Saint John — The few remaining employees at the Brunswick News Inc. papers are now being asked to bring in their children’s drawings, which will become editorial cartoons to replace those of fired artist Michael de Adder.
De Adder was let go, ostensibly without cause, but actually in relation to a recent cartoon criticizing Donald Trump that went viral.
“We want original content, but we don’t want it to cause a stir or attract any kind of attention from anyone,” said Jim Irving, president of BNI. “Unfortunately, de Adder’s cartoons are often trying to ‘say something’ or ‘convey a message,’ and that’s not what we’re about at Brunswick News. What’s wrong with a nice picture of a smiling family? Or a drawing of a house with a sun in the corner wearing sunglasses?”
Debbie Morrison, a reporter with the Telegraph-Journal in Saint John, said she brought in a few works of art by her 6- and 8-year-old sons.
“They can’t draw for shit, but hey, whatever doesn’t get me fired is something I have to do,” she said with a sigh.
“I mean, look at this one,” she continued, holding out a crude pencil rendering of the family dog, with its eyes in the middle of its face, a disproportionate body and no tail. “How can this be an editorial cartoon? But I suppose if the entire front page of the paper can be just an ad for the local Chevy dealership, anything goes these days.”
We asked Irving if kids will be paid for their work.
“Huh! Not likely,” he huffed. “To them it’s not even work. They’re already making this stuff that’s perfect for our brand — you know…pleasant, inoffensive, and with no meaning at all — and their parents are simply bringing it to work instead of putting it on the fridge for three days then trashing it. What we’re doing is victimless, unlike the ‘satirical’ works of a loose-cannon cartoonist. De Adder should have taken a page from these kids’ colouring books.”
New Brunswickers have grown accustomed to de Adder’s take on current affairs, and say it’s a shame he’s been let go — but that it’s not surprising.
“This was a long time coming, sadly,” said Victoria Monteith, longtime subscriber. “Every day the paper somehow sinks lower, veers further away from journalism. I don’t even read it anymore — I just use it to line the litterbox. Hell, even my cat could see that de Adder’s days were numbered.”
Irving boasted that the news organization has managed to secure up-and-coming artist Kylee MacPherson, 5, of Ms. Jordan’s kindergarten class for a four-week unpaid contract.
“This child is a true prodigy, colouring within the lines 85 per cent of the time, and never alluding to controversial political issues in her work whatsoever. We see great potential in this young lady — before you know it she’ll be joining our ranks as a court reporter/features editor/copy editor/unpaid weekend sports photographer. We just fired our last one for insubordination and need to replace him, so the timing works out.”