Holding out for a hero – Mar 13, 2011

from the Lincoln Journal Star

fire fighter police officer public employee unions

Regular readers of this blog will recognize this cartoon as a salvaged reject from January, but this topic seems to be getting only more newsworthy since I first submitted it.

A very poignant illustration (no pun intended) of the hypocrisy of public-servant hero-worship paired with public-union demagoguery was a recent run of cartoons from Omaha World-Herald cartoonist Jeff Koterba. I won’t post his cartoons here so that he doesn’t threaten to sue me again, but I’ll do my best to describe and link to them.

Koterba drew a cartoon of Tuscon shooting victim Christina Green meeting 9/11 first responders in Heaven, as he writes about (and posts the cartoon) on his blog:

When I learned that Christina Taylor Green had been born on September 11, 2001, I couldn’t help but think of those heroic firemen who lost their lives that day. The idea came so quickly I worried that maybe it wasn’t good enough to publish. But sometimes the ones that come quickly and without notice are the best ones.

Then on March 1, Koterba hopped on the public-employee-bashing bandwagon with this cartoon (from Omaha.com), which shows the lazy, fat person – labeled “public worker” – holding a “Don’t touch my pension!” sign, crushing the lean figure labeled “taxpayer.”

Twitter user @jikolaofomaha tweeted

I feel like @jeffreykoterba’s cartoon would be more accurate if the big guy was labeled “CEOs” & the little guy was labeled “The Rest of Us”

To which Koterba responded

@JikolaOfOmaha Ha! But that’s really a completely different issue. CEOs aren’t breaking state and city budgets.

I chimed in with

If you don’t count corp tax breaks, TIF and other multi-million $ handouts. MT @jeffreykoterba: CEOs aren’t breaking state and city budgets

and then added

attn @jeffreykoterba @jikolaofomaha RT @ezraklein What you need to know about state pension systems: http://wapo.st/h6k4jm.

I didn’t get a response.

So then to address the hypocrisy, I made this, which I promise you is protected under fair use as parody.

As if the March 1 cartoon never happened, World-Herald executive editor Mike Reilly wrote a March 6 column in the paper about Koterba’s thoughtful treatment of our nation’s heroes.

While his cartoons are frequently funny, biting commentary, his pen can be as poignant as it is pointed.

“It’s important to not always be criticizing,” Koterba said. “Sometimes it’s better to just reflect, to capture the emotions we all are feeling.”

Yeah, but I think it helps when the people you’re praising aren’t the same people you’re shredding based on thoughtless, half-true (at best) conventional wisdom the next day.

UPDATE: While on the topic of Koterba-mythologizing, it appears that he edits his own Wikipedia page, which, unsurprisingly, is strongly discouraged by Wikipedia.

3 Responses to Holding out for a hero – Mar 13, 2011

  1. Nick says:

    Enjoyed this greatly and added the site to my RSS reader. Thanks for poking back at Mr. Koterba, a cartoonist that has always irked me.

  2. RC says:

    Koterba’s sanctimonious cartoons are a continual annoyance on the OWH editorial page. It’s really funny to see him describe himself on his wiki page (quite the ego to be messing with you wiki entry!) as a “centrist”. Most of his output is knee-jerk conservative crap; perhaps 1 in 10 could generously be described as “centrist”.

  3. theotherneill says:

    Love it when a rejected cartoon makes it out of the land of misfit toys…er, cartoons. Love it even more that there’s all this backstory involved.

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