Keynote Speaker Friday Joel Pett

Pulitzer Prize winner, cartoonist.

Introduction: the most serious funnyman.

“I like losers, actually, I sort of relate to losers.” – most cartoonists are losers who just got lucky. “It’s great, it’s very good therapy. There’s no telling what I would be without this therapy.”
Got paid to teach a class he flunked at Indiana University.

Political cartoons, along with stand-up comedy, are one of the purest forms of free speech.

Every couple weeks, somebody gets the axe. The people who run journalism now are not journalists, they’re businessmen. They’re more concerned with numbers than the readers.

Are we still a democracy, then? That probably sounds a little cynical.

The fact that half the readers hate the cartoonist—that’s just a fact at every paper.

“Half the people in Lexington hate me because I’m a socialist, like Obama.”

If you went back to putting the cartoons back on page 1, there would be a resurgence. People like snarky attitudes. Opinion journalism is effective—look at Jon Stewart.

He thinks we are the most self-absorbed country in the world. “But you are going to change all this, somehow. Somebody’s going to hire you.” “I realize you have bills to pay, but shlep those off on your parents (laughter). Get a free internship if you have to.”

No one wants to create anything for you. You have to create it yourself.

Drawing Ronald Reagan, speaks as Reagan. The voice sounds like Mr. Burns.

What made Reagan Reagan for cartoonists is that he had the pompadour character thing. And after a while, you could put it on anything, even a fruit or vegetable. Of course, he didn’t do this when Reagan actually looked like that. (oohhhs and applause. Burn.)

The magic in this Reagan cartoon is that there’s no real logic in it: it either works or it doesn’t.

“I’m so pro-choice now, I want to be the one who chooses. I want to walk through Wal-Mart and just pick.”

“Any idiot with enough caffeine can think of something like this. The publisher decides whether it’s too much.”

He held his ground and said, “If you’re going to have a cartoonist, you have to do things like this.”

He gets fairly regular, interesting and antagonistic mail. One he gets the most is, “You don’t deserve to live in this country.” He always responds: “No, I love this country. Anywhere else, you don’t get to do this.”

The national caricature of George Bush was not created by cartoonists—it was created by Dana Carvey.

He hopes people are disrespectful of authority.

Bill Clinton drawing: a tip for people who are going to get themselves into sexual trouble is get yourself a tie that matches your story.

He puts a beret on Clinton, adds a mustache and angry eyebrows: Saddam Hussein.

GWB: he has a combination of a scowl and a smile, almost no head.

Obama: I’m really angry at him for not solving 50 years of problems in a year and a half.

Voting is the minimum in a democracy. “What’s really important is that people educate themselves enough that they vote intelligently.” He’s upset people aren’t voting now, especially young people.

“When it comes time for questions, you can ask me anything. I don’t care. I’ve already been paid.”

Back to cartoons:

“There’s a lot of funny stuff in the paper, but it’s usually mistakes.” Hed: “Suspect in bombings described as troubled.” Hed: “Clinton trial: Outcome is not guaranteed.” Lotto number corrections, “I love thinking about the person who thought for 24 hours they’d won the lottery.” A typo on the book page, “where the smart readers go.” A photo of a child with a runny nose.

Political cartoons are only funny if you agree with them.

He made one: “Maybe there’s the same amount of shooting going on, they’re just getting more effective.” That is rude, tasteless; but it’s funny, he says.

Are women ready for Hillary?: “I think women should run everything for 200 years. We’ve tried, we’re screw-ups. We haven’t even gotten food, clothes and shelter down.”

More cartoons are shown.

“We need a whole new definition of “the economy.” “When anyone says it’s good for the economy, run.”

When you fill up your car, pick one, labeled instead of 87, 89, 93: oil spill, climate change, war.

“If you are a suicide bomber, you’re going to have sex with 72 virgins? Have you ever had sex with one virgin?…This is not heaven…72 divorcees, I’d blow something up for that.”

Free speech organizations should be able to take it as well as dish it out, so he makes fun of his own paper. They play up basketball on the front whenever they can.

–jack

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