In the Green Room

Journalism Scholar Chris Lamb

Can You Binge Eat Beer?

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.

Q:
What’s your worst habit?

A:
Fingernail biting. Easy.

Q:
. What question do you wish your journalism students asked more often?

A:
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?”

Q:
What’s the last great joke you heard?

A:
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.

Q:
What food are you most likely to binge eat?

A:
I guess beer’s not a food, is it? Let’s say almonds.

Q:
What is your favorite political cartoon of all time?

A:
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.

Q:
What was the most important year of your life?

A:
Let’s say 2000. I was married in 2000, and my child was born in 2001.

Q:
What’s the strangest job you’ve ever had?

A:
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.

Q:
What’s your favorite spectator sport?

A:
Baseball.

Q:
How would you describe yourself in five words or less?

A:
Teetering but not falling.

Q:
Whom or what do you root for?

A:
The Cincinnati Reds. Somebody has to.