“What is this this called political cartooning?”

Once again I’m the only Wellington cartoonist to bother turning up to a NZ Cartoon Archive event. This talk by expat cartoonist Alan Moir was co-hosted by the Dominion Post, and things turned unpleasant for me even before it started. Everyone was being photographed for some sort of social pages thing, and the photographer recognised me and refused to take my picture because I was “the competition”. Well, lah-di-fuckity-do.

The talk was a bit hurried. It was originally written for Australian politicians, and instead of adapting it for this audience, Moir just skipped over the Australian bits, which was a shame because they were the bits I didn’t already know. He only got up to WWII, as well.

I was sitting a few rows away from the editor of the Dominion Post, but I didn’t find the nerve to talk to her. I was still seething over the speech she gave at the beginning. She assured us this was a “golden age of New Zealand political cartooning”, and her readers still loved cartoons because Munro received more mail than Tom Scott. There’s a reason for that – Munro, the cat cartoon on the crossword page, is charming. Tom Scott has maintained the high quality of his draftsmanship, and still has sporadic flashes of his ’80s brilliance, but otherwise hasn’t had anything interesting to say for the past twenty years.

Moir is a big fan of Ronald Searle, so he was interested afterwards when I told him about the trouble I’ve had with The Rake’s Progress. I’m sending him my version to see what he thinks.


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