tv American Artifacts Herblock Political Cartoons CSPAN April 2, 2018 12:09pm-12:49pm EDT
real thinking through the way that one could inject into that social graph stream evil and negative behavior. and i think as various forces have matured and learned how the products work, they're learning how to take advantage of them for their own purposes. >> watch the communicators to be the at 8:00 eastern on c-span 2. each week american artifacts takes viewers into archives, museums and historic sites around the country. the library of congress houses the largest collection of political cartoons by herbert block, known as herblock. the cartoons are featured in the journal white house historical association. herblock's career spanned 72 years and he covered presidents from herbert hoover to george w. bush. the library's sara duke talked to us about his influence and
legacy and shoid us many of his cartoons some on exhibit in the herblock gallery. >> herblock was a mid western born cartoonist. he began his working career in 1929, six months before the great depression. he was a moderate conservative in his start and he was radicalized not like left left but it pushed him further toward the center by the great depression and the injustice of world war ii. in 1933, he joined those scripps howard company, the enterprise association which was situated in cleveland, ohio. and then in 1946 right after the second world war he joined "the washington post" where he spent the rest of his career. and he died about six weeks after his last cartoon appeared
in the washington post. his last cartoon appeared on august 26th, 2001, and he died just a week shy of his 92nd birthday in october. the library of congress has the herblock collection. we have about 14,460 of his editorial cartoons, but we have nearly all of the work he produced for the washington post. he did give away cartoons to friends but we have the majority of his output. mr. block drew cartoons about presidents from hoover to the second george bush. and so you get to see how his career evolved, how his opinions changed, see how he drew particular presidents. obviously i've just brought out a selection of cartoons to get a sense of how he perceived different presidents and how his style evolved. the first cartoon we have is about herbert hoover who which
was the first president that mr. block covered. and it shows hoover at the camp before camp david existed. hoover favored a camp further down in the shenandoah mountains in rapidan, virginia. so mr. block has depicted hoover leading a couple of capitalists so his camp and they're fishing. and then instead of getting economic benefits in the perhaps in the form of cash incentives, the capitalists get some fresh fish to sell. and it's a pen and ink style. it's on a very smooth board, and this is very typical of what would have been produced in the midwest at this point in time. so the second cartoon i've brought out today is about fdr,
franklin roosevelt. mr. block has not yet come to a point where he's embracing the democratic party yet. so what you're seeing is a car on that makes fun of roosevelt for being unable to add additional supreme court justices to therefore force congress to implement his plans to improve the economy. of course, we know that ultimately roosevelt prevailed and the new deal passed, but block 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 man who looks like a typical character that mr. block drew to show respectable southern gentlemen. he also represents congress. and block is upset about the changes in the immigration plans implemented in the united states in the aftermath of world war ii. mr. block was very much in favor of letting displaced people immigrate to the united states. so he is saying his disapproval of congress's new immigration plan by depicting the statue of liberty, pushing people away from the shores rather than embracing their arrival. this is a cartoon about president eisenhower, and he's -- mr. block thinks he's being too gentle, mccarthy and nixon for a smear campaign
against stevenson just days before the presidential election. and what you need to know about this cartoon is that it did not run in "the washington post." the post pulled the cartoon because it was a pro eisenhower paper and mr. block was pro stevenson and very adamant about that in his cartoons. and they felt that mr. block's opinion of eisenhower failing to control mccarthy and nixon went too far and might perhaps persuade voters not to vote for him. and so it didn't run. it did run in the areas where mr. block was sinned indicatea . but what you need to know is washington post readers missed it. they knew it had appeared elsewhere and not in their
hometown paper and they were angry. and "the washington post" ran every single cartoon that mr. block chose to draw after that. he had a lot of power at the post as a cartoonist. we can see that mr. block's art style has evolved from that mid western tight pen and ink drawing to a very loose drawing style, but much more loose he oouss a lot of graphite, a lot of ink brush. and he's using a board, a step willed board. so it grabs the pencil and gives it a nice texture. and he used whiteout both as a way to control his mistakes, but also to enhance his image. so, for example, on this canoe being guided by president kennedy, he's got budget written in whiteout on top of the ink
and pencil so that it stands out in his cartoon. kennedy was hard for most cartoonists to draw. he was a handsome looking fellow and even as late as 1962 they really hadn't found like big ears or big nose or something that stood out too to make him look funny. so he kind of looks generically handsome for the entirety of his administration. that doesn't mean that mr. block didn't find fault to pick with him. in this particular cartoon is about the kennedy administration's desire to implement tax cuts but to end some special privileges for people who had benefited from special tax cuts. next, we have linden johnson and mr. block really admired his war
on poverty. he did not admire his war on vietnam. and he loved to take johnson quotes and misappropriate them in such a way to attack his policies. so this particular cartoon is we've shown that we're willing to go more than halfway. what mr. johnson had intended with that quote was to talk about the peace table, we're willing to negotiate terms of peace with north vietnam. but what mr. block shared was bombing more than halfway up the vietnamese country. if you read "the washington post" between 1972 and 1974, between the time the watergate scandal broke out and the time president nixon resigned, you opened the pages to see 174
cartoons attacking the president on watergate alone. he had drawn nixon coming out of a sewer during the eisenhower administration and 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, but it doesn't mean he attacked him blindly. it meant that he had real issues with some of the things whether it be corruption or wiretapping or things that he didn't -- he just disliked. and he felt it was his job as a cartoonist to express his opinion and to share it with others.
