May 18, 2013
The Life and Death of Conrad and the Los Angeles Times
Posted on Sep 17, 2010
Paul was like other veterans of that era of what has been called the good war—maybe the last one that can be called that—like the great Ed Guthman, also a Pulitzer winner and Paul’s close friend, and that other Times Pulitzer winner, Phil Kerby, a foil for Paul’s daily journey through the editorial page compound seeking reaction to drafts of his cartoons. Those guys had a confidence to speak truth to power that derived from the deep conviction that they were guardians of the American dream of justice and liberty for all. For them it was never simply a slogan but rather their lifeblood.
There is an adage that I believe defines both the role of the free press and the progressive church that Conrad honored—the injunction to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable—an epitaph that best captures this truly great man.
Paul Conrad in his inspired works of art day after day for more than half a century never betrayed that mission. He did so with brilliance, humor, and integrity that millions came to expect from a cartoon signed “Conrad.”
We have lost an American original whose greatness deeply touched us all. Let us all be grateful for the gift to this nation that was Paul Conrad. Sadly, there will never be another quite like him. Therefore we all, particularly those of us charged in our occupation with the obligation of maintaining a free press in a democratic society, have got to try harder to keep his wondrous spirit alive.
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