I was not surprised to see the outrage expressed at the award-winning newspaper cartoonist Mike Luckovich last week for one of his controversial cartoons printed in the Lewiston Tribune. He has a history of drawing up some crazy and thought-provoking ideas in full color.
Luckovich is a nationally syndicated editorial cartoonist. He works for a rather liberal paper, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the only major newspaper left in print in the metropolitan Atlanta area. It’s the combination of what used to be two daily newspapers in Atlanta, the Atlanta Journal and the Atlanta Constitution. The parent company is independent, Cox Media Group. It owns one TV station and six radio stations. Back to Luckovich.
Luckovich is a Seattle-born and raised guy. He attended the University of Washington and earned a bachelor’s of arts degree in political science there. He worked for a paper in South Carolina, then Now Orleans before landing in Atlanta, where he has been since 1989.
In a September 2001 interview, Luckovich commented on his style of cartooning and how it changed after the 9/11 Islamist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City:
“Normally with my cartoons I try to use humor to get across my point. After Sept. 11th, you just couldn’t use humor. The tragedy was so enormous, you couldn’t be funny. It’s almost like you have to come up with cartoons using a different part of your brain. I was just trying to come up with images that expressed the emotions that I was feeling and tried to focus in on different aspects of the tragedy that I thought were important.”
Luckovich uses Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and is very proficient in getting his cartoons out nationally and worldwide. Typically, I never look at them or just glance at them. I’m more of a Tundra person.
Nothing is off-limits with Luckovich: President Donald Trump, Slow Joe Biden, the G-8, global warming, Mark Zuckerberg, Saddam Hussein, Star Wars and even the king of pop, Michael Jackson. None are without creating controversy, just like this one did here when his “active shooter” cartoon was published.
Here are a few Facebook comments I found on Luckovich’s Atlanta Journal-Constitution page (https://www.facebook.com/mikeluckovichajc):
l Heidi Noyes-Bourgeois — “This is awful and just helps spread hate and fear. (New Hampshire) wants no part of your twisted sense of humor and obvious bias.”
l Susan Lollis — “What are you implying? Sounds like you are implying the little Black boy has hidden from the cops before. Wow, this is really low.”
l Sherrill Fowler — “Another white person assuming they know all there is to know about being Black. I know. You ‘have friends who are Black.’ ”
l Aine O. Morain — “Another Trump supporter who assume they know, well, anything. Which, like Trump, is nothing.”
l Cyndi Renee Vera — “Shame on you. You’re a disgrace to our city and state. Take your political Hatred where the ‘Sun’ doesn’t shine and then tell us “what it feels like.”
If looking at a cartoon makes us all wiggle in our chairs, close the paper, throw it on the table and feel uncomfortable, Luckovich has earned his pay for the day.
At Glasgow, Mont., in 1967, we were some of the first kids to not have to do nuclear bomb drills under our desks at Irle Elementary. Point being, it used to be nukes. Now it’s police kids get under desks in fear of in 2020? Probably not. In some cities, maybe?
Political cartoons have been around since the mid-1600s and have been being perfected ever since. Are they getting better? Or worse? It’s all in the eye of the beholder or viewer.
Whether it’s a depiction of King George III as a buffoon, Napoleon suffering from Small Man’s syndrome, Orange Man Bad or the king of pop, they are all designed to create thought — and sometimes not such nice thoughts.
We have not seen the worst of them.
In a time all police are under attack for something or another, I thought it was a low blow and blew it off. Then the storm blew in and is still brewing.
In 1754, the great Benjamin Franklin, a publisher in his own right among other great attributes, published the still famous “Join, Or Die” cartoon. It was a snake cut into eight pieces. It depicted eight colonies as opposed to the later total of 13 that went on to form the beginnings of America.
That cartoon is still appropriate today. However, it would be a very long snake chopped into way too many pieces to count or identify.
There is so much to be upset about today in America. How do we bring all the pieces back together?
Read on. Speak out. Tell it like it is.
And vote this November, too.
Sayre of Lewiston served as regional director to former U.S. Sen. Larry Craig. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.