From biochemistry to editorial cartoons, Jake Thrasher, recent graduate of Ole Miss, dabbles in both successfully, which has now led him to a doctoral program at Yale University along with one of his political cartoons being purchased by the famous Maury Povich from the Maury Show.
Thrasher had a talent for the fine arts, never thinking that his Ole Miss tenure would lead him to become The Daily Mississippian’s editorial cartoonist. It was his freshman year at the university when the former editor-in-chief, Logan Kirkland, approached him at a fraternity crawfish boil about the position.
“[Kirkland] came up to me and was like…’hey you’re our new editorial cartoonist,’’” Thrasher said.
Thrasher hadn’t delved into the world of cartoons. He had considered himself more of a fine artist.
“I started that summer, never done a cartoon before, and I fell in love with it,” Thrasher said. “That moment changed the whole trajectory of my life.”
Thrasher’s works have been recognized nationally. He was interviewed by The Huffington Post’s Listen to America tour and was also the first university student to be nominated for the Bravery in Cartooning Award in 2017 by the Cartoonists Rights Network International.
Although being the first university student to be nominated is prestigious, the award is given to a cartoonist who is in danger or has experienced danger due to standing up for free speech.
Thrasher drew several cartoons that captured the Ku Klux Klan and white supremacy in the United States. These cartoons led him to receive messages, including death threats, from white supremacist groups, he said.
“My cartoons tend to be pretty aggressive and pretty liberal,” Thrasher said. “At the end of the day, it was just a drawing I did, but some people let it ruin their day that they send threatening messages to me.”
The importance of cartoons is that it allows the people to hold the government accountable and prevents the government from overstepping its boundaries, Thrasher said. Political cartoons are visual satires that everyone can understand, which is why it is an important thing in the U.S. because some countries imprison cartoonists for their work.
“These authoritarian regimes go after cartoonists because [cartoonists] are a threat to their power,” Thrasher said. “Humor is a really good way to criticize a regime… because [a cartoon] doesn’t take long to interpret.”
This lead Thrasher to draw another one of his political cartoons representing the allegations against Trump and the pregnancies with his alleged mistresses. He drew a cartoon of Trump with the host of the Maury Show, Maury Povich, as his new advisor.
The idea was inspired by the Maury Show and how it continuously tries to reveal if someone is the father of a child.
Povich’s personal assistant contacted Thrasher via Twitter regarding the cartoon, reaching out on behave of Povich.
“I was just sitting in my biochemistry class, 100 percent paying attention, not on my phone at all,” Thrasher said. “Then I got a notification on Twitter from [Maury’s personal assistant.]”
Thrasher said that evidently Povich and his wife are collectors of pieces of work, written and drawn, of them in the media, which led to Povich reaching out to Thrasher.
In addition to selling a piece of work to the famous talk show host, Thrasher was also invited to attend the show, which is conveniently filmed in Connecticut where his future school is, Yale.
Thrasher plans to continue his cartooning on his future endeavors including obtaining his doctorate from the Ivy League school.
By Talbert Toole, associate editor of HottyToddy.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.