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TIME'S TOP TEN

This year, Time magazine, having sat on the sidelines for years, watching Newsweek get all the laughs, joined the year-end frolic, offering its pick of the year’s editoons in one of its several online “top ten” features. This selection, which can be viewed here, is even more disastrously trivial and inconsequential than Newsweek’s crop. The cartoonists — R.J. Matson, Daryl Cagle, and Mike Peters (with two each), plus John Sherffius, Bob Englehart, Gary Clement (Canadian), and Mike Thompson — all do superior work — not a slouch among them — but Time has selected from their year’s endeavors cartoons that focus on topics that are of very little consequence. Englehart’s cartoon, for example, is about senior sex: in the first of two panels, a reporter asks an elderly couple what they think of a survey that shows senior citizens are having sex two or three times a month; in the second panel, the old guy says, “That’s all?” This is one of the Top Ten editoons of the year? Anyone even vaguely aware of the mechanisms of comedy realizes this “joke” employs one of the oldest dodges in the business; its very antiquity ought to disqualify it as a candidate for the Top Ten Editorial Cartoons. But Time’s editors are clearly clueless about comedy. The other nine topics: candidate Fred Thompson’s inability to make a good stump speech attributed to the writers’ strike, toxic toys from China, Senator Craig’s gaiety, Barry Bond’s asterisked homerun record, Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s visit to the U.S., Obama and Cheney related, Jerry Falwell encountering evidence of gay life in heaven, and the Virginia Tech slayings. Only the last is a very serious matter. We may conclude from this that in Time’s view, cartoons deal only with insignificant albeit funny issues and cannot, therefore, be serious journalism. But then, I don’t take Time seriously anymore either.

For my selection of “some of the best editorial cartoons of 2007,” visit www.RCHarvey.com Opus 217.

For more Rants & Raves with its comics news and reviews, gossip and cartooning lore, visit www.RCHarvey.com

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