At a time when political cartoons are the international symbol for freedom of expression and an art and journalistic form that is needed more now than ever, as well as the focus of a free world expressing solidarity, the Sun Sentinel has once again come out and shown an innate ability to be tone deaf to the rest of the world and has reportedly laid off its award-winning editorial cartoonist, Chan Lowe.
Lowe, the paper's longtime editorial cartoonist, has been a staple with his sharp wit and commentary through his cartoons, addressing everything from international headlines to national politics to current events going down in Broward.
According to a report by Broward Beat's Buddy Nevins, who says he's a friend of Lowe's, the cutback also includes eight editing and writing positions at the paper.
Lowe's most recent work featured his usual sardonic wit in his take on Florida's gay marriage ban stay being lifted.
The cartoon illustrates a same-sex wedding where the devil pops out of a cake and someone in the wedding party asks, "Who invited Pam Bondi?"
His last cartoon displays the simple brilliance of Lowe's work, taking a recent quote from Jeb Bush on gay marriage and making a powerful and humorous statement.
The cartoon features a caricature of Jeb in one panel reading the paper with a Florida Gay Marriage headline and saying, "The people of the state decided. But it's been overturned by the courts, I guess." In the next panel, Lowe draws George W. Bush holding up a paper that reads "Bush v. Gore." W. says, "Nothin' wrong with that!"
With words and funny drawings, Lowe has been able to make intelligent commentary that most op-ed pieces wish they could do in 3,000 words.
And yet, in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo tragedy in France, the Sun Sentinel decided it was a good idea to lay him off.
This isn't the first time (nor will it be the last) that the Sentinel has acted in such a dense manner.
Just last month, columnist Gary Stein went on a diatribe about Ferguson and Eric Garner protesters that was so comically out of touch, it sounded like an article out of the Onion.
As for Lowe, he should be fine. His cartoons are picked up by other outlets, and he's just too damned talented to remain out of work from a permanent place for long.
This is the Sun Sentinel's loss.
Nevins says it best in summing up his thoughts on Lowe and the Sentinel:
Chan will probably hate me for writing this, but he is the son of Broadway and movie actress Carol Channing. It's a connection he almost never mentioned.
Something else he didn't advertise: He is also a fairly accomplished carpenter.
To the end, Lowe's work remained a reason to buy the Sun-Sentinel. Those reasons are becoming fewer and fewer.
I'm confident other outlets will continue to print Lowe's art and that he will do fine without the Sun-Sentinel.
I'm not so confident the Sun-Sentinel will do fine without him.
Lowe's parting is another reason why the Sun-Sentinel is in a long slide towards irrelevance and eventual oblivion.
And Lowe's fans -- and Sun-Sentinel readers -- agree.
#SunStatement: What was in Sun-Sentinel execs' minds to let cartoonist Chan Lowe & others go, & the timing?!— Sunshine Statement (@SunStatement) January 8, 2015