In “Drawing Life,” directed by Nathan Fitch, the New Yorker’s George Booth looks back on fifty years of work — including the only cartoon to be published in the issue following 9/11.
While walking around his Crown Heights, Brooklyn neighborhood, Booth happily recounted stories from his childhood, his service in the armed forces, how he met his wife and his professional life as a cartoonist. He also gave a bit of insight as to how his mind works.
Hey, look at that scene through the trees. Isn’t that – aren’t those trees so beautiful? You want that scene over there with all the trees and the brownstones, and the stairs, and the cars, and the street, you want to make a cover out of that? You gotta look at it, you gotta see it. Nobody would photograph it the way I see it.
Booth was legendary for his “everyman” style. In fact, after the tragic events of September 11, 2001, Booth’s simple but powerful illustration was the only one published in that issue of The New Yorker.
This cartoon by George Booth was drawn in the days after the events of 9/11 had devastated the United States, and set in motion events that would lead to 20 years of war and countless casualties. It depicts George’s mother in a moment of prayer, her instrument laid down and her cat cowering. Employing cartooning in such somber circumstances is clearly delicate, but George got it.