Susie Cagle Susie Cagle, 2/23/2007 [Archive]

Walter Reed Military Hospital A Little More Editorial A Little Less Cartoony

Walter Reed Military Hospital: A Little More Editorial, A Little Less Cartoony

American cartoonists walk the line between being editorial heavyweights and gag-writers: some topics call for more of the former, some for the latter. The recent Walter Reed hospital scandal is a sterling (mold-infested, leaky) example of heavy-hearted cartoonists taking on a serious topic with biting sarcasm and a sense of absurdity, but without the one-liners.

In Mike Keefe's Walter Reed "warehouse," patients are delivered on forklifts. RJ Matson portrays an injured soldier being told not to "get too comfortable" in his new disgusting, rat-infested Walter Reed quarters. And Pat Bagley's Walter Reed accommodates an injured soldier, four rats, two roaches, a gossip rag and a TV tuned to Anna Nicole: "Is this a great country or what?"

The small number of cartoons on the topic is a testament not to the significance of the scandal, but to the power of editorial and audience control. Some editors and readers expect editorial cartoons to make them laugh out loud, not to make them think. We aren't seeing more Walter Reed cartoons because, well, they're just not very funny.

Susie Cagle is a graduate of the Columbia School of Journalism. She currently lives in Brooklyn, New York and works as a freelance writer. Reach her at

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Related Cartoons

Walter Reed Veterinarian Hospital
By: Pat Bagley

February 22, 2007

Conditions At Walter Reed Army Medical Center-COLOR
By: R.J. Matson

February 22, 2007

Conditions At Walter Reed Army Medical Center
By: R.J. Matson

February 22, 2007

Walter Reed Warehouse
By: Mike Keefe
The Denver Post
February 22, 2007

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