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tv   American Artifacts Herblock Political Cartoons  CSPAN  April 29, 2018 5:20pm-6:00pm EDT

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inches.lender and 5'2" they did not have much in common but their marriage was a loving reunion and a political partnership that we have never seen the likes of. announcer: watch the entire program on the presidency. this is american history tv, only on c-span3. each week, american artifacts takes viewers into museums and historic sites around the country. the library of congress has is the largest collection of political cartoons. they are featured in the journal of the white house historical association. coveredrlock
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presidents from herbert hoover to george w. bush. he was a midwestern born cartoonist. in 1929, sixs work months before the great depression. he was a moderate conservative. it pushed him further toward the center by the great depression and the injustice of world war ii. in 1933 he joined the newspaper enterprise association. that was situated in cleveland, ohio. 1946, he joined the washington post where he spent the rest of his career. hisied to six weeks after
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last cartoon appeared in the washington post. his last cartoon appeared on august 26. his 92ndust before birthday. we have about 14,000 of his editorial cartoons. he did give away cartoons to friends. we have the majority of his output. future cartoons about presidents from hoover to the second george bush. see how his career evolved, his opinions have changed. i brought out a selection of his of hows to give a sense they perceived different presidents and how his style evolved.
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the next one is about herbert hoover. it shows herbert at the rabid on cap, before the current camp existed. mr. bloch has depicted hoover leading a couple of capitalists to his camp. and they are fishing. instead of getting economic benefits in the form of cash incentives they get fresh fish to sell. it is heaven and ink style -- pen and ink style and on a very smooth board. this is typical of what would have been produced in the midwest at this point in time. the second cartoon is about fdr.
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mr. bloch has not yet come to a point where he is embracing the democratic party yet. what you are seeing is a cartoon that makes fun of those for -- fun of roosevelt for being unable to add additional supreme court justices to implement his plans to improve the economy. we know that ultimately roosevelt prevailed. the new deal past. -- passed. bloch is making fun of him for wasting time when he could have been passing legislation by trying to implement the court plan to add six more justices to the court. here we have both candidates for president in 1948. truman and dewey gesturing to a
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man who looks like a typical character to show a respectable southern gentleman as he also represents congress. bloch is upset about the changes in the immigration plans implemented in the united states in the aftermath of world war ii. he was very much in favor of letting displaced people immigrate to the united states. he is showing his disapproval of congress' immigration plan. the statue of liberty pushing people away from the shores rather than embracing their arrival. this is a cartoon about president eisenhower. he is castigating joseph mccarthy and richard nixon
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for a smear campaign. what you need to know about this cartoon is it did not run in the washington post. the post pulled the cartoon because it was a pro-eisenhower paper. he was pro-stephenson and very adamant about that in his cartoon. they felt mr. bloch's opinion of eisenhower failing to control mccarthy and nixon went too far. and so it didn't run. it didn't run in the areas mr. bloch was syndicated, the other newspapers. s missedon post reader it.
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they knew that a cartoon had appeared elsewhere. they were angry. the washington post ran every single cartoon that he chose to draw after that. he had a lot of power at the post as a cartoonist. we can see that mr. bloch's art style and a very loose drawing style. he'ses a lot of graphite using a simple board. it really grabs the pencil and gives it a nice texture. white out as a way to enhance his image. for example, on this canoe being guided by president kennedy, he's got budget written in white out. on top of the ink and pencil so
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that it stands out in his cartoon. kennedy was hard. and even as late a 1962, they had not found big nose or something that stood out to make him look funny. so he kind of looks generically entiree for his administration. that doesn't mean mr. bloch did not find fault to pick with him. but to some special privileges. people who have benefited. next, we have lyndon johnson. mr. bloch really admired his war
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on poverty. he did not admire his war on vietnam. he loved to take johnson quotes and misappropriate them. in such a way as to attack his policies. this particular cartoon shows we were willing to go more than halfway. what mr. johnson had intended with that quote was to talk about the peace table. we are willing to negotiate terms of peace with north vietnam. but what mr. bloch showed was bombing up more the vietnamese country. if you read the washington post between 1972 and 1974, the time the watergate scandal broke out and the time president nixon resigned, you opened the pages
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to he had drawn nixon coming out of the sewer at the eisenhower administration. with the exception of the free shape he gave him as a newly elected president, which is now in the collection of "the washington post," he never relented. he did not see a good side to richard nixon. it doesn't mean he attacked it -- him blindly. he had real issues with some of the things whether it wiretapping,n or things he disliked. he felt it was his job as a cartoonist to express his opinion and to share it with others.
