Matt Bors
Comics, Politics & Ridicule

Bors Blog

There's a flip side to editors approving clumsy, offensive cartoons and illustrations that rile millions and spark riots: killing good art out of timidity. Or a paranoid Freudian mind that sees deviousness in the inked line.

Alternet has posted some illustrations from the book All The Art That’s Fit to Print (And Some That Wasn’t) which is a collection of New York Times Op-Ed art. Obviously some highly-charged offensive stereotypes were killed by wise editors, right? Well, if you consider sweat beads on Bush's forehead as he contemplates the results of the 2000 election offensive, then you must be relieved. While providing a glimpse into some great art we wouldn't otherwise see, it also baffles the mind to read what editors perceive in these things.

Take the rather innocuous and cartoony drawing of Bill Clinton by Robert Grossman that former Times Executive Editor Howell Raines killed because “It's a nasty caricature of a sitting president." My favorite is the light bulb with a copyright symbol on it for--get this--an article about copyrights! Again, Raines swooped in to squash it. The reason? "We can't publish a bare breast and a nipple!"

Get this man some help!

To me, killed cartoons and caricatures should make your jaw hit the floor, eyes pop out of your skull and maybe, just maybe, get you to understand why an editor passed on it. You should marvel at the size of the artist's balls or ovaries and wish you lived in a world where such hard-hitting commentary was published.

For instance, this Jeff Danziger cartoon was being happily passed around amongst us cartoonists near inauguration day but was rejected by his syndicate, never to be seen in print or by any web client. It becomes immediately clear why this was rejected. But too often you're left scratching your head and looking at a light bulb an editor said was a tit.

Related: Maybe the most offensive image I ever submitted to a client.
03.09.2009 |


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