Ben Toledano: Slim Pickins


Ben C. Toledano



What began as an article about the sudden death of editorial cartoonist Mike Ritter ("Missing Mike," April 6) quickly became an article about its author Slim Smith. Mike Ritter was 48 years old at the time of his death; Slim Smith is 54 and is acutely aware of his own mortality.


Though Mike Ritter and Slim Smith "were not close friends," Ritter's death stirred "this abiding ache deep within" Smith. According to Smith, Ritter "was a gay guy from Pacific Northwest" and he, Smith, "was a straight guy from the South." However, when first they met, both men were "conservative Republicans." Smith makes no effort to tell us what a "conservative Republican" is. Perhaps we're all supposed to know. Though Ritter was the first "gay Republican" he'd ever met, both men "moved steadily to the left." How comforting that is.


Of that portion of the article written by Smith, and excepting the lengthy Facebook message sent by Ritter, the first person pronoun "I" appears 32 times. Smith refers twice to his "struggle for redemption." Fewer "I's" and more seeing might help. At least, it's worth a try.



Ben C. Toledano






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