Chris Lamb is a journalism professor at Indiana University-Purdue University and the author of Drawn to Extremes: The Use and Abuse of Editorial Cartooning. Before participating in a discussion of the role cartoons play in politics and war, he cracked jokes, told shoe-selling stories, and told us about the question he wishes his students asked more often (and the one he wishes they wouldn’t ask at all) in the Zócalo green room.
What’s your worst habit?
Fingernail biting. Easy.
. What question do you wish your journalism students asked more often?
I could tell you the one I wish they didn’t ask—that would be, “Do we have to do this?” The one I wish they would ask more often is, “Can we discuss the news?”
What’s the last great joke you heard?
It’s an old joke, and I told it just recently—about the old guy getting married to a woman much younger than him. And the doctor says, “At your age, sex can be fatal.” And he says, “If she dies, she dies.” That’s a very old joke.
What food are you most likely to binge eat?
I guess beer’s not a food, is it? Let’s say almonds.
What is your favorite political cartoon of all time?
It’s a cartoon that came out in 1916, right as America’s entering World War I, and Robert Minor draws this hulking giant soldier 8 feet tall with no head. And the Army officer is looking up at this headless hulking giant of a soldier and saying, “At last, a perfect soldier.
What was the most important year of your life?
Let’s say 2000. I was married in 2000, and my child was born in 2001.
What’s the strangest job you’ve ever had?
Cab driver. Motel clerk from 11 to 7. Selling shoes. I sold self-service shoes, and it’s the only time in my life I had absolute confidence, because one day a man walked into the store with no shoes and a $20 bill, and I thought, I’m going to get a sale.
What’s your favorite spectator sport?
How would you describe yourself in five words or less?
Teetering but not falling.
Whom or what do you root for?
The Cincinnati Reds. Somebody has to.