Irish cartoonist Martyn Turner e-mailed me to take issue with my screed below:
Interesting, and almost amusing though your blog on Portugal’s world press cartoon contest was, I think it a little misguided to discourage American participation.
This year’s choices may have been a tad more obscure than usual but they can only judge what is in front of them.The organisers, as far as I know, make sure that at least one of the 5 judges every year is from North America. Ann Telnaes and Guy Badeaux have been judges recently and so have I. And I’m not exactly a stranger to American political cartooning. Your pal, buddy, Mexican cartoonist, Angel Boligan, for example has featured in the prize winners more than once. I think he got first the year I was the judge…
The lack of captions in most of the prizes is sort of obvious, aint it..with all those countries and all those languages Visual becomes the lingua franca. One reason why I will never win the thing is that I’m not able to speak Visual. I can barely manage Metaphor……
But having seen the set up in Portugal and having appreciated the dedication and enthusiasm the organisers have for all cartooning, American and otherwise, I think it is something that should be supported. Encourage your fellow Americans to engage with strange foreigners. You never know they may get something out of it and for our part we usually welcome cultural invasions by America, it’s only the military sort that really gets us mad….
The Irish Times
And from a reader …
From: “harley cahen”
Subject: Re: Ugly American?
All the work you do on behalf of cartoonists and cartooning is very important. But your commentary on the WPC contest winner sounded a wrong note. Surely you are not actually proud of being unfamiliar with the original Breughel paintings? Or, for that matter, proud of coming from a nation that finds the top world soccer players to be incomprehensibly obscure?
Not much different than if there was a contest in the USA that picked the bast cartoon in the world as being about baseball – or calling the the World Series “the World Series,” huh?
You make a good point. Europeans could stand to be less parochial, too.