Podcast: Cartoon Character

Virtual Memories – season 3 episode 6
Matt Wuerker – Cartoon Character

“Political cartoonists have it easy: we turn on the TV or computer and Sarah Palin has said some inane thing . . . and the cartoons can write themselves. In the world of cartooning, we’re the lazy bastards.”

Matt Wuerker, winner of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartooning, joins The Virtual Memories Show to talk about his career (including his fascinating non-comics work and his prescient move to the online world with POLITICO), the experience of winning “the Academy Award for cartoonists”, his artistic and political influences, what it takes to get on the NRA’s Enemies List, the opportunities for editorial cartoonists in a post-print world, how his parents felt about his decision to become a cartoonist, whether he had it easier during the Bush/Cheney era or the Tea Party era, and why he thinks the golden age of cartooning is still ahead of us!

“One of the great cosmic quandaries for cartoonists is that what’s bad for the world is great for cartooning.”

Matt Wuerker on The Virtual Memories Show

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About our Guest

Matt Wuerker has been POLITICO’s editorial cartoonist and illustrator since its launch in 2007. In 2012, he won the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartooning, POLITICO’s first Pulitzer win. In 2009, he was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in editorial cartooning. Over the past 25 years, his work has appeared in publications ranging from The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times and The New York Times to Smithsonian and the Nation, among many others. Along the way, he’s also pursued other artistic tangents that have included claymation, outdoor murals, teaching cartooning in prison (as a visitor, not as an inmate), book illustration and animating music videos. Matt thinks Saul Steinberg is a cartoon god and the Peter Principle explains pretty much everything, and he also thinks the maxim “If you’re not confused, you’re just not thinking clearly” is one of the wisest things ever said. Matt lives in Washington, D.C., in close proximity to the National Zoo and the Swiss Embassy. Depending how bad things get, he hopes to find asylum in one or the other.

Credits: This episode’s music is Nobody’s Home by Ulrich Schnauss. The conversation was recorded at the Hay-Adams Hotel in Washington, D.C., on a pair of AT2020 mics, feeding into a Zoom H4n recorder. I recorded the other material on a Samson Meteor Mic USB Studio Microphone into Audacity. All editing and processing was done in Garage Band.

What It Is: 7/21/08

What I’m reading: Against the Gods, and Bottomless Belly Button

What I’m listening to: Court and Spark, by Joni Mitchell, and Hearts and Bones, by Paul Simon

What I’m watching: Dazed and Confused, and Sunshine (not the 87-hour Ralph Fiennes movie of the same title)

What I’m drinking: Rogue Dead Guy Ale

Where I’m going: A mini-class reunion in Philadelphia next Thursday night, allegedly. I write, “allegedly,” because it’s taking place a hipster bowling alley, and I know of only one other attendee. I thought about using my frequent-flyer miles to take a 30-hour Fri-Sat round trip to San Diego for the Comic-Con, but decided against it, in favor of hitting my company picnic on Friday and trying to have another quiet weekend like this past one.

What I’m happy about: A new Paul Weller album comes out tomorrow, and so does the DVD of Spaced!

What I’m sad about: My dad almost destroyed his car by getting gas from one of those discount stations. On the plus side, he saved 8 cents per gallon, which would add up to a whole dollar in savings, based on the fuel tank in my car.

What I’m pondering: Why Roche had to go and bid for the remaining shares of Genentech about a day or so before my Top Companies issue comes out, in which I praise Roche for leaving Genentech independent. (I realize the integration is more about back-office functions, while letting the R&D functions stand on their own, but that trick never works.)