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Take a peek over Jim Borgman's shoulder

Jim Borgman has been the Enquirer's editorial cartoonist since 1976. Borgman has won every major award in his field, including the 1991 Pulitzer Prize, the National Cartoonists Society's Reuben Award for Outstanding Cartoonist of the Year in 1993, and most recently, the Adamson Award in 2005 as International Cartoonist of the Year. His award-winning daily comic strip Zits, co-created with Jerry Scott, chronicles the life of 15-year-old Jeremy Duncan, his family and friends through the glories and challenges of the teenage years. Since debuting in July 1997, Zits has regularly finished #1 in reader comics polls across America and is syndicated in more than 1300 newspapers around the world.

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Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Kathe Kollwitz

I've turned frequently to the drawings and prints of Kathe Kollwitz over the years when trying to express grief in my drawings. Wednesday's drawing (several posts ago, below) was based on this relief of hers I'd not seen called 'Lamentation' but discovered on a Google Image Search.

Mine, of course, is a weak reflection of the raw power of Kollwitz's work, but tries to touch the horror of the story of Cecilia Slaby and her mother. (If you're reading from afar, two-year-old Cecilia was left in a carseat in the back of her mother's SUV all day when temperatures reached 100 degrees here in Cincinnati. The mother, an assistant principal at a local middle school, had broken her normal morning routine of delivering Cecilia to the sitter on her way to work in order to pick up donuts for a school workshop, and then forgotten the sleeping child all day.)

Readers are right in questioning whether the prosecutor, who declined to press charges, would have been so lenient had this been an inner-city minority mother. The story certainly calls us to challenge our biases and stereotypes. And I'm bothered, like others, that the mother never seems to have thought about her child all that day.

But prosecutor Don White made the right call when he said, "She knows that her actions are what caused her child to die, or her lack of attentiveness. She'll live with that. And I can't imagine what I could do as a prosecutor to make it any worse for her."


at 9/5/07, 3:08 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are spot on when saying this is a story that forces us to look at our own prejudices. Espcially in light of the fact that I had assumed it was a inner city story when I read it. I'm probably not the only one either. I hope all of us who did are as ashamed with themselves as I am.

at 9/5/07, 6:11 PM Blogger Steve Willhite said...

You did a great job in capturing the emotion in the sculpture. I'm glad you didn't ink it. The pencil drawing seems more personal in a way.

at 9/6/07, 2:14 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am bothered that she remembered the donuts but forgot the child.

Re-convene the grand jury, and let the facts come out in court. Let a judge impose an appropriate sentence, preferably one that mandates annual fundraiser for abused and neglected children. Maybe a bake sale ???

The New York family whose 2 year old died after family member ran over the child while backing up SUV has raised over $80,000 and constructed a playground in child's memory.

at 9/6/07, 11:03 AM Anonymous Dan said...

Excellent cartoon, and I like the use of pencil.

I struggle with the whole case though. Given the number of times she was warned not to leave the baby in the car seat this summer... When does forgetfulness become negligence?

at 9/19/07, 9:06 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for the explanation. I was not aware of the story (being in upstate NY), and now that I understand the story behind it, I love your cartoon. I remember seeing the cartoon before understanding it and thinking it had to be something thought-provoking and deep, and your explanation showed that I had underestimated you. Bravo, Mr. Borgman. This work is a masterpiece.

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