Category Archives: Robert Ariail

Great to be ‘working with’ Robert Ariail again


Back during the years when I worked with Robert Ariail, he would occasionally pay me the great compliment of saying I was the one editor he’d worked with who “thought like a cartoonist.” He had respect for my cartoon ideas, which is not always the way it goes between a word guy and an artist. (He also knew when to ignore my ideas, which was important.)

He never really needed my ideas, but it was fun for me to brainstorm with him — maybe some of the best fun I ever had as a journalist.

Well, I ran into him today at Lizard’s Thicket — he had just had a solitary lunch before heading back up to Camden — and he paid me another compliment, telling me two of his recent cartoons were inspired, at least in part, by things he’d read on this blog.

The one above came from this post, and the one below from my making fun repeatedly of the monotonously pandering intro to Catherine Templeton’s name in all her press releases.

It’s great to be “working with” Robert again, even it it’s for free…


Anyone have any idea what I’m doing that bugs Google?

The cartoon that started the fuss back in 2010. In case you forget, it was about Nikki Haley calling for transparency for everyone but herself...

The cartoon that started the fuss back in 2010. In case you forget, it was about Nikki Haley calling for transparency for everyone but herself…

Google Adsense — the folks who place the more random-seeming ads on this blog — sent me this warning recently. I just wish I knew what it was I did that they don’t like — because while the money I get from Google for those ads is a tiny trickle, it’s better than nothing, so I’d hate to see them pull the ads altogether.

Here’s what they said:

Dear Publisher,

This Google Publisher Policy Report gives you an overview of recent activity related to violations found on specific pages of your websites. As enforcement statuses may change over time, please refer to the “Page-level enforcements” section of the AdSense Policy Center for the current list of active violations.

Please note this report doesn’t cover violations that may happen on an overall site or account level. You may be notified by a separate email if site or account level violations are found. Ads will continue to serve where no policy violations have been found, either at the page- or site-level.

In the last 24 hours:

  • New violations were detected. As a result, ad serving has been restricted or disabled on pages where these violations of the AdSense Program Policies were found. To resolve the issues, you can either remove the violating content and request a review, or remove the ad code from the violating pages.

Further details on enforcements can be found in the AdSense Help Center. To learn more about our program policies, please view the AdSense Program Policies.

Kind regards,
Google Publisher Policy

The particular post that is seen as being in violation was this one from 2010, in which I rebutted people who were offended by a Robert Ariail cartoon. All Google tells me is that it contains “Dangerous or derogatory content.” Google further defines that this way:

As stated in our program policies, Google ads may not be placed on pages that contain content that:

  • Threatens or advocates for harm on oneself or others;

  • Harasses, intimidates or bullies an individual or group of individuals;

  • Incites hatred against, promotes discrimination of, or disparages an individual or group on the basis of their race or ethnic origin, religion, disability, age, nationality, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, or other characteristic that is associated with systemic discrimination or marginalization.

Of course, neither my post nor Robert’s cartoon did any of those things, although there were people who managed to twist logic enough to be offended. Perhaps one of them complained to Google. Well, sorry, folks, but this is a political commentary blog, and that cartoon was legitimate commentary that made a highly relevant political point at the time.

Even if you do find a way to be offended, it completely escapes me how this seven-year-old post constitutes a “new violation.” This post was old and moldy before I ever started running Google ads. And the last comment on it was posted on Aug. 14, 2010. There’s nothing new there. In fact, reading over it just now I found some glaring typos, but I’m not going to touch them in case that makes the post more current to some algorithm out there.

The only way Google offers me to question this ruling is to “request review,” which I have done. I don’t get to offer a defense or anything; I just click on “request review,” and they say this:

What’s happening

You’ve requested a review for this page and we’re currently looking into it. Reviews typically take 1 week but sometimes can take longer. We’ll let you know when the review is complete.

We’ll see.

One of Robert’s best cartoons EVER

stain on a dress

It’s been interesting to watch the writers at The Wall Street Journal begin their shift from fighting the Trump juggernaut with all their might (standing alongside me in pushing for Kasich), to getting back into their comfort zone by going after Hillary.

