Skip to main content

 

Montgomery Fellows Share Wit and Wisdom

Juan Williams
Juan Williams

Roz Chast
Roz Chast

Steve Kelley '81
Steve Kelley '81

Poking fun at politics is a time-honored tradition and this winter's Montgomery series, America in 2008: Commentators and Cartoonists, is delivering laughs and insight in equal measure. Three of the nation's most astute observers of the political and social scenes-Juan Williams, Roz Chast, and Steve Kelley '81-are visiting the campus as Montgomery Fellows during the winter term. Susan DeBevoise Wright, executive director of the Montgomery Endowment, says the program aims to "introduce some humor into this political year, while considering the relationship between social commentary, the art of satire, and the machinery of politics."

Williams, senior correspondent for National Public Radio's Morning Edition and host of the nationally syndicated America's Black Forum, is one of the most respected political correspondents in the nation. He is the author of six books, including Thurgood Marshall: American Revolutionary, described by Time magazine as a "magisterial" work of American history. During the presidential election season, Williams is serving as senior political analyst for NPR and for Fox Television.

Chast has been drawing cartoons for The New Yorker magazine since 1978. With images populated by surprisingly ordinary people in the midst of extraordinary and hilarious revelations, Chast's cartoons have appeared in dozens of magazines and in her most recent book, Theories of Everything: Selected, Collected, and Health-Inspected Cartoons by Roz Chast.

New Yorker editor David Remnick has said, "If The New Yorker employs an artistic genius since the passing of Saul Steinberg, Roz Chast is the one."

Steve Kelley's political cartoons are distributed by Creators Syndicate to more than 100 newspapers and magazines around the country. According to one profile, he "devotes his attention to public officials the way the radiator grille of a tractor-trailer might devote its attention to June bugs." He has also written and performed stand-up comedy, making appearances on The Tonight Show; at Harrah's, the Riviera, and the Desert Inn in Las Vegas; and at Carnegie Hall.

During their time on campus, Montgomery Fellows meet with students and faculty and deliver lectures that regularly draw standing-room-only crowds. Williams gave his views on "The Changing Face of America: Money, Race, and Age in the New Century"; Chast tackled "Theories of Everything and Much, Much More"; and, on Feb. 19, Kelley will explain, among other things, how "Art Irritates Life: Politics and Stuff People Really Care About." Drawings by Chast are on display in Baker-Berry Library through early February, and drawings by Kelley will be on display in the Hopkins Center Feb. 15 through March 10.

By LAUREL STAVIS

Courtesy Steve Kelly '81


Courtesy Roz Chast

Questions or comments about this article? We welcome your feedback.

Last Updated: 5/30/08