Ted Rall scolds Time Magazine for their Top 10 cartoons.

OOh, great dustup on Time Magazine’s list of Best Editorial Cartoons of 2008!

You’ll have to decide for yourself if they made the right decision, and if these cartoons are the BEST. My opinion? (taking into consideration I only started to read editorial cartoons 9 months ago.) I didn’t understand 2 of them. One is terrible, not even a cartoon, and is only self-promotion by Time. The Oz one is a nice drawing.

Anyway, Ted Rall thinks the editors there suck. Ted is a well known syndicated political cartoonist, radio guy, and no doubt creator of other things I don’t know about. He is also editor at a syndicate (don’t know which one) and president of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists. He got mad at Time’s lame editorial picks, and let them have it! Daily Cartoonist published his letter in full, and here is an excerpt:

Your list of the Top 10 Editorial Cartoons of 2008 is an insult to editorial cartoonists, many of whom are losing their jobs to the economic downturn in the newspaper industry. In 2008 hundreds of brilliant political cartoonists produced thousands of hard-hitting, thought-provoking and hilarious cartoons about everything from the flash in the pan that was Sarah Palin to the rise of Barack Obama, and all you could come up with was this phoned-in crap?

More at the link! Well, when has a cartoonist ever kept his mouth shut when he sees bad work? Not I. One bad cartoonist spoils the place for everyone.

Some of the comments at Daily Cartoonist:

  • So much for not directly insulting the cartoonists involved ;) That said, bravo. Particularly enjoyed the ‘clean and sober’ slice. Time magazine has become as relevant and useful as an ’80s cocaine binge.
  • Wow.     This was already mailed, right?      Well, in that case … um … wow.
  • I’m in agreement with Ken. This wasn’t a well thought out letter. I agree with the sentiments but this is not how you persuade people. As much as I hate using tact, it is necessary. Bad move.

As Ted himself says in the comments, he’s tried tact. I agree with Ted, sometimes editors need the truth that can only come from a writer or cartoonist. I don’t know about Time specifically, but I’ve come across many many editors who have NO experience in cartoons, let alone art. Maybe not coincidentally, they have no idea what humor is. They just look at the pretty pictures. (To be fair to the publications, the job of cartoon editor is sometimes given to the newest, lowest name on the masthead. Because the higher-ups don’t understand cartoons either, I guess. Too bad, when good cartoons can be used to express a point of view, or vision of the magazine that an editor herself cannot say, or dare not say, on the Editor’s Page.)

I found this contretemps through Daryl Cagle on Facebook, clever editor of 4 (four) different websites on editorial cartoons, and his own syndicate. He linked to The Daily Cartoonist and thanks to them for printing Ted Rall’s  letter and the scoop on this.

Was Ted right? ARE these the best 10 cartoons you’ve seen this year?