This column today, reminding us of all the Clinton scandals, is a case in point.

As if people who know better have an alternative to Hillary, not matter how many unpleasant memories she represents.

I’m not joining that trend, but it reminds me of something, so I thought I’d share this, one of Robert Ariail’s best ever. Bill Clinton was a huge inspiration to Robert, which is one reason why he was a Pulitzer finalist twice during that era.

This one, from 1998 I believe, exhibits one of Robert’s signature strengths — his inspired use of language as well as his drawing ability.

I was looking for this cartoon yesterday to stick into a comment, but since Robert went to the trouble to dig it up for me, I thought I’d give it better play than that.

Fun to be on the page with Robert (and Cindi) again

better page

“They’re back and they’re bad!”

“When they get together, Trouble comes a-runnin’!”

“Confederate Agenda II: Just when you thought it was safe to read the paper again…”

I’m thinking taglines for a cheesy sequel buddy action flick after seeing the page today in The State with Robert Ariail paired with me once again — my column with his cartoon. A lot of friends have commented on that — favorably. Although when Mike Fitts said it was “Just like old times,” Neil White, being himself, responded that “they were celebrating Throwback Tuesday over there.”

“It’s Throwback Tuesday. Don’t turn that page!”

Anyway, it’s great to be back with Robert in print today, even though it’s only today. And to be back with Cindi Scoppe, of course. I’ve been working with her off and on since the weekend, strategizing about what I was going to write and the best time to run it, then working together through the editing process. And I was aware that she was writing two editorials that would run with my piece — this one congratulating the Senate, and this one exhorting the House to follow the Senate’s example — whereas Robert’s cartoon was more of a nice surprise.

Now that was even more like old times. I haven’t even seen my buddy Robert this week, but working on this with Cindi was a very pleasant return to the alternative universe where everything is as it should be.

I even called her to ask for a PDF of the page today, to have a souvenir of the occasion (nowadays, things don’t seem real without a digital version). An inferior JPG image is above. Click on it, and you get the PDF.

Happy Elephant Day, Republicans (courtesy of Thomas Nast)!

Nast elephant

I learned this from a Tweet today:

On this day in 1874, in a Thomas Nast cartoon, the Republican Party was symbolized as an elephant for the first time

You know, that’s gotta be a bitter pill for some in the GOP to swallow — their symbol was given them by a hero of the MSM.

I must remember to mention this to Robert Ariail, who has a special bond to Nast — he was judged best cartoonist in the world in 1997 by the Overseas Press Club, which gave him their prestigious Thomas Nast Award.

By the way, here’s an explanation of the Nast cartoon that ran on Nov. 7 1874.

A couple of Ariail cartoons for you tree-huggers out there

Ariail CVSC

Ann Timberlake of Conservation Voters of South Carolina used the above Robert Ariail cartoon, from back in July, to illustrate this release today:


This morning’s article in The State on the Pinewood landfill and the risk of hazardous waste leaking into Lake Marion reminds us all of the importance of strong leadership to protect our drinking water and our natural areas. We are troubled by the conflicting reports about DHEC and oversight at the landfill.  Governor Haley’s silence is notable.

A green governor would stand up to out-of-state polluters, and guard against the waste that would poison our lakes.

I urge you to keep that in mind as you head to the polls next Tuesday.

I’m glad to see Ms. Timberlake is a fan. But aren’t we all?

She could also have included this other one, from this week…


That classic Ariail cartoon I couldn’t find the other day

Bent but not broken_cmyk

On Wednesday, I had wanted to use the above cartoon with my post about remembering The State‘s coverage of Hurricane Hugo in 1989.

It’s one of Robert Ariail’s most popular ever, and it served a good cause — it was turned into a poster, copies of which were sold, and the proceeds donated to disaster relief.

Unfortunately, it’s from the pre-digital days, so I couldn’t find it online.

Robert was kind enough to email this to me, so I share it now.

