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PANEL DISCUSSION

Drawing Friendly Fire

August 29, 2004|Joel Pett | Joel Pett is the Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist of the Lexington Herald-Leader. His work also appears in USA Today.

Cartooning isn't exactly front-line duty. But while the corner-office brass wage corporate warfare, bag bonuses and expound on which of us is expendable, cartoonists fire away, take the flak and protect our territory. We're no heroes, but we try to fight the good fight. Some days, we draw strength from strong drawing. On others, we get bogged down in crosshatch crossfire. Occasionally the unthinkable happens, and one of our best and brightest ideas is killed. Through it all, we endure the fear that our pens aren't mightier than the sordid political quagmire we face.

But can cartoonists' war stories be believed? Do we deserve our decorations? Hardly. Truth is the first casualty of warped senses of humor. That's why I'm setting the record straight. Oliphant? Sure, I know him. He goes on loftily about civil liberties, but he's no real American. Down underneath, he's Australian. Tom Toles can push gay rights, but can he draw a straight line? And Steve Sack trashes the GOP, but would he watch your back in a food fight? That leaves Mike Smith. He's quick to point the finger at Rummy ... but what's he hiding behind that obvious alias?

Believe me, they're unbelievable. I know these guys. We all serve in the same small craft.

I'm Joel Pett, and I approve this message.

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