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that is the basic role of the antorial cartoon, express opinion and persuade people to your point of view. a good cartoonist does more than just illustrate the news. he gets his point across, or she gets her point across. here we have nixon throwing some tapes to an investigator represented by a hound dog. , a bloodhound. reels awayhrow a few while still clutching perhaps the most important evidence against him. you can see the bones of some of his indicted conspirators left behind by the bloodhound. when it came to jimmy carter, her block saw him as a pretty ineffectual leader.
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a particular cartoon, showing who is in charge here, showing carter banking on his own presidential desk while refusing to take a leadership role. that is probably the most i can say about that particular , what a bettert way to show someone completely ineffectual at their job than to show them in front of their desk rather than behind it? herbert lawrence block was born in 1909 in chicago. by the time he started drawing editorial cartoons as a teenager, he was known as herb. it doesn't take long to figure out if you say herb block fast, you might as well be saying one word. herblock. that's how he became to be known as herblock.
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but he really is herb block. he was not a big fan of ronald reagan. his moderate conservative chicago sensibility as a child, the way his parents brought him up, was to take care of the poor. you had to look out for the little guy. what he saw in ronald reagan was somebody who was turning a blind eye to the poverty and hunger and other issues in the united states in the 1980's. so we have a depiction of a homeless person asleep on a ate in washington dc as ronald reagan drives by in his limousine, thinking that those people made a bad choice in their lives by not choosing to be rich. and that really underscores his
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opinions that you had to help the poor and you had to understand poverty as an institution and not make assumptions about why people are poor. he drew a lot of cartoons about the need to support the poor by providing better housing, better nutrition, better medical care. we can see by the end of his career that herblock had great ideas, but his drawing is getting a little weaker. the line is not as steady. he's relying a lot more on on pencil.n pencil has a tendency to smear in a way wax crayon does not. here we have church herbert -- george herbert walker bush denying that he was involved in the iran-contra
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scandal. what mr. block is showing is while bush is denying his involvement in the scandal, the testimony of the people who were the principal players in the arms for hostages are going to ensnare him anyway. and mr. block really liked to draw that president bush with rather large lips. because he was always saying to people read my lips. bill clinton. . here, he is showing a masterful attempt at tight rope walking, trying to move a budget forward, and keep the monica lewinsky scandal at bay. ms.lewinsky is not labeled lubinski, and that may be lost
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to people who look at the cartoon in the sands of time, was hisnow that intention. anybody who opened "the post" that that's exactly what bill clinton was trying to balance. mr. block did not work long into george w. bush's presidency. he was too ill during 9/11 to do anything about that. even though people were there by his bedside, encouraging him and saying that they needed his voice. he died in october of 2001. what he did do about george w. bush was an assumption a lot of cartoonists made early in the election and early in the presidency. they drew him as stupid. cartoonists that got to live longer came around on that. they decided he wasn't a stupid president, but at this point, that is how herblock is depicting him. under the control of dick cheney
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and his father, and ignorant about world affairs. this particular cartoon was actually drawn during the 2000 presidential election. as you can see in the last year and a half of his life, again the ideas are solid. he's expressing an opinion. he has come up with an opinion, and he's able to see a way to -- conceive of a cogent way to express it, but the drawing style is a lot weaker, he is using pace downs when he can't correct the errors with his pen. the white house, as the the substitute for the sitting president, appears quite frequently in mr.
