Picking the ripest of the crop
When picking fruit a grower has to know when the time is right to pick. Likewise for cartoonists the trick to drawing a good cartoon is to be timely -- being careful not to get a cartoon out too early and ahead of an anticipated event, and not to get out too late after an issue has passed being part of the public discourse.
Yesterday was one of those days (almost any Monday) when I struggled to decide what topic I was going to draw on and it wasn't until the middle of the afternoon that I began to embark on the subject of Queen Elizabeth's visit to George Bush's White House. When you consider my deadline of 5:00 in the afternoon that's not a lot of time.
When I sat down with the Ed board at 10:30 am yesterday I told them I was considering 1 of 2 options; a cartoon about the election of Nicholas Sarkozy as the new President of France; Or, a cartoon on the news that Hamilton councillor Sam Merulla was considering running as a candidate in the upcoming provincial election -- something he promised in last years' local election he wouldn't run in. Figuring neither of those topics really mattered to Spectator readers I changed course.
Time ticked by and Aha! David Radler was testifying before the Conrad Black trial in Chicago! Throughout the morning and afternoon the news networks were following every minute detail of the event, David Radler looking very tanned, David Radler being sworn in, Conrad Black coldly eyeing his nemesis and alter ego as he took the witness stand -- gripping stuff -- if you're a journalist. Do readers really care all that much about Radler's first day at the Conrad Black trial? I think the jury's out on that, and even they are dosing off.
There was a lot of hemming and hawing by me yesterday before I thought I'd do something on the Queen in the USA. Compared to Sarkozy, Merulla or David Radler does the Queen's visit really matter much to readers? None of them really do, there are just some days when the pickings are slim.