The original that ran in the paper was black-and-white, although color was added for the posters. After scanning the original to share it with us, Robert photoshopped in some color to recreate the poster effect…

Robert Ariail has a fan in Hollywood: actor James Woods

I found myself briefly glancing over the Twitter feed of actor James Woods this morning, and was pleased to run across this Tweet:

I’m glad to see he appreciates our good friend Robert Ariail.

Given the tone of the rest of the actor’s feed (decidedly anti-Obama), he’d probably appreciate this one from today as well:

Speaking of which — wow, but the president certainly is on a losing streak on the global stage. It’s stunning the way our failure to reach a Status of Forces agreement in Iraq (due to the president’s unseemly hurry to leave) has led to the victories of ISIS.

And we think we’re going to stop that with some drone attacks?

Will the same thing happen in Afghanistan, with our election-cycle-oriented departure date from there? There seems to be good reason to think so.

Your Virtual Front Page, Friday, January 10, 2014

A sort of middling news day:

  1. Just as Hopes Were Lifting, a Meager Growth in Payrolls (NYT) — I went with this version because the headline best explained the stakes.
  2. U.S. to dump contractor (WashPost) — CGI Federal will be replaced by Accenture.
  3. Target Says 70 Million Individuals’ Data May Have Been Stolen (NPR) — But wait — the NYT says it’s more like 110 million.
  4. CAR resignation brings joy and fear (The Guardian) — The continuing unholy mess in Central Africa.
  5. N.J. Lawmakers Release New Bridge-Lane Closure Records (WSJ) — It sucks to be Chris Christie this week.
  6. Hollande attacks report of affair (BBC) — He indicates he may sue. But I wonder: Is this sort of thing even considered defamatory in France?

Robert Ariail’s perspective on Sanford’s win


Since we have the last installment of Clare’s report on the Mark Sanford campaign today, I thought I’d also share Robert Ariail’s take on the Sanford victory.

Robert said he’d had this idea kicking around since election night, and just decided to go ahead and do it for today, before he lost the opportunity completely…

Your Virtual Front Page, Thursday, March 21, 2013

Not much local, but the rest of the world is busy:

  1. Crisis in Cyprus pushes E.U. toward rupture (WashPost) — Just to help you feel better about our economic situation. Not that this doesn’t hold the potential to pull us down with it…
  2. Obama Lays Out Case for Israel to Revive Peace Talks (NYT) — Interestingly, he’s not calling on Israel to halt settlements any more.
  3. Syria-Israel cease-fire is threatened, U.N. chief says (WashPost) — As though we didn’t have enough of a mess over there.
  4. Chumley will not pay back state plane costs ( — Because, you know, we taxpayers are supposed to pick up the tab for his nullification crusade straight out of the 1830s.
  5. CIA Drone Operations Could Be Handed To Pentagon (NPR) — This is kind of old now, but important. I think it’s a good idea. What do y’all think?
  6. India passes sexual violence law (The Guardian) — Well, it’s about time. Talk about a country where there’s an actual “war on women” going on…

In honor of our late friend, Doug Nye

Some of the guys in the tent backstage at “Pride and Prejudice” Saturday night were talking about the football debacle in Florida. I almost said something about the “Chicken Curse,” which was discovered and documented by the late great Doug Nye of The State, but I reflected that some of those guys were too young to know about the “Curse,” and the older ones might resent my bringing it up.

My and Doug’s old comrade Robert Ariail experienced no such hesitation.

Robert’s Carolina Cup poster

Robert Ariail has done a poster for the upcoming Carolina Cup, and prints are for sale:

The good folks at Camden’s National Steeplechase Museum commissioned me to create a cartoon poster commemorating The Carolina Cup’s 80th anniversary. This is what I came up with: a New Yorkeresque cartoon contrasting the race goers’ styles from the 1930s to today. They have printed only 80 copies which I have signed. The price is $50.
Anyone interested should Google Carolina Cup and you can order a poster online.
The posters are large- 18 x 24 inches.
Hurry, before they’re all gone
The original watercolor and ink cartoon is also for sale. Contact me for more information.

Whether you’re in the market or not, I thought y’all would enjoy seeing it.