2012 Lecture

Garry Trudeau
Garry Trudeau
Creator of Doonesbury

“Satire is unfair.  It’s rude and uncivil.  It lacks balance and proportion, and it obeys none of the normal rules of engagement.  Satire picks a one-sided fight, and the more its intended target reacts, the more its practitioner gains the advantage.  And if that weren’t enough, this savage , unregulated sport is protected by the United States Constitution.  Cool, huh?” 

--Garry Trudeau, on the 25th anniversary of "Doonesbury''

In a career drawing Doonesbury that began when he was 21 years old, Trudeau has created -- and thrived on -- controversy.  He began ``Bull Tales'' in 1968 as a student at Yale University’s School of Art and Architecture, and the comic strip later turned into Doonesbury.  Comic strips typically didn't veer into politics but Trudeau's characters took them there. In 1975 he won the Pulitzer Prize, the first time the prize was awarded to a comic-strip artist. Among his numerous awards, Trudeau received the Yale Doctor of Humane Letters in 1976, and in 1977 he received an Academy Award nomination and won a Jury Prize from Cannes Festival in 1978 for his film “A Doonesbury Special.” He has written over 60 books and is syndicated in more than 1,400 newspapers around the world. 

Trudeau supports Homeward Bound Adirondacks, a program to help rehabilitate soldiers suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and other emotional problems after serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. While he opposes the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, he honors the men and women who fought in them. “As far as I’m concerned, there is no subject that’s off the table… I’ve been writing about the horrors of war for almost a decade. War should be an extremely sensitive subject, but because of the American genius for denial, it isn’t. So my goal there has been to sensitize, to encourage readers to think about the wrenching sacrifices being made by the military in our name.”

His commitment to confronting the hottest political issues runs from his beginning cartoons on feminism and the Vietnam War to his recent run of strips lampooning Texas's mandate of invasive sonograms before abortions -- a topic that led some newspapers to either withhold the series of strips or move it to their opinion pages or Web sites only.

The board of directors of The Herb Block Foundation created an annual Herblock Lecture to accompany the awarding of The Herblock Prize for editorial cartooning.  The prize was established to honor the courage and independence of Herb Block, whose cartoons graced the pages of The Washington Post more than half a century.