Primary color: New York Times comic on Asheville politics

It will come as a surprise to few that Asheville is full of fodder for comic strips. And lest anyone doubt it, today the New York Times’ online edition features a seven-panel strip — Primary Pen & Ink: Asheville, N.C. — that explores the range of political sentiments here in the run-up to the May 6 primary election.

The strip, by Campbell Robertson, begins the story at the weekly meeting of Drinking Liberally at the Asheville Pizza Company on Coxe Avenue, and goes on to caricature a slew of recognizable locals, from “blogger/therapist” Gordon Smith of Scrutiny Hooligans (where we first learned of the comic strip) and former Asheville Mayor Leni Sitnick. Click here to have a gander.

— Jon Elliston, managing editor



About Jon Elliston
Former Mountain Xpress managing editor Jon Elliston is the senior editor at WNC magazine.

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7 thoughts on “Primary color: New York Times comic on Asheville politics

  1. We much prefer our liberals sitting and drinking to excess, rotting what few brain cells they have left, instead of messing in the grownup’s game of mountain politics.

    Which even WE don’t understand.

    And which the NY TIMES _CERTAINLY_ does not comprehend.

    As to Asheville, we likes to think of it as a mere stagnant little frogpond in an otherwise nice mountain pasture. Asheville SURELY no longer represents the thinking of Western North Carolina or much anywhere else in the known Universe.

  2. Jeff Fobes

    Robertson is talented at drawing, and he clearly spent some time in a few places around town. And of course it’s a compliment to get the attention from the big city and the big-media guys.

    But insights? Almost anyone who lives here and is paying attention knows this stuff — which argues my belief why and how “local matters”: When you move out and away from the local perspective, you lose granularity, and instead of seeing indviduals there’s a tendency to see stereotypes.

    The NYT has a hard time doing more than sending someone down here for a day or two to capture a glimpse of community at the street level.

    But what turns out to be so special, compelling, poignantly human — and ultimately, more interactive — is local news told from the local perspective, by people who live here and know the beat.

  3. I agree, Jeff. I initially thought Robertson was a “local” artist, whose work had been picked up by the NYT. Thus the congrats. I should’ve known better!

  4. mmmmbop

    Now wait a second. You didn’t congratulate him because he was local, you congratulated him because his work was “wonderful and evocative.”
    Is it less so now that he is not local? Were you not being earnest in your compliments, Anne?

    Were you being insincere in your first comment—do you not find it to be what you said it is, wonderful and evocative?

    I just don’t think you should feel compelled to reverse yourself, that you “should have known better,” just because he isn’t a local.

  5. He’s still deserving of congratulations, and I’m not reversing my stance that his work is very good. However, I did immediately jump to congratulate him because having a local cartoonist published in the NYT would be exciting (to me, at least). I might have been less quick to congratulate him had I realized he’s NYT staff. Guess that is insincere of me! What I meant by “I should have known better” is that I should have known that the NYT would send one of their staffers down here to capture our zeitgeist as opposed to hiring a local to give his or her compelling and knowledgeable perspective.

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