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This 'n' That

Having been sports writer, sports editor and sports photographer for nearly 30 years at The Tomahawk, it was important that I take an interest in newspapers and their contents. Even after retirement I still am an avid reader of newspapers. In the daily papers, I especially enjoy the political cartoons those papers contain. Sometimes those cartoons are very insightful and can change our way of thinking. Of course that is often the purpose of the cartoon.
Like negative advertising, there has been an onslaught of negative cartoons to come out of the presidential race. Too, there have been a number of well-drawn cartoons that show sheer genius. Political cartoons use caricature and allusion to impart the intended message and sometimes it takes a little bit of thinking to ascertain what the cartoonist’s message is about. Among the earliest and most important political cartoons in what would become the United States was Benjamin Franklin’s cartoon composed of a snake severed into parts and labeled the different colonies at that time. The caption was “Join or Die.” Of course we remember Thomas Nast’s depiction of Santa Claus in a cartoon which was a precursor of the Jolly ole’ Saint he has developed into. Nast was also the creator of the Republican Party elephant. He also often used the donkey as a symbol of the Democratic Party. Both symbols are widely used today.
As a member of First Christian Church, I was privileged to know fellow members Kirk and Leigh Ann Brink and their daughter, Morgan. Kirk is a pilot for UPS. The family recently relocated to Gray, Tennessee. Before he left Kirk gave me a collection of political cartoons that he had accumulated since he was a teenager. I considered it an honor to receive such a gift and I have perused it with much interest. Perhaps I can start a collection of my own in the near future. A December 1976 cartoon in his collection depicts Uncle Sam being bowled over by a line of rolling barrels with the barrels labeled, “Excessive Oil Imports.” I think that could very well apply to today.
I don’t remember but apparently the price of coffee had skyrocketed when one of the better cartoons was drawn. It shows a man and his wife sitting at the kitchen table. A coffee pot is shown with money coming from it instead of smoke. A newspaper is shown with the headline, “Coffee Prices Up, UP, UP. The caption has the wife saying, “Maybe it would be cheaper if we just brewed money.” That cartoon was published in 1977.
Since gasoline is very expensive these days, another cartoon almost persuades us to want to go back to the “good ole’ days.” It shows a line of gas pumps used as a bar chart showing how the U. S. was doing in gasoline costs. The cartoon is dated January 27, 1977. The largest pump in the chart shows Finland with the highest price for gas at $1.72 per gallon. America was paying only 61 cents per gallon at that time. In between were Spain at $1.56 per gallon, Tokyo at $1.50 per gallon, Rio at $1.43 per gallon, Hong Kong at $1.48 per gallon, West Germany at $1.40 per gallon, Singapore at $1.27, and England at $1.13 per gallon. The cheapest gasoline was in Saudi Arabia but Venezuela came close to Saudi Arabia with 14 cents per gallon. Venezuela was selling it lower than the cost of producing it according to a caption under the cartoon.
While I may never see the Brinks again, I can remember them through the interesting gift of Kirk’s collection of political cartoons. Thank you again Kirk.