Pulitzer Polka

Joel Pett is the Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist of the Lexington Herald-Leader. His work also appears in USA Today.

Cartoonists live to demean sacred institutions, so it should surprise nobody that we privately snipe at the growing number of journalism awards, even as we covet them.

Signe Wilkinson of the Philadelphia Daily News deadpans that the Pulitzer Prize for editorial cartoons is held in about the same regard as the Pulitzer for floral arrangements and laundry sorting. I like to remind people that there's a Grammy for best polka album too, but does anyone care?

Our self-inflicted barbs invite charges of sour grapes if we've been denied the big awards or faux modesty if we've won them.

The 2005 Pulitzer for editorial cartoons went to Nick Anderson at the Louisville Courier-Journal. It's always good when Kentucky is recognized for something besides bourbon or mobile meth lab output.

The second annual Herblock Prize, part of the legacy of the legendary Washington Post cartoonist, was claimed by Tony Auth of the Philadelphia Inquirer, who has been among the best for almost four decades. Tony won the Pulitzer in 1976. I think it was for best polka album.

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