Horse & Buggy Press
Dave Wofford, owner of Horse & Buggy Press in Durham, describes himself as a “hopeless idealist.” He has used his letterpress printing business to support political causes since the 90’s. So when a sub-leaser in his building left unexpectedly, he offered up the space for an exhibit of cartoons about HB2. The exhibit, titled “Bathroom Humor,” is part of the Political Cartoon and Satire Festival, which is organized by the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists.
Exhibit curators J.P. Trostle and Cullum Rogers are the first to acknowledge the limitations of such an exhibit. “Cartoons,” says Cullum, “are not all that good at changing people’s minds.” But they can help add “a little bit of humor” to a conversation that, right now, is “incredibly heavy.” J.P. also sees value in poking fun at “prickly” politicians. “Collective mockery is the kind of thing that really wears on politicians much more effectively than reasonable debate.”
The exhibit has gone well so far, Dave says. “It gets people chuckling and talking with each other.” And Cullum hopes that people will find comfort in solidarity. “Letting people know that you’re on their side always helps. Somebody’s with you. Just doing things publicly is better than bottling it up.”
For J.P., the exhibit shows a rare bird’s eye view of the political landscape—a view that has been obscured by the modern news cycle. He mentions a publication that used to collect the year’s best editorial cartoons. “You’d be flipping through and you would go, ‘Oh yeah, this happened in January, this happened in February.’” Now, he says, “You see something at the end of the day and you’re like, ‘Oh yeah, I already saw that this morning. Oh yeah, that meme’s old already.’”
J.P. worries that this news “churn” has pushed HB2 out of the public conversation. “The HB2 thing blew up in the spring. There was a lot of sound, a lot of fury. But by the time November rolls around, are people going to remember it?”