The Swarm

Mix it up with The Bee's editorial board.

April 15, 2012
Gov. Jerry Brown declares April 15 to be 'Rex Babin Day'

Rex-Crowe.jpgYes, we know that governors issue gazillions of proclamations each year. But we thought that fans of our late editorial cartoonist would be cheered to know that Gov. Jerry Brown declared today to be "Rex Babin Day" in the state of California.

Here's a link to the governor's proclamation followed by the full text:


"It is difficult not to write satire," observed the Roman poet Juvenal at the close of the 1st Century A.D. Few understand this basic truth better than political cartoonists who, 2000 years later, wield the power of caricature, parody, farce and lampoon in the pages of our newspapers.

Paul Conrad said that political cartooning "is a peculiar art form...but a necessary art form...and a noble art form." Rex Babin found his calling during a junior high field trip to the Los Angeles Times. After studying Conrad's Pulitzer Prize-winning work for the Times, young Rex dreamed that one day he, too, might join the pantheon of great political cartoonists. For Rex - a native of Walnut Creek who grew up in Pacific Palisades and Encinitas - that dream came true.

Over the past twelve years in Sacramento, Rex chronicled the pitfalls and foibles of politics in the Golden State and beyond. His pen rendered verdicts on every issue and individual of importance. He had the unique ability to make biting comments in a way that still managed to put a smile on your face. Those lucky enough to escape his scathing critique should feel slighted to have been overlooked.

Rex left us too soon, and life will never be the same for the family, friends and colleagues who knew the man behind the pen. But his wife, Kathleen, and his son, Sebastian, can hopefully find some solace in the fact that the State of California mourns this native son today.

A powerful voice is gone, but a legacy remains. Rex is best remembered - not with words - but with cartoons. For these were his life's work, shedding light and laughter amidst turbulent times, and becoming an indelible part of our history.

NOW THEREFORE I, EDMUND G. BROWN JR., Governor of the State of California, do hereby proclaim Sunday, April 15th, 2012 as "Rex Babin Day."

IN WITNESS WHEREOF I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Great Seal of the State of California to be affixed this 15th day of April 2012.

Governor of California

Well said.

Rex Babin cartoon by J.D. Crowe. Thank you J.D.

April 9, 2012
Rex Babin fans invited to public celebration of his life, work

Rex peace.JPGTo honor our dear friend and colleague, Rex Babin, The Sacramento Bee and Publisher Cheryl Dell are inviting his many fans to join family, friends and colleagues for a celebration of his life and work. The free public event will be held from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, April 15, at the Constitutional Wall Courtyard between the California Museum and the secretary of state's office at 1020 O St.

The event will feature an exhibition of Rex's cartoons and a multimedia program that will include a short film, "Breezer," that Rex and a friend produced to express their affection for Sacramento. His cartoons will be honored, dissected and possibly mocked by speakers, including friends and fellow cartoonists Joel Pett of the Lexington (Ky.) Herald-Leader and Jack Ohman of the (Portland) Oregonian.

The Bee is producing a special commemorative magazine of Rex's cartoons that will be available, and there will be a silent auction of some of his best-known cartoons. Proceeds will go to a scholarship fund that The Bee and Rex's wife, Kathleen, have created for the couple's 10-year-old son, Sebastian.

If you'd like to contribute to the fund, donations can be made directly to the "Sebastian Babin Educational Fund" at any Bank of America branch.

To see a selection of Rex cartoons, and read tributes and an obituary of the late cartoonist, please go here.

About The Swarm

The Swarm is written by members of The Sacramento Bee's editorial board. They meet daily and are separate from the newsroom. Views included here are those of individual writers, and do not necessarily reflect those of a majority of the board or the positions expressed in The Bee's editorials.

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