Herblock Looks at: 1967 | 1966 | 1965 | 1964 | 1963 | 1962 | 1961 | Communism

Herblock Looks at 1967: Fifty Years Ago in Editorial Cartoons, Part II

In 1967, during the third year of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s administration, Herblock addressed his long-held beliefs about the environment and protecting the poor through his cartoons. Having been raised to look out for the little guy, he extolled people whose investigations led to better quality products and equipment to protect consumers. Herblock supported regulations that improved accountability in the pharmaceutical industry and applauded efforts to make drug prices fair. He used his cartoons to promote consumer advocate Ralph Nader’s work to make the automobile and meat packing industries safer. As a reformed smoker, the cartoonist promoted the Federal Trade Commission’s stricter advertising guidelines for cigarette companies.

Herblock focused on international affairs as well. He advocated for less bombing in Vietnam and disparaged military strategy by invoking Charles Schulz’s beloved character, Snoopy in the role of the Red Baron. After the Six-Day War, after Gamal Abdel Nasser and his pan-Arab nationalists suffered a crushing defeat at the hands of Israel, Herblock caricatured the Egyptian president.

Currently on exhibit: September 16, 2017–March 10, 2018

STUMP SPEAKER

Herblock’s first cartoon, in 1929, was about clearcut logging, and throughout his seventy-two-year career environmental issues remained one of his major concerns. Colorado Democrat Wayne Aspinall (1896–1983) chair of the House Interior Committee in 1967, chose not to act on Senate compromise legislation to protect California’s Redwood Creek Valley from the lumber industry. Lobbying pressure from the Sierra Club and the National Geographic Society to save old stand redwood trees compelled Congress to pass legislation to create Redwood National Park in 1968.

Stump Speaker, 1967. Published in the Washington Post, December 12, 1967. Graphite, India ink, and opaque white over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (001.13.00) LC-DIG-hlb-06950 © Herb Block Foundation

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ONWARD AND UPWARD AND ONWARD AND—

Using the Johnson administration’s justifications for its bombing campaign in Vietnam as a metaphor for escalation, Herblock portrays a U.S. citizen gingerly climbing warheads. Americans criticized President Johnson for his policies, arguing that bombing alienated the non-Communists of Vietnam and destroyed attempts at nation-building in South Vietnam. By the end of 1967, Block complained that “We had dropped more tons of bombs on North and South Vietnam than we had on all of Europe in World War II.”

Onward and Upward and Onward and—, 1967. Published in the Washington Post, April 23, 1967. Graphite, India ink, and opaque white over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (002.13.00)
LC-DIG-hlb-06786 © Herb Block Foundation

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“PRAISE ALLAH —YOU’RE YOUR OLD SELF AGAIN!”

Having suffered a crushing defeat during the Six-Day War (June 5–June 11) against Israel earlier in the year, Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser announced he would prevent the passage of Israeli ships through the Suez Canal until Israel retreated from the Sinai Peninsula. While Herblock negatively portrays Nasser as a crazed despot with a Napoleonic complex, in reality the failure of the Arab Defense Pact and the loss of his air force compelled Nasser to acknowledge that Egypt no longer had the military capability to engage in war with Israel, and he sought economic means to force negotiations.

“Praise Allah—You’re Your Old Self Again!” 1967. Published in the Washington Post, November 26, 1967. Graphite, India ink, and opaque white over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (003.13.00)
LC-DIG-hlb-06939 © Herb Block Foundation

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“THEY’RE SIMPLE, HAPPY FOLK—KNOWLEDGE WOULD JUST CONFUSE THEM”

Equating a usurious lender with a whip-wielding slave driver, Herblock portrays the greedy practices bankers and retailers had shown toward the American poor who required credit in order to make major purchases. When banks refused to make loans to poor Americans, retailers and loan companies offered credit at extraordinarily high interest rates. Arguing that spelling out the terms of borrowing up front, would help consumers shop for the best credit possible, President Johnson encouraged Congress to pass the Truth in Lending Act, which they did in 1968.

“They’re Simple, Happy Folk —Knowledge Would Just Confuse Them,” 1967. Published in the Washington Post, April 19, 1967. Graphite, India ink, and opaque white drawing over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (004.13.00)
LC-DIG-hlb-06783 © Herb Block Foundation

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SNOOPY, AS THE “RED BARON,” WWI FLYING ACE

Reacting to military testimony before the Senate Preparedness Investigation Committee about pilot loss in Vietnam, Herblock invokes the popular comic strip character from Peanuts, Snoopy. In an allusion to Charles Schulz’s frequent use of his character as a World War I flying ace, Herblock uses irony to attack the military’s argument that pilots would be safer if only the military were permitted to attack targets in North Vietnam. Navy jets had already begun to target Haiphong in North Vietnam, a major port city.