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block's cartoons when he wants to talk about policy rather than personality. that can be the white house and conflict with congress, because they are separate parts of government. mr. block is quite cognizant of that and brings that up in some of his cartoons. also, he can bring up the supreme court, i haven't brought any white house versus supreme court drawings today. the first one we have is from president kennedy's proclamation that in light of martin luther king's march on washington that it's time for the nation, a century after the american civil war, to fulfill its promise. foley quality for all of its citizens. equality for all of its citizens. is au can see, mr. block
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strong supporter of that. he shows kennedy on top of the white house proudly waving his proclamation as if it were a banner. rather than a speech. the next drawing is very famous. it is something a cartoonist can do and a newspaper reporter cannot. the united states has really strong libel laws. that allows cartoonists to express their opinion. woodward and bernstein had to spend months and find a source to link nixon to the watergate break-in. within a week of that break-in, mr. block drew footsteps leading directly to the white house. he could do that because it was the watergateat break-in, as well as other scandals, where originated in orders issued by nixon. but you notice he is careful not to draw nixon and the cartoon,
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because that might have been going a little bit too far. grahamrtoon, katharine said, "you're not going to really run that come are you?" said,en he said yes, she ok. she was prepared for the call she was going to get the next morning when the paper landed on people's front porches. in this particular cartoon about the clinton administration, we see the white house as a symbol for the administration policy on being involved in treaty negotiations. if you know the constitution, you know it's not the president who signs treaties, it's congress. ol in aave the capita barricade between the two, and a generic congressman saying they can't do that, that we haven't
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agreed to anything yet. explicating also for his viewers, the people who to hispen "the post" editorial cartoons that there are constitutional differences between the white house and the u.s. capitol and their occupants. finally, we have a cartoon ,uring the bush administration george w. bush administration. mr. block believes strongly in separation of church and state. he believed that funding for religious groups violated that. one way he depicted it, of course, is by showing the newspaper headline. the guy rolling his eye and looking at the steeple of the white house, emphasizing the
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point that mr. block believed that george w. bush had a strong affiliation with religious groups. christian religious groups in particular. one of the issues that mr. block drew cartoons about for decades was equality and civil rights. he really believed african-americans deserved an equal chance and equal opportunity. eight years after the passage of brown v. board of education, which was supposed to desegregate the public schools and universities, and give everybody an equal education, in 1962 he pointed out that still was not the case. there were states in the country that had chosen to shatter -- shutter their public schools. rather than desegregate. we have an african-american girl holding a birthday cake, telling the white gentleman standing
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next to her that she's eight. and the james crow public school is on the other side of a fence. she is locked out. mr. block would republish this cartoon every year for 15 years until public schools were accessible to children. it didn't mean he stopped hammering on issues of race and inequality. thisver stopped, but cartoon appeared in "the washington post" many times to remind readers that there was not a quality everywhere. -- equality everywhere. this cartoon was drawn in the immediate aftermath of the kennedy assassination. john f. kennedy was assassinated by lee harvey oswald on november
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22nd, 19 63, with an assault rifle that oswald had ordered from a mail order catalog. fake advertisement as if it had come from a mail order catalog encouraging people to purchase weapons. "sportsmen,it is kids, maniacs." he really believed strongly in gun control. he was drawing cartoons on that issue in the 1950's, that they were a solution to nothing. what really angered him was the access that mail ordering gave to people who had no business ordering a weapon. you sensed the anger in this drawing. points, theion sarcasm. he is using a variety of tools at his hand.
