Sunday, December 31, 2006

steve sack and a pretty-much-free press

my favorite year in review stories are those showcasing the local paper's political cartoonist. maybe that's because the best cartoons always strike me as inherently sociological -- putting big concepts into play around a particular case. as today's story makes clear, my minneapolis strib is fortunate indeed to get regular images from steve sack.

op-eds are great, of course, but there's a magical whoa! moment when a fine cartoonist nails a complex set of ideas in a single image. the conceptual weight of such pictures can make the accompanying editorial seem ridiculously oversimplified by comparison. would a windy sociological essay on the meaning of civilization and its incompatibility with torture pack the same punch as the cartoon above?

i treasure my daily encounters with such powerful material over strong coffee and wheaties. too often, i suppose, we take these first amendment moments for granted. as cartoonists found themselves at the center of intense religious conflict this year, i was glad to see that few seemed to shrink from the controversy. if you agree, you might browse daryl cagle's rich archive of political cartoons, including many by mr. sack. did any cartoons move you this year?

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