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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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Monday, January 28, 2008

Le Legacy


at 1/28/08, 6:34 PM Anonymous BorgFan said...

Yep, ink just messed up the beautiful pencil lines.

at 1/28/08, 6:50 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

you insult the french....

at 1/28/08, 7:50 PM Blogger EOCostello said...

(If this is a repeat, please accept my apologies, as Blogger ate my comment with an error message.)

The unusual thing about legacies is that they are not instant things, but take a long period of time to grow and develop. Reputations rise and fall, sometimes slowly, occasionally dramatically, which can create interesting situations for cartoonists.

Case #1: Harry Truman. At the time he left office in 1953, Truman was deeply unpopular, in no small measure because of a long, drawn-out and expensive war that people had initially supported but had grown tired of, failing to see the point. However, a half-century after he left the White House, Truman's reputation has grown, as far more perspective has been gained on what he actually did in office. Few remember the assorted scandals of his administration (the IRS, e.g.). But his actions in Korea have stood the test of time.

Case #2: The portrait of Lincoln that Borgman uses, presumably to illustrate a great president, is ironic. During his life, Lincoln was a highly divisive figure, and was savagely attacked in many cartoons, including in the Union. He was also the subject of many mocking cartoons in the European press (see Sir John Tenniel's cartoons in Punch, for example). But again, time (and tragedy) have given a perspective on Lincoln that he did not enjoy in his lifetime.

Cases #3 and #4. Tragedy doesn't always keep a reputation afloat. Harding, for example, was deeply mourned when he died in 1923, but his reputation has greatly suffered over the decades, since little of what he did panned out, weighed against the Teapot Dome scandals and other problems. Kennedy was mourned to a degree not seen since Lincoln, to the point where polls taken around '64 showed far more claimed to have voted for him in 1960 than the close results would have indicated. Yet a balanced view across the years has put Kennedy in the middle to upper middle of the pack, probably where he belongs. His legacy in 2008 looks far different from 1964.

The moral? Be careful in your mockery, Mr. Borgman, lest ye be mocked in turn years hence. A lesson I wonder if Tenniel ever learned.

at 1/28/08, 9:24 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

short on words, big on bombs

at 1/28/08, 9:24 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

good art

at 1/28/08, 9:27 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

State of the Union

Live: State of the Union
President Bush lays out his vision as he delivers his final State of the Union address. » Watch it live

too bad i missed all the other war speeches (can we get to the economy after 8 years????)

at 1/28/08, 10:56 PM Anonymous Weekly Cartoonist said...

It is true legacies are not instant things and I truly feel that Bush will be viewed differently as the years pass. He is viewed as a failure now, but with historical perspective I have no doubt that he will be viewed as a criminally inane national and international disaster.

at 1/29/08, 10:34 AM Blogger Jim Borgman said...

Thanks for a thoughtful comment, EOCostello. I've looked at those savage caricatures of Lincoln from his contemporaries through the historical prism you're talking about and squirmed, too.

But a daily cartoonist doesn't have an academician's luxury of time. Would you have us postpone comment until history has sifted the sand? These cartoons are for the living, wrestling with the issues of our time.

at 1/29/08, 12:59 PM Anonymous Dan said...

Bush trying to buy a seat at Le Legacy with fake money. Now that's a good one!

I think he really should have been trying to buy the seat with the blood of American soldiers. He's built his whole presidency around beginning and continuing a useless war, but hasn't paid one penny or drop of the price with his own money or blood.

at 1/29/08, 3:01 PM Anonymous less than a year left said...

to be fair, it was bush who believes his legacy will be similar to lincoln. this was detailed in a faux news special about bush and his legacy.

at 1/29/08, 3:41 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

the french were the only ones against the war; they should make him wash dishes

at 1/29/08, 4:39 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

bush's definition of budget: a day late and a dollar short

wonder what his defninition of 'good' is

at 1/30/08, 5:52 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

i like this artistically

at 1/30/08, 9:06 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

does bush know what a euro is? does he care? this is classic

at 1/30/08, 9:16 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

you captured bush's unearned arrogance and france's disdain, and france's stature and class (intelligence, too?)

at 1/30/08, 10:46 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

i admire the french for being able to so naturally and astutely being able to express their disgust with such class (they don't need bombs); old chinese proverb: one look is worth 10,000 words

at 2/1/08, 3:49 AM Anonymous Unmitigated de Gaulle said...

Borgmann and sheep Vichy French !!
Surrender already !

at 2/1/08, 9:33 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

didn't tom cruise blow up a restaurant window in MISSION IMPOSSIBLE????? that's bush's "economy"

at 2/1/08, 3:18 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Last Updated: 2:52 pm | Friday, February 1, 2008
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at 2/4/08, 12:19 PM Anonymous Borgmans_an_Idiot said...

Most of the posters, like Borgman himself, badly missed the point. (I've come to expect that from Borgman on all national issues). Bush doesn't worry about his legacy, as he understands that it is for history to decide. As such, he does what he knows to be right. Because of that he will likely be seen as a man who understood the importance of establishing a democracy among radical Islamists, but was to an extent sabotaged by the irrational hatred of the democrats. Bill Clinton, on the other hand, was so concerned about his legacy that he likely didn't go to the bathroom without taking a poll first. And as it turns out, his legacy was to leave in place an international terrorist organization when he had the opportunity to chop off its head. Clinton would not have used fake money to buy his seat at the restaurant, he would just have raised taxes and used our money.

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