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it is mostly text-based. as you can see, although the rifle is the center of the image, it is the text that makes the point in this particular cartoon. welcome to the herblock gallery. this is a dedicated to cartoons by mr. block. looked back 50 years ago. right now, we are looking at cartoons from 1967, but in march we will switch to 1968. we rotate every six months in march and september. what i try to do for people is select five cartoons that situate them in events related to the year. , andcartoons about 1967 with a little tweak, that i tried to pick things that resonate sometimes more successfully with some people than others, that people say
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that they can't believe we are still dealing with issues from 50 years ago. for example, we have this cartoon about the redwood forest insult sold to timber and mining interests. actually, mr. block's very first cartoon was about clearcutting in 1929. he was an adamant supporter of nature and american forests and beauty. the vietnam war very important in 1967. johnson escalated the war by increased bombing in north vietnam. as you can see, it was mr. blocks opinion that increased bombing would just lead to more increased bombing. figurethis american climbing up very cautiously and increasing step of weapons.
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another thing to note is that it's a really strong graphite drawing that is pencil. graphite is a lubricant. that is why the white out is peeling off the drawing. we have done our best to glue it back on, but some of it is just gone forever. that mr.ed before block thought it was really important to look out for the little guy. this is a cartoon that just really brings that truth to bear. you can see truth and lending bills being offered to a businessman who holds a whip. he says "they are simple, happy folk, knowledge would just confuse them." this is about consumers, poor consumers that don't have the money to pay for goods outright, so they pay over time and they pay more than 100% of the
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original cost of the object by the time they are done paying off. this was done before credit cards were widely available. credit would have come directly from the store. not to say that credit card bills, when they are not paid off properly, don't also lead to being more than 100%, but this is really about people taking out loans directly from stores and about legislation that made it more transparent about what those charges would lead to. here is an example of mr. block looking at an international issue, and that is at egypt under abdul nasser. he had suffered a crushing defeat at the hand of the israeli six-day war 1967. block is portraying him as having a napoleon complex, when in reality nasser was pulling
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, back from extremism, realizing he didn't have the financial wherewithal to continue fighting the israelis, and trying to meet his pan arab agenda. this is a case perhaps where history has come down more on the side of nasser than herblock. and herblocktz were very good friends. they often did little things to honor one another. mr. schultz, not so much in his peanuts cartoons. he a big fan of herblock personally. here we have the time-honored character of snoopy cursing communism, communists in general, and snoopy represents
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bomb happy generals. that's another kind of vietnam cartoon, american generals wishing they could bomb more in vietnam and win the war. one of the things i like to do is select five cartoons they -- that relate to a series of events or particular events in 1967, something that stands out in his work. for me, what stood out in 1967 was how important it was to look whetherconsumers, they were people purchasing automobiles or people who were smoking cigarettes, or eating tainted meat. mr. block did a series of cartoons that highlighted the work of individuals in promoting better consumer regulation, better safety for americans. we have the food and drug administration with the
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pharmaceutical industry, and americans deceased from inadequate warnings. could he have drawn this cartoon today? perhaps i will let you be the judge. mr. block had suffered a heart attack in 1959 and quit smoking. he never gave up fighting about cigarettes after that. he hated cigarette smoking and he hated what the industry was doing to people to encourage them to smoke. here he is showing the federal trade commission valiantly attempting to fight advertisers more controlsve over what they could say, more truth in advertising about what was in the products that people were smoking, to protect consumers. most people remember ralph nader for "unsafe at any speed."
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on the meattook industry in order to have about whatgulations went into processed foods to make them safer for consumers to eat. this cartoon reminds me of upton -- to ex postem tainted meat in his book "the jungle." upton sinclair were both brought to washington and offered an award by president johnson for their work in improving consumer safety in food products. 1967 that issues in attracted herblock's attention was overcharging americans for drugs. sometimes, the pharmaceutical industry would charge for thousand percent of what it -- 4000% of what it costs to produce a pill.
