One need not go far to imagine opportunities for a political cartoonist in today’s political upheaval. Mike Luckovich is local – The Atlanta Journal-Constitution – and has won two Pulitzer prizes. “A Very Stable Genius!” is a compilation of cartoons not autobiographical. He does throw in a few paragraphs about how he despises Fox News and his imagination of Trump “pooping in a punch bowl” and serving it to the Pope.
“My views on Melania are a little more nuanced. There are times I feel sorry for her putting up with that orange cretin, but then I remind myself that she signed up for it.”
There is no middle ground here. Like his views or not, Luckovich is adept at his craft. We asked him a few questions about his inspiration for the book and his political opinions.
AJT: How do you relate to today’s political climate?
Luckovich: There’s so much content with Trump. It’s like being married to a nymphomaniac … fun at first and then it becomes a nightmare.
AJT: Which comes to you first: the words or the drawing?
Luckovich: The words first, but I come up with ideas all day, then go into “panic mode” to decide. It’s like the jigsaw pieces come together.
AJT: Were you talented as a child?
Luckovich: I went to a Catholic School in Idaho and was always doodling cartoons of the nuns and priest. I was not a great student – took no notes – but had interesting drawings.
AJT: Now that the AJC has a dual (Conservative) cartoon alongside you, have you ever felt inclined towards the other side’s view?
Luckovich: I have a natural liberal alignment: Fighting climate change, diversity inclusion, a better living wage. I don’t like guns.
AJT: What book has impressed you?
Luckovich: “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass.” Note the most religious people were the cruelest slave owners.
AJT: What is your connection to the Jewish community?
Luckovich: I was one of two non-Jewish members of ZBT frat at the University of Washington. They had the highest GPAs on campus until I came along and I lowered the average. A few years ago, I was the keynote speaker at the ZBT national convention in Atlanta.
AJT: What stands out most about the Jewish community to you?
Luckovich: Jewish readers are so up on the news, so smart. It’s so great to be able to talk with people who know what’s going on … as a political cartoonist. The understanding creates a strong camaraderie and connection.
AJT: You remind me of two movie stars. Ever hear that?
Luckovich: Yes, Michael Keaton and Jack Nicholson!
Mike Luckovich appears at the Book Festival 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 4.