Globe Cartoonist Visits

On March 8, Colby parent Dan Wasserman P’16, the editorial cartoonist for the Boston Globe, came to campus to discuss his cartoons from current and past election cycles, the role that satire and cartoons play in a democracy, and conflicts with his editors, readers and publishers. His visit was sponsored by the Goldfarb Center for public affairs and civic engagement.  Students, faculty, and local residents filled the room, excited to hear from one of the premier cartoonists in the country. Several members of the men’s lacrosse team were also in attendance, as Wasserman’s son, is on the team.

Wasserman has been drawing editorial cartoons since 1980 and has been with the Boston Globe since 1985. His cartoons have been reprinted in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, the Week and Time Mag.  His work is also syndicated in 40 papers, even internationally in Latin America and Europe.  He has published two cartoon collections, We’ve Been Framed and Paper Cuts.

He told the attendees how important he believes satire to be in democracy, especially in the 2016 election cycle. Several of the cartoons Wasserman showed were of Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, Jeb Bush, and Donald Trump. Many cartoons were about “the Donald”, with one of the audiences’ favorites being Trump mistaking a scarf wearing citizen in New Hampshire primary as a Muslim and shouting “Deport her!”

Most of the work he displayed and discussed was political, but a recent cartoon about Tom Brady’s “Deflate-gate” was met with laughter. The cartoon depicted a man voicing his dismay over Brady’s four game suspension at the breakfast table, and his wife responding that “if he deflated the footballs by punching them in an elevator, it would only be two.” This is a reference to Ray Rice’s initial two game suspension after being caught on video assaulting his wife and then dragging her unconscious body out of an elevator, and Commissioner Roger Goodell and the NFL’s lack of consistent punishments for players.

Wasserman was an engaging and amusing presenter. One of the best moments of the talk was him reading the letters of criticism and backlash he has received through his years at the Globe, which ranged from rude to insane.

Another highlight of the talk was his showing a letter he received from a member of the Clinton Administration that was sent to several cartoonists at large papers, explaining how much they enjoyed and appreciated the various cartoons printed in newspapers throughout the country. They asked to have all cartoonists across the country submit their cartoons of President Clinton to the White House, so a staff member would compile them in a folder and present them to the president and other members of his staff for their entertainment.

Alison Zak ’18 told the Echo, “I thought he was really good at articulating themes that everyone could relate to. It fits with his job, he has to be able to present information in a immediately recognizable answer and I thought his presentation was really demonstrative of his skill and investment in politics.”

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