criticism and editorial writing, and they are also able to spot the difference between “history” and “biography.”

You might think they could differentiate between long-form graphic reporting, political cartooning and humorous cartoons.

You might, but I don’t. I’ve worked with way too many editors over the years.

Fortunately for my own peace of mind, my collection of meaningless state and regional awards is in a box in the closet along with my baby pictures and grade school report cards.

There’s also an international one somewhere, but I never got a copy for myself and, besides, I’m not sure how many entries there were. I have suspicions that wouldn’t impel me to hang the thing on my wall.

Then again, I worked at a paper that was one of three statewide in its circulation category, and they were as proud of their awards as if they’d deserved them.

I drew this up as a gag for my (circulation manager) boss when that newsroom was prancing about slapping themselves on the backs, and I stand by it: People who need awards should get awards and everyone else should just keep taking pride in doing good work.

Clearly, of course, the Pulitzers are big stuff, compared to the virtual participation trophies handed out in the lesser universe.

But, jeez, that sure seems like faint praise.


Speaking of Journalism

(Mike Luckovich)

(Ann Telnaes)

We are suddenly getting a flood of books about how the horse got stolen by people whose job it was to lock the barn door.

I understand that it takes time to edit and publish a book, but there’s a point where you’re a bit more than a witness, as Telnaes observes in her poke at Meadows.

General Hertling provides his opinion on those who hide in their foxholes.


While we get this opinion from a woman whose husband did speak up and so was compelled to retire from the military.

Which expert opinions leave me nothing to add, but there’s also this:

NYTimes reporter Jonathan Martin, co-author of “This Shall Not Pass,” the book that revealed Kevin McCarthy’s damning phone calls, was interviewed on 1A, and Jen White asked him (13:35) why they held the information until their book came out.

His response began “Well, there’s been plenty of that kind of commentary, and I get it. Understandably our craft is not easily understood by people who just sort of see things and make assumptions.”

It went downhill from there in a spiral of condescending horseshit that may well have satisfied those yokels who just sort of see things and make assumptions but damn near made me go off the road.


At which point I’ll insert another funny little thing I did some time ago that seems apt.

It may well be that the pair had an agreement with the Times that they would be paid to investigate but were then permitted to keep the good stuff for themselves, but that’s not how my newsroom jobs ever worked.

Granted, I’ll admit to having brought home a pen or two from the office, but, JFC, I didn’t stagger out with cases of office supplies and put them up on Ebay.

If this isn’t a topic of conversation over at the Gray Lady, it sure oughta be.


Now let’s put the journalist shoe on another foot

I agree with Clay Jones and others who have criticized the heartless idea that women should bring pregnancies to term in order to let other people adopt the babies. Not only does it turn both mothers and children into commodities, but it relies on the assumption that every pregnancy is of a healthy child (and should certainly include a call for universal pre-natal services).


Ed Hall originally labeled the woman in black as Amy Coney Barrett, but erased it when he realized the “domestic supply” quote was not hers.

That’s good journalism, because it doesn’t rob him of the right to criticize the viewpoint, just as Jones puts the phrase in less specific faux-life mouths, though they’re still not the source.

I’d like to see someone put that CDC statistic into perspective, because any shortage of adoptable children is not simply the result of abortion but also of better, more available birth control, as well as better sex education in schools.

All of which the faux-life movement aims to end, which is one helluva story.

Worthy of a Pulitzer, if you need a plaque.

Or you might overhear someone talking about it in the supermarket.

Whatever your motivation, so long as it gets covered.


9 thoughts on “CSotD: Pulitzer the Other One

  1. Ahh yes, the “it’s too complicated for you to understand” excuse. You’re journalists. Shouldn’t you be able to explain it in a way I can understand? Isn’t that kind of what journalists (used to) do?

  2. I heard the beginning of Martin’s reply while driving and had to turn it off.

    The man must have known a question like that would be coming, yet this was the best he could come up with? It’s bad enough to be shown to be a weasel on national radio, but an incompetent weasel has got to be worse.

  3. A cartoonist is someone who writes and draws the material in the production of a cartoon. “Illustrated reporting” is not cartooning…nor is it editorial. I don’t know why the Pulitzers bother having a prize for something they clearly don’t understand.

  4. The desire is for white (or white adjacent) healthy infants. Babies who have not had to come to term, be born and exist in the world with little to no pre- or post-natal care, lack of affordable housing, food deserts, public schools with no funding; a world the people who want those “adoptable infants” have created for everyone else. Otherwise there would not be so many children already looking to be adopted and the tens of thousands in foster care.
    Abortion, better access to birth control, better sex education in schools all have reduced the need for adoption or other similar care (though all of those factors are current targets for elimination). But availability of those things is still a mostly privileged situation, and our adopters looking for a “domestic supply” aren’t interested in unprivileged children.

  5. Remember what a rousing success Prohibition was back in the 1920s/30s? The government passed a law and *shazam!* people suddenly stopped drinking alcoholic beverages. No. Wait a minute. It didn’t work out the way the anti-alcohol folks thought it would. The rich kept drinking safe whisky; the poor drank methanol.

    Some time ago here, I recounted the stories of two (fictional) girls. Fifteen-year-old Mary Alice Sloan (yes, I’m using stereotypes) was raped by a drunken high school student at a party. Having a baby would wreck her high-school career and endanger her chances of getting into Welsley, so her parents, both wealthy, took her to Switzerland for two weeks at a spa. Across town, thirteen-year-old Tawanda Washington has an encounter with the creepy guy next door. Her mother cleans office buildings at night and can’t afford to take her daughter to Disney World, let alone get her an abortion since all the clinics in the state have been shut down. Not to mention that she’d probably get fired if she took time off to look for prenatal care, childcare, nutritional assistance, and all the things pregnant people need.

    Overturning Roe won’t affect people with means, just the poor. And pretty soon we’ll have even more of “those people” needing public assistance. Which of course we can’t afford because reasons and besides people shouldn’t have gotten pregnant if they can’t afford children. I don’t think this is going to work out the way the pro-(unborn)-life faction think it will.

  6. re. >>..the category should, in honor of Thomas Nast, be called “Those Damned Pictures”<< ¶ reminder: Nast's name is now DIS-honored, having been removed in 2018 from The Overseas Press Club's annual award for Best Cartoons (which, personally, still gets my Irish up).

  7. As it happens, I addressed the expunging of Nast’s name a few years back and even used my “Plaques are for Haques” in it.

    I used to tell the kids, “Thomas Nast had hurt my people very much, but that he was undeniably the most brilliant, influential cartoonist in American history as well as a great artist.

    “And that I wish him well, I acknowledge his incredible talent, and that, wherever he is today, I hope he’s nice and warm.”

    Yes, he hated the Irish, but the AOH should get over themselves.


  8. thank you for your reply, Mr. Peterson. and as it happens, i addressed the expunging of Nast’s name – under different circumstances – ten years ago, also writing from an Irish POV.

    and in the ensuing decade, i’ve done a good deal more extensive, in-depth research and i’m now more thoroughly convinced that to simply accuse Nast of *hating the Irish* is grossly oversimplified and most decidedly unfair. in fact, one of my lesson plans in my History of Comics class at Art Center College is titled *Defending Thomas Nast’s Canceled Cartoons*.

    i’m also very proud to’ve been one of Comic-Con’s *Will Eisner Awards* judges who nominated Nast for its Hall of Fame two years ago, and very pleased that he was given that award last year.


  9. Nice piece. He overstepped a few times, but so did everyone in those days. It was a different time and should be judged in context.

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