Problems in Washington D.C. create all kinds of problems for this editor

By John Toth / Editor and Publisher

If you noticed that the cartoons in The Bulletin have decreased, you are right.
Due to the government shutdown and the debt ceiling debate (or, the food fight), we had to cut back on the cartoons in this paper.

Don’t get me wrong, there is plenty of funding available for Bulletin cartoons, and our syndicate service is continuing to provide hundreds of them weekly.

But 99 percent of them are about the food fight in D.C. The other one percent is from foreign cartoonists that we never use. They are just too serious, artsy, and not funny. We like funny cartoons.
Yes, this latest political escapade is a cartoonist’s dream, regardless of which side they are drawing, or blaming, or ridiculing.

But it has become this publisher’s nightmare.

These type of cartoons are only funny to those readers who agree with them, and often make other readers mad. Funny is in the eyes of the beholder. Political humor is only funny half the time.

We’re not a daily paper with editorial and op-ed pages. Our pages are sort of a free-for-all, with each one containing non-categorized stories about anything that our editorial staff thinks would interest readers.

Since I know that we appeal to both sides of the aisle, the hundreds of debt limit and shut down cartoons are to us completely useless.

I have tried to get the syndicate to negotiate in good faith with us about this, but they won’t budge. So, the cartoon shortage continues.

Most of the time, this is not a problem. The syndicate’s many artists are all over the map on different issues and current events, and there are plenty of cartoons from which to choose.

Now, they are all drawing about only one topic – the food fight in D.C.

We all hope this is resolved and we go on to other fights that are a little less messy, and our cartoonists once again expand their horizons.

Meanwhile, I am enjoying the Facebook debate about the food fight. The photoshopped posts are very good as they point out how wrong the other side is.

It feels good to vent a little, but I can honestly say that those posts will not convince the other side to see it your way.

And, it does no good to get into a political feud over the issue, raising the emotional level by each post, and even being insulting. 

There are other issues that are more suited for such venture, like posting about the Houston Texans as you watch the game. Both sides can agree on these posts.

“Like it or not, fixing Schaub is our best shot unless you are ready to write off this season and for next year again.”

“Schaub, you are a bum!!!!!!”

“BREAKING: Matt Schaub says he will not take the field unless the 49ers come to the table and negotiate.”

There were dozens more. The last one is my favorite. It  was posted by a one-time Houston Chronicle colleague.

I wish my syndicated cartoonists would watch football and get some ideas.

Or any other sport, or read the lifestyle pages, or any other pages than news and editorials.

I write these columns early, so I hope by the time it appears on Oct.15, this “food fight” will be over, and both sides agree to do what’s best for the country.

Then we can all go back to ranting about sports (which is easy to do if you follow Houston teams), and I can get once again some usable cartoons.