It's not just the content of political cartoons that can generate heated debate. These days, even their very existence can result in someone suddenly writing in a huff, if not a Huffington.
Back in April, a HuffPost contributor named JASON NOTTE wrote a "list" piece headlined: "Ten Features That Are Dying With Your Newspaper." The thrust of the list was to identify things that the newspaper, when it "finally does breathe its last," will take to the grave. Notte's list included editorial cartoons -- "those witty, insightful, stinging illustrated summaries of current events" -- as well as "The Family Circus."
Not so fast -- and not so arrogant, cartoonist DARYL CAGLE responded Friday, posting on his cartoon blog. Cagle -- who calls Notte's piece "arrogant crap" -- counters that "editorial cartoons have never been more popular," thanks in part to the Web.
Cagle also contends: "We are not seeing a decline in the number of active editorial cartoonists with the losses of full time jobs; just the opposite is happening, there are more now, plugging away as freelancers, scraping a living together from paying and non-paying clients."
There's little argument that full-time newspaper staff positions for political cartoonists will continue to diminish. And it's hard not to acknowledge that political cartoons will populate the Web ever more heavily. There are too many cartoonists who have "too many" opinions for that to ever occur. The key question will simply be: Will anyone not named Mike Luckovich or Michael Ramirez or David Horsey (or a handful of others) make a living by working for a primary media employer?
Political cartoons, of course, will remain as relevant as their best practitioners. And in that vein, we acknowledge recent cartoons addressing the Sotomayor nomination and ask you: Which of these political cartoons is most effective at being provocative?
The polls are now open.
NATE BEELER (cagle.com)
BOB ENGLEHART' (cagle.com)
STEVE KELLEY (cagle.com)
KEVIN SIERS (cagle.com)
JOHN TREVER (cagle.com)