N.J. Editorial Cartoonist Draws Attention to Cuts By ‘Laying Off’ Thomas Nast

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By: Shawn Moynihan

It?s a fitting message, delivered in the best way an editorial cartoonist knows how.

Surfers of cartoonist Web sites Wednesday may catch a press release sent out by Jimmy Margulies, editorial cartoonist for The Record in Bergen County, N.J., informing readers of a major loss to his profession. The release reads:

?Harper’s Weekly has eliminated the position of Thomas Nast, famed editorial cartoonist, noted for his pursuit of Boss Tweed and Tammany Hall as well as the creation of the Democratic donkey, Republican elephant, Uncle Sam and Santa Claus. Harper’s executives cited a declining economic outlook in the decision. Nast will pen his final cartoon by month’s end.

?Nast had recently turned down a generous financial offer from Boss Tweed to stop drawing “them damned pictures.” Since Harper’s management’s decision to terminate Nast achieved this same result, they announced their intention to seek the financial offer themselves.

?Harper’s pointed to this move as both a smart strategy to bolster its own profitability, as well as a model for the entire print media industry to follow.?

Marguiles told E&P that he was attempting to draw attention to some of the latest real-life losses in the editorial-cartooning world, most notably Steve Greenberg of the Ventura County (Calif.) Star, who will have his job eliminated Nov. 30, as well as Lee Judge of the Kansas City Star.

?I decided to find some way of venting my anger at this turn of events, and I thought the logical thing to have the father of our profession to suffer [the same] plight,? Marguiles explained. ?We?ve been griping among ourselves about this as editorial cartoonists, and since we use satire to make our points, I thought this would be a good way? to get the message across.

Marguiles sent the tongue-in-cheek release to the e-mail list of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists, Alan Gardner?s ?The Daily Cartoonist? Web site, and Michael Cavna?s ?Comic Riffs? blog at washingtonpost.com.

Acknowledging the fact that the joke might be lost on some people, Marguiles joked that he assumed people would get the point ?without needing to be told that this was facetious.?

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