Iron Range miners get cartoon treatment

The debate over how to extend jobless benefits for Iron Range miners has reached its pinnacle form: the editorial cartoon.

There aren’t many editorial cartoons being produced these days. Newspapers don’t pay people to do them anymore. But Steve Sack at the Minneapolis Star Tribune is still drawing.

Sack’s latest cartoon depicts the debate over a jobless benefits extension for Iron Range miners. It features many of the editorial cartooning classics. There’s a donkey and an elephant wearing suits. You’ll also find a giant bag of money that’s been labeled in some fashion.

But my favorite detail is the “Iron Ranger” depicted in the cartoon. Check it out:


Sampling from Star Tribune Steve Sack cartoon, March 11, 2016.

Let’s review the glorious details:

  • Carhartt-style ballcap on person who never plays ball
  • Slovenian nose
  • Big dark mustache

Those are pretty standard, though. The cartoon *had* to have those. Sack goes deeper.

  • Jowls dangling beneath a face that decades earlier featured a rock hard jawline.
  • Plaid shirt worn open over white crew neck t-shirt.
  • Work boots worth more than everything else worn combined.
  • Dispassionate affect, even when emotional expression would actively improve the outcome.

No one’s perfect, though.

  • Iron Rangers wouldn’t hold out a cup to ask for charity. They might drink coffee from a cup that carried the message, though. However, that cup would probably one of those oversized plastic mugs used to get refills at the gas station or conceal whiskey cokes in the hotel pool at the hockey tournament.
  • Have we ruled out that “Help!” might refer to something else entirely?
    • Help! I’m trapped in a masculine society in which my feelings may only be expressed as anger.
    • Help! I know my world is changing, but there is no practical way for it to benefit me.
    • Help! The ice is going out on the lake. Now what will I do until the mines reopen?
    • Help! I don’t know how to use the dishwasher. I really should, but there are so many buttons.
    • Help! My children have more marketable skills in this miserable economy than I do.
    • Help! I’m out of coffee.

Of course, what Iron Ranger miners really want most of all is a call back notice. Until then we continue the debate, wondering what comes next not only for the affected workers, but also our whole region.



  1. hardrockminer says

    Looks like Mario or Luigi was plagiarized.

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