What a year for those who make us laugh -- and think! There are usually a number of interesting political events in any given year, but the crazy election of 2000 gave the nation's editorial cartoonists an extra load of ammunition for their feverish imaginations. In this roundup of the best cartoons of the year, there is an entire section on "The Florida Vote," including hilarious takes on hanging, dangling, and pregnant chads; the meddlesome Jeb Bush; fashion icon Katherine Harris; and the legion of lawyers. As you would expect, George "Shrub" Bush and Al "The Robot" Gore go at it in a series of cartoons covering both the campaign and the resulting vote-counting chaos.
The exiting Clinton administration, which certainly didn't disappoint the nation's editorial cartoonists, gets a final dose of abuse, including appearances by Monica, Janet Reno, Hilary (as she makes her departure for the Senate), and the various Whitewater probe bloodhounds.
Other domestic doings chronicled in these pages include Alan Greenspan's adroit handling of the economy (and his role as "shadow president"), the rise and fall of the dot-com economy, the Supreme Court's upholding of the Boy Scouts' ban on gays, the Harry Potter craze, the contradictory role of guns and Bibles in our schools, the breaking of the human genome code, racial profiling in our biggest cities, and John Rocker's "free speech" issues.
Foreign affairs are not slighted: After all, 2000 was the "Year of Elian." The cartoonists also weigh in on the struggle for Middle East peace, Vladimir Putin (as Vlad the Impaler, in one instance), and other international inanities.
The book hits a more emotional and intimate note with heartfelt tributes to two well-loved cartoon icons who perished in 2000: Peanuts creator Charles Schulz and three-time Pulitzer Prize winner Jeff MacNelly.
This is one of my favorite reads every year. It perfectly encapsulates the events of the previous 12 months and gives new meaning to that old chestnut about a picture being worth a thousand words! (Nicholas Sinisi)
Nicholas Sinisi is the Barnes & Noble.com Nonfiction editor.