MARY REICHARD, HOST: Today is Thursday, November 22nd. Happy Thanksgiving! This is The World and Everything in It from member-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.
NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher. Next up, Cal Thomas remembers a great American political cartoonist.
CAL THOMAS, COMMENTATOR: Google “Great American Political Cartoonists” and you will undoubtedly find the late Herbert Block of The Washington Post, (Paul) Conrad of the Los Angeles Times, Michael Ramirez of the Las Vegas Review-Journal and several other cartoonists whose work, if not their names, are familiar to newspaper readers.
One name that will take more than a cursory search to find is Wayne Stayskal, for many years a cartoonist for the Chicago Tribune. He later worked for the Tampa Tribune and was syndicated worldwide. Wayne passed away Tuesday morning. He was 87.
The most likely reason his name is not among the “famous” is that he was a political conservative and a serious churchman. Both his political and religious views often permeated his work and that rubbed some in the growing secular progressive establishment the wrong way.
Wayne and I used to have a friendly debate about who had the more difficult task. I thought he did because he had to squeeze a single thought into a small square, complete with a drawing and caption. I get up to 700 words to make my case.
Wayne had a biting wit and sense of irony in his work. One of my favorite cartoons of his graced the cover of a book we collaborated on in 1985. The book was called Liberals for Lunch. The cartoon portrayed three pilgrims who had just landed at Plymouth Rock. They were praying when a police officer shows up and says, “Hey, no praying here … this is a public beach.”
Another with a similar theme shows a teacher assigning roles to students for a Christmas pageant. The teacher asks, “Now who is going to play the ACLU lawyer who tries to shut us down?”
Like me, Wayne kept what we call our “hate mail” in a special place. His son, Dan, emailed me that Wayne had a folder in his drawer full of all the hate mail he received. Dan said he thought it, quote—”reinforced the fact that he was doing something right.”
Though his work was seen around the world, Wayne remained humble to the end. He never won a Pulitzer Prize, but as a committed Christian he believed a greater reward awaited him.
For WORLD Radio, I’m Cal Thomas.