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Ted Rall

Born Ted Rall
August 26, 1963
Cambridge, Massachusetts
Nationality American
Area(s) Artist, Writer, Editor
Notable works Revenge of the Latchkey Kids, To Afghanistan and Back, Silk Road to Ruin

Ted Rall (born August 26, 1963, Cambridge, Massachusetts), is an American columnist, syndicated editorial cartoonist, and author. His political cartoons often appear in a multi-panel comic-strip format and frequently blend comic-strip and editorial-cartoon conventions. The cartoons appear in approximately 100 newspapers around the United States. He is President of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists.

Rall draws three editorial cartoons a week for syndication, draws illustrations on a freelance basis, writes a weekly syndicated column, and edits the Attitude series of alternative cartooning anthologies and spin-off collections by up-and-coming cartoonists. He is an award-winning graphic novelist and the author of non-fiction books about domestic and international current affairs. He also travels to and writes about Central Asia, a region he believes to be pivotal to U.S. foreign policy concerns. In November 2001 he went to Afghanistan as a war correspondent for The Village Voice and KFI Radio in Los Angeles.

Contents

Personal

Rall was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1963, and raised in Kettering, Ohio, near Dayton. He graduated from Fairmont West High School, later renamed Kettering Fairmont High School, in 1981. From 1981 to 1984, Rall attended Columbia University's engineering school where he contributed cartoons to the campus newspapers, including the Columbia Daily Spectator, Barnard Bulletin, and the Jester. He failed to complete his studies in the engineering school, where he majored in applied physics and nuclear engineering, but returned to graduate several years later from Columbia's School of General Studies in 1991 with a bachelor of arts, with honors, in history.

Career

Rall says his drawing style was originally influenced by Mike Peters, the editorial cartoonist at his hometown paper, the Dayton Daily News. Later influences included Jules Feiffer, Garry Trudeau, Charles Schulz and Matt Groening. He says meeting Keith Haring in 1986, at a subway station, inspired him to pursue cartooning as a full-time profession.

Rall's 1990s work focused on the issues and concerns surrounding twentysomethings and Generation X, terms coined in the late 1980s to describe people born in the 1960s. While living in San Francisco Rall met Dave Eggers, who hired him as a contributing editor and writer for Might magazine, a publication Eggers edited and co-founded. Among other essays, Rall authored two seminal essays for Might, "Confessions of an Investment Banker" and "College is for Suckers." He wrote Op/Ed columns for The New York Times, including "Why I Will Not Vote" (1994), which justified apathy among Generation Xers who saw neither the Democrats or Republicans responding to their concerns. In 1998 Rall published "Revenge of the Latchkey Kids," a compendium of essays and cartoons that criticized the Baby Boomer-dominated media for ignoring and ridiculing young adults and their achievements.

Syndicated since 1991, Rall has enjoyed success in mainstream newspapers like the New York Times and Washington Post.

Rall's cartoons have appeared regularly in Rolling Stone, Time, Fortune and Men's Health magazines, and were for several years the most reproduced cartoons in the New York Times.

He has also written and drawn for Mad magazine.

Rall began frequent travels to Central Asia in 1997, when he attempted to drive the Silk Road from Beijing to Istanbul via China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan as a staff writer for P.O.V. magazine. P.O.V. published his adventures as Silk Road to Ruin, a title he used for his 2006 collection of essays and cartoons about Central Asia. Rall returned to the region for P.O.V. in 1999 to travel the Karakoram Highway from Kashgar, in western China, to Islamabad. Subsequent trips included two trips in 2000, "Stan Trek 2000"--in which Rall brought along 23 listeners to his radio show for a bus journey from Turkmenistan to Kyrgyzstan via Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan—and a U.S. State Department-sponsored visit to Turkmenistan, where he met with Turkmen college students and dissidents to explain the nature of free press in a democracy. A 2002 assignment for Gear magazine to cover the world championships of buzkashi in Tajikistan was not published due to the magazine's going out of business, but turned up in an edited form in Silk Road to Ruin. He returned to Tajikistan, Xinjiang Province in western China and Pakistan during the summer of 2007.

The Attitude: The New Subversive Cartoonists series of books is a series of anthologies of alternative comics edited by Rall. Frustrated that cartoons prevalent in alternative weekly newspapers were being ignored in favor of mainstream and art comics, Rall edited the first "Attitude" anthology, Attitude: The New Subversive Political Cartoonists, in 2002, with its mission to bring together cartoonists who were "too alternative for the mainstream and too mainstream for the alternative." Attitude 2: The New Subversive Alternative Cartoonists followed in 2004, and in 2006 Attitude 3: The New Subversive Online Cartoonists appeared. Each volume contains interviews with, cartoons by and personal ephemera related to 21 different cartoon creators. The first and second volumes emphasized political and humor cartoons; the third volume exclusively features webcartoonists.

