Southern California cartoonist and humorist Lalo Alcaraz (La Cucaracha and The Pocho Hour of Power) has been on a roll these past few months with his Obama-inspired ethnobilia. I love his George Washington riff (above left), released in '08. Does any politician in memory have a better smile than Obama?
Now comes the Jan. 26 issue of the New Yorker, with a dour and not nearly as delightful rendition. Too bad the mag gave the commission to someone else (Drew Friedman) when Alcaraz's take is a much more accurate barometer of the nation's celebratory inaugural mood. True, serious and grave matters are pressing in, and true, the real George Washington reportedly had very bad teeth, but a moment to pause and feel the joy (and credit the guy who came up with the idea for the image first) is not a bad thing.
Lalo’s Obama image was a popular image during the 2008 presidential campaign. The Latino Inaugural Celebration Executive Committee presented Lalo’s political cartoon artwork during the Presidential Inauguration. Lalo’s cartoons were used by many activists and organizers in California and nationwide during the 2009 campaign to rally the Latino vote and recruit new voters into the political process. I understand that Lalo’s image appeared as an editorial cartoon in February/March 2008 in possibly the L.A. Weekly, and on the internet, including the popular editorial cartoon site cagle.com on MSNBC. The image also appeared in a color Sunday cartoon in his daily nationally syndicated La Cucaracha comic strip, as seen locally in the Los Angeles Times, and in over 65 newspapers nationwide. It also appeared in a YouTube video, and on hundreds of posters and magnets sold at political events in Southern California.
**Alcaraz discusses the vagaries of artistic and intellectual ownership with NYC-based cartoonist Ted Rall on the Pocho Hour of Power radio show, today at 4pm on KPFK, 90.7 FM.