The wrong Bozos keep getting kicked off the bus

Here’s a golden oldie, from my short stint at The Arizona Daily Star. I didn’t stick around to get the sack; I shot out of that place like a rat out of an aqueduct.

As long as we have a cartoon president, how ’bout drawing him up a cartoon Wall®?

We have the technology. Also, the manpower. Newspapers are shitcanning Pulitzer-winners right, left, and center, among them Steve Benson, who was the editorial cartoonist at the Arizona Republic back in 1980, when I scribbled the occasional ’toon for The Arizona Daily Star.

This is nothing new, of course. A J-school prof warned me in the Seventies that there were maybe a thousand editorial cartoonists, tops, and that I might consider expanding my portfolio a tad. This was excellent advice. Because their numbers kept shrinking like a spider on a hotplate, to hundreds and finally dozens.

It was nearly impossible to even make a start Back in the Day® because what few cartoonists there were could be had for chump change via syndication. So the editor of the Frog Dick (S.C.) Daily Lily Pad & Croaker could have Pat Oliphant every day for the price of a tepid cup of Maxwell House at Lulu’s Lunch Bucket.

I still got to draw cartoons, as you know. But I did it as a reporter, as a copy editor, as an assistant feature editor, and like that there. On the side. Onliest time I ever got hired as an honest-to-God cartoonist was when that Boulder-based journal of competitive cycling decided I was too dim to be their managing editor but funny enough to scribble gags about fat masters, dope fiends, and Suits.

In a few short years there won’t be any of us. Robots will be drawing all the cartoons. And you won’t get any of the jokes, because they will be by robots, for robots.

“Ha ha,” they will say. “That’s very logical.”

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19 Responses to “The wrong Bozos keep getting kicked off the bus”

  1. Pat O'Brien Says:

    Makes me wonder when Fitzsimmons will retire or get the boot. He also had something to say about Benson’s sacking.

    https://tucson.com/opinion/local/fitz-another-editorial-cartoonist-bites-the-dust/article_8c4bd495-cdd3-5adf-b18c-0089450e6065.html

  2. khal spencer Says:

    That’s a nice cartoon. I think the current administration is a soft target rich environment, if you get the hint.

  3. larryatcycleitalia Says:

    Does make ya wonder – is the culture just too polarized these daze for editorial cartooning? Too PC?
    Meanwhile, for some xmas came one month late this time around with Santa handing out the arrest of Roger Stone and the “Cave, not Wall” of Fat Nixon both on the same day! Happy New Year!

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Aw, it’s just that the vulture capitalists who own the papers are stripping the meat off their bones, and then selling the bones. Staff cuts, taking dailies down to five-day or weekly publication, consolidating copy editing for a hundred papers in one central location, you name it.

      This has all been going on since I got into the biz back in 1974, and it’s only been accelerating. The daily editorial cartoonist was the equivalent of a flower vase on a 1912 Rambler Knickerbocker. It sure was fun while it lasted, though.

  4. David Rees Says:

    Ah, Pat Oliphant – boy do I miss his work. Also, from “back in the daze”, Ron Cobb. A darker cartoonist you will not find.

  5. JD Dallager Says:

    OK you futurists out there. From what I understand, first world nations are concerned about their declining birthrates (the US being one) and robotics/AI are forecast to replace human jobs in the next 20 years in the US at an unprecedented rate. So….. what’s the problem?

    To wit: Less humans….more robots/AI. Greater productivity, fewer mouths to feed. Less healthcare requirements. Etc.

    Today’s demographics are tomorrow’s future. Eh?

    BUT, will those robots/AI pay taxes? Should they? Why? Why not?

    Will they pay for infrastructure upkeep? Should they? Why? Why not?

    How about healthcare? Education costs? Voting? Etc.?

    The Brave New World we are entering has some incredible public policy/ethics/morality/legal/etc. issues that I hope someone is starting to address.

    Sorta makes the three week temporary ops of the US government for a $5B “border wall” (out of a current proposed federal budget of $4.4 TRILLION) look picayune, eh? 🙂

    Think strategically……unless you need to get re-elected.

    And I don’t!! 🙂

    • Pat O'Brien Says:

      Seems to me that the US has 11 to 13 million potential taxpaying citizens already in the country. That should help pay the boomers mounting Social Security and Medicare tabs. All we have to do is invite them to join the party. I haven’t seen any AI yet that can roof a house or plunge a toilet. There JD, problem solved until about 2036 when the planet cooks up to a nice medium well done.

      • JD Dallager Says:

        Pat: I like the way you think! Please run for office…..you’ve got my vote! 🙂

      • larryatcycleitalia Says:

        Aren’t most of those people paying taxes – as in various amounts being taken from their paychecks and put into various accounts (social security, etc.) from which they will NEVER get a dime? Big-Ag and the other bigs don’t want these folks legitimized in any way since that might mean they get paid more.
        Don the Con uses his “crisis” rhetoric to gin up fears in the old white folks to support these policies despite the reality that there is no crisis and the USA actually (as always) needs these immigrants in the labor force.
        Same s–t here in Italy: our interior minister works to keep immigrants fished out of the sea from landing on Italian shores while various mayors of small towns all over Italy offer free housing to anyone who will come and populate their dying towns, especially if they’ll squeeze out a few kids while they’re there.
        You know what my wife says…….

        • Pat O'Brien Says:

          The Professor shoots, and she scores again!
          And, you are right Larry. Last time I checked, over a year ago, they were putting about $12B a year into Social Security plus the indirect taxes they pay like sales and property taxes.

        • Patrick O'Grady Says:

          Here’s a 2016 story from The Atlantic on this very topic.

        • Steve O Says:

          That’s the secret sauce of Immigration reform. Open secret that the anti-immigration folks actually gain more with more illegal immigration, which is why they prefer it to reform. Extra under the table workers weaken unions, help small businesses, and create a political boogie man that helps the GOP platform. Build a moat, fill it with laser-armed sharks, and then you have all kinds of new problems if you’re a rethuglican.

          • Steve O Says:

            And if I wear Pelosi, instead of fighting on the wall, I’d up the ante. Not a wall, a moat, with archers and trebuchets on our side. $15B min, and all of it coming from the pentagon’s budget. Fight silly with ridiculous.

          • Patrick O'Grady Says:

            Anybody who watches “Game of Thrones” knows a Wall® is no defense. All a fella needs to render that one moot is a zombie dragon.

            Just think of it: Squadrons of habanero-fueled zombie dragons flying low-and-slow air support for the 666th Xipe Totec Regiment. Fairly makes your skin crawl, it does.

            “Oye, primo, that ain’t no Wall®, that’s a speed bump.”

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