Rall also edited three cartoons collections by Andy Singer, Neil Swaab and Stephanie McMillan under the name "Attitude Presents:".

Other media

Rall is a frequent guest on Hannity and Colmes, the BBC and NPR. He contributes a cartoon called "Left Coast" to the Pasadena Weekly. In February 2005, BBC Television broadcast a 30-minute profile of Rall as part of their series Cartoonists on the Front Line.

Rall maintains a blog[1] at his Web site. Rall has recently released a series of animated political cartoons on his website and on youtube in collaboration with David Essman.[2]

Rall had a Saturday and Sunday radio talk show on KFI radio in Los Angeles from August 1998 to August 2000. After 9/11, KFI brought him back to travel to Afghanistan and file live on-air reports from the battle of Kunduz and elsewhere in northern Afghanistan. Rall's show was also broadcast live from Havana as well as Pakistani-held Kashmir. In 2005 he had a weekend show on San Francisco's KIFR-FM. Rall has been a frequent guest on National Public Radio, the BBC and Fox Radio.

Politics

Rall has called for Barack Obama to resign as President of the United States, stating: "the gap between the soaring expectations that accompanied Barack Obama’s inauguration and his wretched performance is the broadest such chasm in recent historical memory. This guy makes Bill Clinton look like a paragon of integrity and follow-through."[3]

A panel from a Ted Rall cartoon satirizing Antonin Scalia's remark that he saw nothing wrong with "slapping" terrorism suspects. President Bush is always portrayed as Generalissimo El Busho - a vicious military dictator - in Rall's comics.

Rall is an atheist and writes some cartoons dealing with these views.[4]

Controversies

In 1999, Rall wrote an article in the Village Voice[5] accusing Maus creator Art Spiegelman of lacking talent and controlling who gets high-profile assignments from magazines like The New Yorker through personal connections, including his wife, a New Yorker editor. As a self-described prank, New York Press illustrator Danny Hellman sent two sets of e-mails under Rall's name to at least 35 cartoonists and editors. After Hellman ignored his cease-and-desist notices, Rall filed a $1.5-million lawsuit for libel per se, libel per quod, injurious falsehood, violation of civil rights, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Rall's suit stated that Hellman was attempting to sabotage his career. Eventually four of Rall's five claims were dismissed, leaving only libel per se.[6] The lawsuit is awaiting trial.

Three characters in another strip described Pat Tillman as an "idiot" a "sap" and a "hero" for abandoning his NFL career to enlist in the armed forces. Tillman is depicted saying "Sign me up, as long as I get to kill Arabs."[7] Later, after revelations of Tillman's privately held anti-Iraq-war sentiments became public, Rall wrote that he regretted making such sweeping assumptions about Tillman's motives, describing Tillman as "one hell of an interesting human being."[8]

His July 5, 2004, cartoon[9] mocked Condoleezza Rice, depicting her character being sent to a "racial re-education camp" where she refers to herself as a "house nigga" and George W. Bush's "beard". Rall, a white man, was accused of racism by Project 21, a conservative organization with black membership.[10]

A November 8, 2004, cartoon[11] depicted mentally disabled children as classroom teachers in an attempt to make an analogy to American voters who reelected Bush, drawing complaints from advocates for the disabled and led to his cartoons being dropped from The Washington Post's website. Rall responded in his blog saying: "I regret hurting people who I have nothing against. I do want to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable, and I think I failed in that with this cartoon. Not to mention that the cartoon failed—too many people got bogged down in the analogy and the main point got lost."

Rall is listed at #15 in Bernard Goldberg's book 100 People Who Are Screwing Up America described by the author as a "vicious, conspiracy-minded, hate-filled jerk." Rall perceived the listing as an honor, replying, "Not only am I grouped with many people whom I admire for their achievements and patriotism, I'm being demonized by McCarthyite thugs I despise."[12]