[Snoopy, as the Red Baron, on Top of His Dog House], 1967. Published in the Washington Post, October 27, 1967. Graphite, India ink, and opaque white with overlay over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (005.13.00)
LC-DIG-hlb-06918 © Herb Block Foundation

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“IT WAS A REAL WONDER DRUG —I KEPT WONDERING ABOUT IT”

Between 1965 and 1967, the Food and Drug Administration enforced stringent laws against the pharmaceutical industry, whose failure to properly research and test the drugs they marketed led to bodily harm and deaths. Morton Mintz, Herblock’s colleague at the Washington Post published an indictment against industry practices in The Therapeutic Nightmare (1965), which he updated in 1967 as By Prescription Only. Herblock admired Mintz, who had exposed the dangers of thalidomide and other drugs that caused birth defects in pregnant women.

“It Was a Real Wonder Drug —I Kept Wondering About It,” 1967. Published in the Washington Post, January 3, 1967. Graphite, India ink, and opaque white over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (006.13.00)
LC-DIG-hlb-06709 © Herb Block Foundation

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“WELL, HERE GOES”

Depicting the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) as a knight prepared to slay the dragon of cigarette advertising to protect consumers, Herblock advocates for the introduction of stricter Cigarette Advertising Guides than the FTC had introduced in 1955 that had prevented manufacturers from making health claims. In 1967, in an effort to discourage teenagers from smoking, the FTC began to publish nicotine and tar ratings and urged the industry to use them in advertising, as well as more explicit language about smoking’s negative health effects.

“Well, Here Goes,” 1967. Published in the Washington Post, July 7, 1967. Graphite, ink, and opaque white over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (007.13.00)
LC-DIG-hlb-06840 © Herb Block Foundation

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“THAT GUY NADER MAKES ME SICK”

Using irony to reinforce his opinion that the meat industry needed improvement, Herblock advocated for U.S. Senator Walter Mondale’s proposed federal regulation to close loopholes in the existing meat safety legislation, the Federal Meat Inspection Act of 1907. Ralph Nader (b. 1934), a public interest attorney, supported new legislation, arguing that industry practices exposed consumers to contaminated food. President Johnson signed the Wholesome Meat Act of 1967 into law on December 15, 1967. Both Nader and author Upton Sinclair were present for Johnson’s signing. Sinclair’s novel The Jungle (1906) had led to the initial meat industry reforms.

“That Guy Nader Makes Me Sick,” 1967. Published in the Washington Post, November 15, 1967. Graphite, India ink, and opaque white over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (008.13.00)
LC-DIG-hlb-06931 © Herb Block Foundation

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“LOOK AT ALL THE RESEARCH WE HAVE TO DO”

During Senate hearings into the drug industry’s price-gouging tactics, the pharmaceutical industry argued that the costs of research and testing drugs, many of which never made it to market, made it necessary to pass on costs to consumers. Herblock reacted to William F. Haddad’s testimony that the inflation was up to 4000% of the costs of manufacturing drugs and that the industry also persuaded doctors that generic alternatives were unsafe. Haddad later received a Pulitzer Prize nomination for his investigative journalism for exposing the wide variation in drug industry pricing.

“Look at All the Research We Have to Do,” 1967. Published in the Washington Post, May 16, 1967. Graphite, India ink, and opaque white with overlay over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (009.13.00)
LC-DIG-hlb-06802 © Herb Block Foundation

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“OUR ALIBI WILL BE THAT THE SAFETY BELT CREATED EXTRA FOOT PRESSURE ON THE ACCELERATOR”

As passenger safety became paramount, the automobile industry pushed back on new regulations by increasing vehicle prices. Herblock admired Ralph Nader who had promoted automobile safety in his 1965 book, Unsafe at Any Speed, writing, “Nader even kept an eye on the costs of the safety devices, for which some auto manufacturers tried to make the consumer pay many times their worth.” Later, as the industry adjusted to the new regulations, manufacturers used safety features as a marketing tool.