and that's the basic role of the editorial cartoon is to express an opinion and persuade people to your point of view. and a good cartoonist does more than just illustrate the news, he gets his point across, or she gets her point across. so here we have nixon throwing some tapes to an investigator who is represented by a hound dog, a blood hound, trying to throw a few reels away while still clutching perhaps the most important evidence against him. and we can see the bones of some of his indicted conspirators left behind by the blood hound. when it came to jimmy carter, herb block saw him as a pretty ineffectual leader. and particular cartoon who's in
charge here shows carter banging on his own presidential desk while refusing to take a leadership role. so, you know, that's probably the most i can say about that particular cartoon is that it's just what a better way to show somebody is 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 and by the time he started drawing editorial cartoons as a teenager, he was known as herb. and it doesn't take long to figure out if you say herb block fast you might as well be saying one word, herblock. and that's how he came to be known as herblock and how most people know him. but he really is herb block.
he was not a big fan of ronald reagan. his moderate conservative chicago sensibilities 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. and what he saw in ronald reagan was somebody who was turning a blind eye to the poverty and hunger and other issues that were happening in the united states in the 1980s. and so we have a depiction of a homeless person asleep on a grate in washington, d.c. as ronald reagan drives by in his limousine thinking about those people having made the a bad choice in their lives by not choosing to be rich.
and that really underscores mr. block's opinions that you really had to help the poor and you had to understand the poverty is an institution and not make assumptions about why people were 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 herb block had some great ideas, but his drawing is getting a little weaker. the line is not as steady, he's relying a lot more on crayon than on pencil. pencil has a tendency to smear in the way that wax crayon does not. here we have george herbert walker bush denying that he was involved in the iran-contra
scandal and what mr. block is showing that 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, of course, he always was saying to people read my lips. next we have bill clinton and here he's shown in a masterful attempt at tight rope walking trying to move a budget forward and keep the monica lieu wince sky scandal at bay. now, she is not labeled and that may be lost to people who look at the cartoon in the sands of
time. but we know that was his intention and anybody who opened the post that day knew 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 apparently people were going to his hospital bedside and encouraging him and saying that they needed his voice. he died in october of 2001. what he did note about george w. bush was an assumption a lot of cartoonists made early in the election and early in his presidency. and they drew him as stupid. now, cartoonists have got to live longer came around on that and decided that he wasn't a stupid president. but at this point, that's how herb block is depicting him as under the control of dick cheney and his father.
and ignorant about world affairs. and this particular cartoon was actually drawn during the 2000 presidential election. and as you can see in the last year and a half of his life that mr. block, again, the ideas are solid, he's expressing an opinion, he's come up with an opinion, and he's able to conceive of a cogent way to express it. but the drawing style say lot weaker, he's using pastels when he can't correct the errors with his pen. so the white house as an institution, as a substitute for the sitting president appears quite frequently in mr. block's cartoons when he wants to talk
about policy rather than personality. and that can be the white house in conflict with congress because, of course, they're separate parts of government and mr. block is white cognizant of that and brings that up in some of his cartoons. also it can be the supreme court, although i haven't brought any white house versus supreme court drawings today. so the first one we have is from president kennedy's proclamation that it's 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 of full equality for all of its citizens. and as you can see, mr. block say strong supporter of that. he shows kennedy on top of the white house proudly raising his
proclamation as if it were a banner rather than the speech. the next drawing is very famous and it's something a cartoonist can do and a newspaper reporter cannot. the united states has really strung liooibl la libel laws. they had to 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 and he could do that because it was his opinion that the watergate break-in, as well as other scandals were originated and orders issued by nixon. but you notice he's careful not to draw nixon in this cartoon because that might have been going a little too far.