Rall solicited funds from readers and left-wing bloggers in an attempt to sue Ann Coulter for libel and slander for her (self-described as "joking") statement that, "Iran is soliciting cartoons on the Holocaust. So far, only Ted Rall, Garry Trudeau, and The New York Times have made submissions." Coulter first made the remark at the 2006 Conservative Political Action Conference meeting in Washington D.C. on February 10, and then printed it in her syndicated column the following week. By 18 days later, pledges totaled over $21,000.[13][14] However, pledges are no longer being solicited, and in a December 27, 2006 blog entry, Rall posted an email that was sent to pledged contributors to the lawsuit, stating that his attorneys had determined that "The road ahead is too uncertain to justify spending thousands of dollars of pledges, not to mention my own money".[15]

Awards

  • 1995 — Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award
  • 1996 — Finalist, Pulitzer Prize
  • 1997 — First Prize, Firecracker Alternative Press Award, for "Real Americans Admit: The Worst Thing I've Ever Done!"
  • 1997 — First Prize, Deadline Club Award, Society of Professional Journalists
  • 2000 — Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award
  • 2001 — Best Book of the Year, Amazon.com, for "2024: A Graphic Novel"
  • 2002 — Best Book of the Year, American Library Association, for "To Afghanistan and Back"
  • 2002 — James Aronson Award for Social Justice Graphics
  • 2007 — Second Prize, Association of Alternative Newsweeklies Awards[4]
  • 2007 — Second Prize, Lambda Legal's "Life Without Fair Courts" cartoon contest[16]
  • 2007 — First Prize, New York Book Festival Competition, for "Silk Road to Ruin"
  • 2008 — Ohioana Citation for Art and Journalism

Publications

Cartoon collections

  • Waking Up In America (St. Martin's Press, 1992), ISBN 0312085184
  • All The Rules Have Changed (Rip Off Press, 1995), ISBN 0896201198
  • Search and Destroy (Andrews McMeel 2001), ISBN 0740713965
  • America Gone Wild (Andrews McMeel, 2006), ISBN 0740760459

Graphic novels

  • Real Americans Admit: The Worst Thing I've Ever Done! (NBM Publishing, 1996), ISBN 1561631574
  • My War With Brian (NBM, 1998), ISBN 1561632155
  • 2024: A Graphic Novel (NBM, 2001), ISBN 1561632902
  • The Year of Loving Dangerously (NBM, 2009), artwork by Pablo G. Callejo, ISBN 1561635650

Non-fiction/prose

  • Revenge of the Latchkey Kids: An Illustrated Guide to Surviving the '90s and Beyond (Workman, 1998), essays and cartoons, ISBN 0761107452
  • Gas War: The Truth Behind the American Occupation of Afghanistan (NBM, 2002), prose non-fiction, ISBN 0740713965
  • To Afghanistan and Back (NBM, 2002), graphic travelogue, ISBN 1561633259
  • Wake Up, You're Liberal!: How We Can Take America Back from the Right (Soft Skull Press, 2004), prose non-fiction, ISBN 1-932360-22-0
  • Generalissimo El Busho: Essays and Cartoons on the Bush Years (NBM, 2004), essays and cartoons, ISBN 1561633844
  • Silk Road to Ruin: Is Central Asia the New Middle East? (NBM, 2006), graphic novellas and essays, ISBN 1561634549

Attitude: The New Subversive Cartoonists Anthologies

  • Attitude: The New Subversive Political Cartoonists (NBM, 2002), ISBN 1561633178
  • Attitude 2: The New Subversive Alternative Cartoonists (NBM, 2004), ISBN 156163381X
  • Attitude 3: The New Subversive Online Cartoonists (NBM, 2006), ISBN 1561634654

Other

  • Shiny Adidas Track Suits and the Death of Camp (1998), contains essays from Might Magazine, ISBN 0-425-16477-2
  • 9-11: Emergency Relief (2001) 9/11 benefit anthology; contributor, ISBN 1891867121
  • Working For the Man (2003) William Messner-Loebs benefit anthology; contributor
  • Masters of War: Militarism and Blowback in the Era of American Empire (2003), cartoon foreword, ISBN 0415944996
  • Talk to Her: Interviews with Kristine McKenna (2004), illustration of Joe Stummer, ISBN 1-56097-570-9
  • Killed: Great Journalism Too Hot to Print (2004), edited by David Wallis, contains "Money Changes Everything" essay, ISBN 1-56025-581-1
  • The Disposable Male: Sex, Love, and Money (2006), by Michael Gilbert, includes cartoon, ISBN 0-9776552-3-7
  • Killed Cartoons: Casualties from the War on Free Expression (2007), edited by David Wallis, contains "Ronald Reagan airport" and "Gulf War Beach" cartoons, ISBN 0-393-32924-0

References

External links

Editorials

News articles

Transcripts from Hannity & Colmes








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