So yesterday I was singing the praises of the Herblock, and today I see that the National Cartoonists Society has announced this year's nominees for the Reuben.
The nominees were all going to attend the convention anyway -- at least, if they are members, which is not a requirement -- because it is a fun get-together for people who are generally kept chained to drawing tables in small, dark places.
Plus there are several other Oscar-like awards being presented, none of which are "Reubens" despite people calling them that anyway.
Some are voted by the membership, some by the board.
If you didn't decipher the illustration or click on the link, the nominees for Cartoonist of the Year are Roz Chast, Stephan Pastis and Hilary Price and the winner will be announced May 23 in Washington, DC.
The Convention itself is members-only, but in recent years there has been some kind of public event around the weekend and I'll let you know about it when I find out, because I'll also be hoping to get down there for that part. (Membership in NCS being -- appropriately enough -- based on deriving the bulk of your income from cartooning.)
The Reuben is a good thing, and welcome encourgement to keep on keepin' on, even in a world in which a Pulitzer is insufficient to guarantee your job.
Which brings me (back) to this
It's odd, and perhaps a little self-defeating, to reflect on the decline of print in the very medium you are mourning, but I think we've reached a point where today's Pickles is simply riffing on real life.
As it happens, the punchline hit home for me because, about 20 years ago, I cancelled my print subscription to the newspaper for which I worked after the carrier declared that, on snowy days, rather than come up my drive and put it in my door, he would leave it at the bottom for me to walk down and fetch.
However, I was simply switching to an on-line replica, so my daily reading of the paper continued with the only change being that, after I leafed through it page-by-page, I had nothing to recycle.
Our somewhat pioneering on-line replica -- simply PDF pages -- was clumsy compared to fast, modern e-editions, where you not only see the page but can click on the jump to go to the continuation, click on words to get a definition, create your own archive of articles, search for topics and have the whole thing read to you in your choice of languages if you'd like, but it still provided the personal connection not just between reader and news staff, but between reader and community, since it was a local paper that covered local events.
It was particularly handy for us because there were rural areas that didn't have enough houses-per-mile to justify a carrier, as well as communities just outside our zone where people commuted in to work and identified with the town.
We had a number of paid on-line subscribers there, in addition to those like myself who were in town but simply preferred the medium, and we would, no doubt, have added to the number, because, while it was new and the interface was still a little clumsy, people who gave it a shot really liked it.
However, we got the word from Corporate to take it down because everything on-line had to be free and formatted in the approved "click to read" news-lite layout of every other newspaper in the chain and most of the newspapers in the world.
My boss -- the circ director -- and I concluded that they had a cunning plan to sell banners from HQ and wanted to be able to claim the largest potential cyber audience.
Which never happened. What a surprise!
But they did then order us to increase our paid circ, without any acknowledgement that they had just ordered us to cut it by 5 percent.
As I have said, the Internet is only a handy excuse for, not the real cause of, failing newspaper fortunes.
A factor? Certainly.
But nowhere near the factor of, as yesterday's headline said, "Fools in High Places."
Speaking of which
Adam at Home riffs on competition between Amazon and local bookstores, and, again, the Internet is certainly a factor, but, as I have groused here before, the chains had begun killing local bookstores before Amazon was a glint in Jeff Bezos' eye.
And, just as stupid decisions from central HQ made success hard for local newspapers, one-size-fits-all marketing helped turn bookstores from intimate community hangouts into warehouses full of books. (And teddy bears and candy bars and coffee mugs and games.)
Whether or not Amazon subsequently killed Borders is of no more import to me than whether John Wilkes Booth was shot to death by his pursuers on purpose or by accident.
As with most Lincoln fans, I think, it might be a matter of curiosity, but it doesn't change my feelings about the outcome.
In the absence of a corporate-based equivalent ...