this cartoon cath therein graham said you are not really going to run that, are you? and when he said, yes, she went, okay. she was prepared for the calls that she was going get the next morning when the paper landed on people's front porches. in this particular cartoon about clinton's administration, we see the white house as a symbol for the administration policy on bosnia, being involved in treaty negotiations. and if you know your constitution, you know it's not the president who gets to sign treaties, it's congress and so we have the capitol and a barricade between the two. and a congressman, a generic congressman saying he can't do that. we haven't agreed to anything
yet. so mr. block is also expull indicating for his viewers, the people who would open the post to his editorial cartoon that there are constitutional differences between the white house and the u.s. capitol and their occupants. finally, we have a cartoon during the bush administration, garth w. bu george w. bush administration. and mr. block believes strongly in separation of church and state. and he believed that funding for religious groups violated that. and one way he depicted it, of course, was by showing the newspaper headline. but the guy rolling his eyes and looking at the steeple over the
white house emphasized the point that bush had a strong affiliation with religious groups, christian religious groups in particular. one of the subjects that he drew cartoons on was equality and civil rights. he really believed that african-americans deserved an equal chance and an equal opportunity. and eight years after the passage of brown versus board of education which was supposed to desegregate the public schools and ufniversities and give everybody an equal education, in 1962 he pointed out that was still not the case. there were states in the country that had chosen to shudder their public schools rather than desegregate. so we have an african-american girl holding a birthday cake. she's telling the white gentleman standing next to her
that she's 8. and the james crowe public school is on the other side of the fence. she's locked out. mr. block would republiclish this cartoon every year for 15 years until public schools were accessible to children. that didn't mean he stopped hammering on issues of race and i -- inequality. this appeared many times to remind readers that there was not equality everywhere. this cartoon was drawn in the immediate aftermath of kennedy assassination. john f. ken dip was -- kennedy was assassinated by lee harvey
oswalt in 1963 by an assault rifle that had he frord a mail-order catalogue. so this is a fake advertisement as if it had come from a mail-order catalogue encouraging people to purchase weapons. notice that it's sportsmen, kids, maniacs. this was something that was very important to block. he really believed strongly in gun control. he had drawn cartoons on that issue from the 1950s that they were a solution to nothing. but what really angered him was the access that mail ordering gave to people who had no business owning a weapon. and you sensed the anger in this drawing. the exclamation points, the sarcasm. he's using a variety of tools at his hand.
then it's mostly text based. as you can see while the rifle is the center of the image, it's really the text that makes his point in this particular cartoon. welcome to the herb block gallery. this is a space dedicated to cartoons by mr. block. and we have chosen to look back 50 years ago. right now we're looking at cartoons from 1967, but in march we'll stwoich car froons 1968 and 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 relate to the year. so five cartoons about 1967, and with a little tweak that i try to pick things that will resonate sometimes more successfully than others, with people today saying that could have been drawn today or i can't believe we're still dealing with that 50 years later.
for example, we have this cartoon about the red wood forest being sold to timber and mining interests. and actually mr. block's very first cartoon was about clear cutting in 1929. he was an adamant supporter of nature and american forests and beauty. vietnam war was very important in 1967. johnson escalated the war by increased bombing in north vietnam. and, as you can see, it was mr. block's opinion that increased bombing would just lead to more increased bombing. and he has his kind of john q. public, his american figure climbing up very cautiously up an increasing step of weapons. another thing to note about this is that it's a really strong
graphite drawing that is pencil. and graphite say lube kanricant. and that's why the whiteout is peeling off. we've done our best to draw it back on but some of it's gone forever. i mentioned before mr. block felt if important to look out for the little guy, and this is a car on that just really brings that truth to bear. you see truth in lending bilk offered to businessman who holds a whip and says the simple happy foc with knowledge would just confuse them. and this is about consumers, especially poor consumers who don't often have money to pay for goods outright. and so they pay over time and often pay more than 100% of the original cost of the objects by the time they're done paying
off. and this was done before credit cards were really widely available. and so credit would have come directly from the store. not to say that credit card bills when they're not paid off promptly don't also lead to paying more than 100% for the goods, but this is about people taking out loans directly from stores and about legislation that made it more transparent about what those charges would lead to. here's an example of mr. block looking at an international issue and that is at egypt under abdul nasser. nasser had suffered a crushing defeat at the hands of the israelis during the six-day war in 1967. and here block has portrayed him as having a that polian complex when in reality nasser was pulling back from extremism,
realizing that he didn't have the financial wherewithal to continue fighting the israelis and trying to meet his pan-arab agenda. this is a case where history has come down more on the side of nasser than herb block. charles schultz and herblock were good friends, and they often did little things to honor one another. mr. schultz not so much in his peanuts cartoons, he was a big fan of herblock personally. but here we have the time honored character of snoopy cursing communism, communists in general, and snoopny represents
bomb-happy generals. and that's another kind of vietnam cartoon. american generals wishing that they could bomb more in vietnam and win the war. one of the things i like to do is select five cartoons that relate to a series of events or a particular event in 1967, something that stands out in mr. block's work. and for me what stood out in 1967 was how important it was to look out for consumers, whether 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. so we have the food and drug administration with the