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not everything was the same. some markets paid less for drugs than rural areas. this is a double inadequacy in how things were promoted to people. the caption is, "look at all the research we have to do." that hard to imagine today there was a time when the seatbelt was not part of the automobile. realizedresearchers that americans would be a lot safer in automobiles if there was a seatbelt to restrain them in accidents. it would prevent them from hitting the steering wheel and the dashboard, and it would reduce injuries. the automobile industry pushed back. the caption for this particular caption -- cartoon is "our alibi will be that the safety belt produced extra foot pressure."
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on the accelerator." it may surprise a lot of people that the library of congress houses cartoons. we have 128,000 cartoons and 14,060 of those by mr. block. it is important to document them for several reasons. theyf them is that document creativity and intelligence of the american people to preserve it for future generations. finally, i think it is the mark of a free society that we can gather opinions with which we do not agree and collect them and preserve them for future generations. there are a lot of countries in the world where nobody would dare do that. here we are steps from the u.s. capitol and we have a variety of opinions and a variety of cartoonists, and mr. block is a
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great example of one of the artists we have collected. people who are over 16 can look readingriginals in our room, but anybody can come here to the herblock gallery and see the 10 originals on the wall, whenever the library of congress is open to the public. american history tv is on c-span3 every weekend, featuring museum tours, archival films, and programs on the presidency. the civil war, and more. here's a clip from the recent program. >> when it came time for the truman balcony, this was -- it was a refuge. that's where my grandparents spent the morning and evenings. this was a refuge to them. the truman balcony to him was a natural idea. he said it improved the lines of the white house.
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everybody disagreed with him at first. he got a lot of flack. of course, congress wouldn't give him the money for it, so he paid for it out of the household budget. he saved money and paid for the truman balcony out of the household budget. i think it cost about $14,000 or something in that neighborhood. at the time, we are talking about the white house falling apart. at the time, it was the only safe place to stand. [laughter] and there is grandpa on the truman balcony reading. you can tell who the photographer was because she cut my grandmother and half, so i had to throw the mrs. truman balcony out there as well. you can see my grandmother, you can hear her, stop, get the camera away from me, yelling at my mother taking the pictures. of course, presidential families have loved the balcony ever since. the kennedy's playing on the balcony. and the corridors -- carters. and i love this picture of president and mrs. bush. and other american
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history programs on our website where all of our video is archived. that is c-span.org/history. >> on c-span this week in primetime, monday at 8:00 p.m. eastern, how the executives on challenges facing hospitals and the state of american health care. >> people can now, since the start of obamacare, do go for screening more effectively when they have insurance. has driven down the death rate in all three of those cancers because people got identified and diagnosed earlier. >> tuesday at 8 p.m. eastern, dr. priscilla chan, the wife of facebook ceo mark, discussing their philanthropic efforts. >> we are working at rethinking the way primary care works and the way education works. we take the whole child approach and thinking about what each student needs to succeed.
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>> wednesday at 8:00 p.m. eastern, a conversation with supreme court justice clarence thomas and stephen breyer. >> we have a criteria. the criteria is almost always, did the lower courts come to different conclusions on the same question of federal law? >> thursday at 8:00 p.m. eastern, a look at how the criminal justice system handles people suffering from mental illness. >> since 1980, the number of people going to jail has tripled, and their sentences have increased by 166%. peel back the onion, you try to figure out, what in the heck has happened? this is find is most of due to untreated mental illness and substance abuse disorders. >> friday at 8:00 p.m. eastern, legal experts discussed surveillance and privacy in the modern era.
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>> in my world, we have the u.s. not regulating, even when we see pretty bad problems. we see e.u. eu regulating a lot, even more than i think they should. what we haven't had is a good enough imagination of what could be in between. >> this week in primetime on c-span. you are watching american artifacts on american history tv. joining us in the studios is michael alexander khan, the co-author of the book "what fools these mortals be: the story of puck," thank you for being with us. uck was the most important weekly political cartoon and magazine of its time. it was the innovator of political cartoon magazines and was widely read and very influential. about the talk publication, but let me ask about you and your involvement in the book. why did you do it? >>

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