In 2006, a cartoon in a Danish newspaper depicted the Prophet Mohammed wearing a bomb in his turban. The cartoon created an international incident, with offended Muslims attacking Danish embassies and threatening the life of the cartoonist.
Editorial cartoons have been called the most extreme form of criticism society will allow, but not all cartoons are tolerated. Unrestricted by journalistic standards of objectivity, editorial cartoonists wield ire and irony to reveal the naked truths about presidents, celebrities, business leaders, and other public figures. Indeed, since the founding of the republic, cartoonists have made important contributions to and offered critical commentary on our society. Today, however, many syndicated cartoons are relatively generic and gag-related, reflecting a weakening of the newspaper industry's traditional watchdog function. Chris Lamb offers a richly illustrated and engaging history of a still vibrant medium that "forces us to take a look at ourselves for what we are and not what we want to be." The 150 drawings in Drawn to Extremes have left readers howling-sometimes in laughter, but often in protest.