pharmaceutical industry and americans deceased from inadequate warnings. could we draw -- could have drawn this cartoon today? perhaps. i'll let you be the judge. mr. block had suffered a heart attack in 1959 and quit smoking and he never gave up fighting about cigarettes after that. he hated cigarette smoking, he hated what the cigarette industry was cog to foam encourage them to smoke. here he's showing the federal trade commission valiantly attempting to fight advertisers in order to give more controls over what they could say, more truth be in advertising about what was in the products that people were smoking to protect consumers. so most people remember ralph nader for face at any speed. but he, in 1967, he took on the
meat industry in order to have stricter regulations about what went into processed foods to make them safer for consumers to eat. this cartoon reminds me of upton sinclair who exposed tainted meat in his book the jungle in 1906. and upton sinclair and ralph nader were both brought to washington and offered an award by president johnson for their work in improving consumer safety in food products. one of the issues in 1967 that attracted herb block's attention was overcharging americans for drugs. sometimes the pharmaceutical industry would charge 4,000% of what it cost to produce a pill and not everybody was treated the same. some markets, especially more heavily populated markets paid
less for drugs than rural areas. so this was a double inadequacy in how things were promoted to people. the caption is, look at all the research we have to do. it's hard to imagine today that there was a time when the seatbelt was not part of the automobile. in 1967, researchers realized that americans would be a lot safer in automobiles if there was a seatbelt to restrain them during an accident, it would prevent them from hitting the steering wheel and the dashboard and it would regus u deuduce in. and the automobile industry pushed back. and the caption for this particular cartoon is our alibi will be that the safety belt created extra foot pressure on the accelerator. it may surprise a lot of people to learn that the library of
congress held these cartoons. we have about 128,000 cartoons prints and the drawings and 460 those are by mr. block. and it's important to save them for several reasons. first, they document american creativity. this was the missions of the library of congress is to document the creativity and intelligence of the american people and preserve it for future generations. finally, i think it's a 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 and here we are just steps from the u.s. capitol and we have a variety of opinions and a variety of cartoonists and mr. block is just a great example of one of the artists that we've
collected. and people who are over 16 can come and look at the originals in our reading room, back up anybody can come here to the herblock gallery and see them on the wall whenever the library of congress is open to the public. tonight on american history tv in prime time, landscape historian jonathan pliska fwauks his book the white house easter egg roll, a history for all ages. on how presidents an first families have hosted the annual white house tradition since 1878. and the changes that have been made along the way. american history tv in prime time start algt 8:00 p.m. eastern here on c-span 3. and the book tv is in prime time as well wa a look at the future. steven pink ert forged the thought pro says behind
extremism and authoritarianism in his book enlightment now. then we have policy reforms to address economic inquality, climate change, and more in its better than it looks. and later andrew keen with how to fix the future. after that, microsoft president brad smith discussions artificial intelligence in the future computed. and we'll show retired air force major general robert lattice who examines the future of warfare and evolving technologies in future war. book tv all this week in prime time starting at 8:00 p.m. eastern over an c-span 2. and tuesday an early look at the road to the white house 2020 with ohio republican governor john kasich. the 2016 presidential candidate troofls new hampshire to speak at new england college. our live coverage starts at 5:30 eastern and that will be on
c-span. tonight on the communicators, ncta president michael powell is interviewed by kyle daily of politico. >> my own belief is what's happening to facebook today was predictable and inevitable to some degree. i think that essentially you have a brilliant platform-based advertising model that essential essentially emphasize precision propaganda. and that can be used for good or for evil. i think that you have this mythology, almost, in the opening decade of the internet that information always wants to be free and available, that openness is always good. and i don't think there was a full thinking through the twha o -- that one could inject into that social stream evil and negative behavior. i think as various forces have matured and learned how the
products work, they're learning how to take advantage of them to own -- for their own purposes. >> watch the communicators tonight at 8:00 eastern on c-span 2. tonight, on landmark cases, griswold v. connecticut, estelle griswold of planned parent hood challenged a connecticut law banning the prescription and use of birth control. supreme court ultimately ruled the statute to be unconstitutional and in the process established a right to privacy that is still evolving today. our guest to discuss this case are helen alva ray, law professor at george mason university's ant ton and skillea law school. and the social dean of research at temple university. watch landmark cases tonight and join the conversation. our hash tagging is landmark cases and follow us at c-span. and we very resources on our
remember site for background on each case. the landmark cases companion book, a link to the national constitution centers interactive cons t tution, and the landmark cases podcast. each week american artifacts takes viewers into archives, museums, and historic sites around the country. the national archives center for legislative archives in washington, d.c. houses clifford berryman's popular political cartoons from the early 20th century. his work is still relevant 100 years later and season featured in the journal of the white house historical association. we take a look at mr. berryman's cartoons with martha grove and jessie kratz. >> he was one of the most renoun and wilde