Pat Oliphant is a name quite familiar to newspaper junkies who revel in the art of political cartoons. Since 1964, Mr. Oliphant -- as well as Punk, his ever-commenting penguin in the corner -- has been entertaining and educating us for more than fifty years.
Before I leap into the fray and explain the connection of a famous political cartoonist to Graland School( with apologies to those of you who know how important Mr. Oliphant was to the school’s history), I quote from The Library of Congress which exhibited his work in 2000:
“Pat Oliphant won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial cartooning in 1966, just two years after he left his native Australia for an American career. Now, thirty years later, he is considered among the most gifted practitioners in the history of the profession. He has caricatured seven United States presidents, from Lyndon Johnson to Bill Clinton, and offered provocative graphic commentary on salient social and political issues of the past three decades, including Watergate, Vietnam, the collapse of communism in Europe, and the Gulf War. Few artists have done as much to influence the form and content of contemporary American political cartoons.
“Oliphant weds two great traditions in political cartooning: the subtle wit and detailed artistry of the British tradition with the more blunt, spare style that persists in America. At the Library of Congress his cartoons and sketchbooks will be preserved alongside the most extensive collection of American political prints in existence, one of the finest assemblages of English satirical prints outside Great Britain, and thousands of original works by the most influential European and American cartoonists from the seventeenth century forward.”
Mr. Oliphant “retired” in 2015, but he returned to work in 2017 with two cartoons concerning Donald Trump and Steve Bannon. Never a stranger to controversy and critics, Oliphant gained attention courtesy of The Nib, an online site. One source I found mentioned Oliphant’s “spares neither liberal or conservative, saint or sinner.” Once upon a time, the venerable New York Times dubbed him of the most influential political cartoonists.
I have previously spoken about Mr.Oliphant’s drawing of the owl -- no need to repeat myself more than I usually do. These articles are on the Graland website -- click alumni and look for my ramblings. It is important to salute Mr. Oliphant’s efforts to create our original mascot, the owl. I shall display some of his original drawings before the end of the school year.
Now that the eagle, the newer mascot, has split to parts unknown, I urge the school to return the owl to its rightful throne as the royalty of mascots. Go, Chet! You are the best owl, the wise one. I know the eagles will remain, but the sentimental old timer in me must wish. I am quite partial to Athene and her owl, Bubo.