The Great Debate: Cartoonists Discuss Art

Grace Runkel // The Phoenix

A debate between two professional political cartoonists is slated to take place at Loyola University’s Water Tower Campus this Wednesday, April 15.

The event, which will be presented by Loyola’s School of Communication (SOC), the Chicago Tribune and Friends of the Loyola Libraries, is set to highlight opposing political views in a creative, fun setting. The Great Cartoon Debate will feature cartoonists David Fitzsimmons of the Arizona Daily Star and Scott Stantis of the Chicago Tribune. Don Wycliff, former faculty member of the SOC and former Chicago Tribune public editor, will host the event.

The SOC’s Dean Don Heider and Associate Dean John Slania developed the idea for the event and worked in collaboration with the Chicago Tribune, according to event coordinator Meghan Ashbrock.

“Given the recent attack at Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris, this is an extremely relevant time to discuss political cartooning and its place in our society,” said Ashbrock.

Stantis and Fitzsimmons said the audience can expect to be both educated and entertained, and both will provide insight from both conservative/libertarian and liberal viewpoints, respectively.

Ashbrock outlined the highlights of the night, which will include background on the cartoonists’ careers, on-the-spot drawings by the cartoonists in response to prompts provided by Wycliff and a question and answer session with the audience.

“The first half of our debate will be devoted to promising the audience that the second half of the program will be a heck of a lot better than the lousy first half featuring two cartoonists, so full of themselves they’re unbearable,” said Fitzsimmons.

Despite Fitzsimmons’ efforts to convince otherwise about their relationship, Stantis maintains that the two are friends.

“David is, in spite of his many mistaken views, an old and trusted friend,” said Stantis.

Stantis said he hopes to educate the audience on how the lighthearted nature of political cartoons can be used as an important tool of political commentary.

“I want people to be entertained and engaged at the same time,” Stantis said. “Humor is a subversive and, hence, intelligent way to persuade folks.”

Fitzsimmons said that he chose to comment on politics through political cartoons in response to the shooting of Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and 18 others in 2011. He explained he became involved in The Great Cartoon Debate because it was a good way to show that “citizens can disagree in a civil fashion.”

In addition to the cartoonists and organizers of the event, students also have high expectations for Wednesday.

“I think it will be a lot of fun and will be a great way for us to network and build our skills for the future,” said Julia Treichel, a freshman Ad/PR student at Loyola.

The Great Cartoon Debate is scheduled to take place from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. in Kasbeer Hall on the 15th floor of the Corboy Law Center (25 E. Pearson St.).

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