“Our Alibi Will Be That the Safety Belt Created Extra Foot Pressure on the Accelerator,” 1967. Published in the Washington Post, June 2, 1967. Graphite, India ink, and opaque white over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (010.13.00)
LC-DIG-hlb-06815 © Herb Block Foundation

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Herblock Looks at 1967: Fifty Years Ago in Editorial Cartoons, Part I

In 1967, during the third year of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s (1908–1973) administration, Herblock drew some of his most powerful cartoons on issues about which he cared deeply. He continued to voice his strong concerns about environmental conditions and gun control legislation. Alarmed by the government’s secret actions against its citizens, Herblock exposed corruption. He advocated for less bombing in Vietnam, and more accountability on the part of the military. Not only focused on domestic policy, Herblock cautioned against revenge from international trading partners for changes in tariffs.

A cause that greatly disturbed him was racial inequality and the government’s lack of progress in dealing with conditions that affected the urban poor. During the summer of 1967, riots erupted in large and small cities as slum dwellers chafed at the lack of economic opportunity, inadequate living conditions, and police brutality. In spite of Johnson’s lauded War on Poverty, Herblock decried that the program had been underfunded and was infuriated by the unwillingness of Congress to make aid to the poor a top priority.

Exhibition dates: March 18, 2017–September 9, 2017

DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE

When the leftist magazine Ramparts revealed that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) had underwritten the National Student Association (NSA), Herblock used the literary metaphor of Alice in Wonderland, comparing the undercover activities to Alice’s falling down the rabbit hole. The NSA, a progressive coalition of university students founded in 1947, became a front for the CIA until 1967. When former Director of Development Michael Wood revealed the relationship, he said, “The specter of CIA infiltration of domestic institutions—and the covert creation of them—must horrify those who regard unfettered debate as vital to representative democracy.”

Down the Rabbit Hole, 1966. Published in the Washington Post, February 16, 1967. India ink, graphite, and opaque white over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (001.12.00)
LC-DIG-hlb-06739 © Herb Block Foundation

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ON THE BEACH

Herblock’s first cartoon, in 1929, had been about clearcut logging, and throughout his long career environmental conditions remained one of his major concerns. By drawing the title for this cartoon from Nevil Shute’s 1957 post-apocalyptic novel and showing an American family recoiling at the disgusting water, Herblock reminded his audience that pollution had doomed many creatures. When Johnson signed the Air Quality Act of 1967 into law on November 21, 1967, he quoted Dante’s Inferno, “. . . dirty water and black snow pour from the dismal air to . . . the putrid slush that waits for them below.” The Clean Water Act did not pass until 1972.

On the Beach, 1966. Published in the Washington Post, April 2, 1967. India ink, graphite, and opaque white over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (002.12.00)
LC-DIG-hlb-06771 © Herb Block Foundation

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“IF THOSE DAMNED CIVILIANS WOULD LEAVE US ALONE WE COULD WIND UP THE WHOLE THING”

As the North Vietnamese continued to supply their forces and make inroads into South Vietnam, Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, members of Congress, and General Earle G. Wheeler, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff disagreed about a bombing campaign in North Vietnam. Wheeler and his generals wanting to disable Haiphong, found resistance from civilian leaders. On November 29, 1967, McNamara accepted the presidency of the World Bank, leading Wheeler to state, “We have no intention or recommendation to change the present character of the bombing campaign.”

“If Those Damned Civilians Would Leave Us Alone We Could Wind Up the Whole Thing,” 1967. Published in the Washington Post, December 1, 1967. Graphite, India ink, and opaque white over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (003.12.00)
LC-DIG-hlb-06943 © Herb Block Foundation

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“AIN’T NOBODY HERE BUT JES’ US SPORTSMEN”

Reacting to the annual meeting of the National Rifle Association (NRA) in Washington, D.C., Herblock depicts the group as highly armed gangsters. Senator Ted Kennedy, who had lost his older brother, President John F. Kennedy, to an assassin’s bullet on November 22, 1963, spoke at the meeting to a closed-door audience. Intending to pass gun control legislation, he declared United States gun deaths “a growing national emergency.” Tragically, he lost another brother, Robert F. Kennedy (1925–1968), to an assassin four months before President Johnson signed the Gun Control Act of 1968 into law.

“Ain’t Nobody Here but Jes’ Us Sportsmen”, 1967. Published in the Washington Post, April 6, 1967. Graphite, India ink, and opaque white drawing over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (004.12.00)
LC-DIG-hlb-06774 © Herb Block Foundation

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IMPORT QUOTA PROTECTIONISTS

As the United States Congress introduced eighteen trade quota bills, the other seventy-three member nations of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) indicated that they would use the November 24, 1967, general meeting to voice their concerns. As a result, President Johnson ordered Tariff Commission Hearings, arguing that establishing quotas would set off international retaliation against American industry—a belief Herblock, by selecting a large angry bear to represent foreign trade interests, shared.

[Man labeled “import quota protectionists” trying to net small bear labeled “foreign sales to U.S.,” while large bear labeled “Retaliation against U.S. sales abroad” lurks in background],1967. Published in the Washington Post, November 12, 1967. Graphite, India ink, and opaque white over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (005.12.00)
LC-DIG-hlb-06929 © Herb Block Foundation

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“I DON'T UNDERSTAND IT—WHY CAN'T THEY BEHAVE AS IF THEY HAD GOOD EDUCATIONS, GOOD HOUSING AND GOOD JOBS?”

Reacting to incidents of police brutality, African Americans in Detroit, Michigan, and Newark, New Jersey, rioted in July 1967. By emphasizing the decay and filth in the slum, Herblock juxtaposes the insidious nature of poverty with the inability of white leaders to come to terms with the consequences of slum dwellers’ frustrations. While considering Senate anti-riot legislation, South Carolina Republican Strom Thurmond (1902–2003) argued that African Americans had no cause for discontent, while experts testified that impoverished communities needed jobs and housing.

“I Don't Understand It—Why Can’t They Behave As If They Had Good Educations, Good Housing and Good Jobs?” 1967. Published in the Washington Post, August 23, 1967. Graphite, India ink, and opaque white drawing over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (006.12.00)
LC-DIG-hlb-06872 © Herb Block Foundation

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LION IN THE STREETS

Reacting to five days of violence as a result of police brutality in Newark, New Jersey, Herblock compares the anger over injustice in the slums to a wild lion with which the United States government had offered no real solution. When a taxi driver had required hospitalization because of a police beating, local citizens intended to hold a peaceful demonstration. However, violence erupted, leaving twenty-six people, mostly African American, dead. This cartoon ran the day before a similar riot erupted in Detroit, Michigan.

Lion in the Streets, 1967. Published in the Washington Post, July 21, 1967. Graphite, ink, and opaque white over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (007.12.00)
LC-DIG-hlb-06851 © Herb Block Foundation

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LECTURE PLATFORM

During a budget cycle of “continuing resolutions,” the Johnson administration’s War on Poverty went underfunded. As poverty programs closed or relied on private charity to continue to function, Herblock compared Congress, with its perquisites and wealth as callous and cruel in its attitude toward the poor. He later wrote, “Many [in Congress] seemed to feel they could save the economy by socking the poor, whatever the ultimate cost to the nation in lives and dollars.”

Lecture Platform, 1967. Published in the Washington Post, November 14, 1967. Graphite, India ink, and opaque white over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (008.12.00)
LC-DIG-hlb-06930 © Herb Block Foundation

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“ONE SIDE, LADY—WE’RE LOOKING FOR A CONSPIRACY”

Fearing that leftist civil rights organizations, including local offices of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) had fomented riots during the summer of 1967, the Senate Permanent Sub-Committee on Investigations initiated hearings into the causes of the riots in Newark, New Jersey, and Detroit, Michigan. Herblock contrasts the determination of the investigators to blame agitators behind the racially motivated riots with the real poverty and inequality African Americans experienced in the slums.

“One Side, Lady—We're Looking for a Conspiracy”, 1967. Published in the Washington Post, November 1, 1967. Graphite, India ink, and opaque white over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (009.12.00)
LC-DIG-hlb-06921 © Herb Block Foundation

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DESTRUCTION OF CIVILIAN CENTERS, U.S.A.

With a heavy sword smashing into cities already riddled with poverty, Herblock criticizes Congress for bludgeoning American cities with budget cuts. When the Johnson administration called for a tax increase, Congress and the business community, citing expenses of the Vietnam War, requested reductions in appropriations that directly affected the urban poor. Martin Luther King, Jr., saw the Vietnam War “as an enemy of the poor,” arguing that Congress had “eviscerated” the program.

Destruction of Civilian Centers, U.S.A., 1967. Published in the Washington Post, May 14, 1967. Graphite, India ink, and opaque white over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (010.12.00)
LC-DIG-hlb-06801 © Herb Block Foundation

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Herblock Looks at: 1967 | 1966 | 1965 | 1964 | 1963 | 1962 | 1961 | Communism