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Patrick St. John Cook (born 6 August 1949) is an Australian cartoonist who is known for his work in The Bulletin, Australia's weekly news magazine. Since the publication went out of business, Cook has written satirical essays and cartoons in the Australian edition of the The Spectator.
His works include Hot and Wet and Ship of Fools. During the 1970s and early 1980s, Cook was a prolific cartoonist for the now-defunct National Times. In fact, a great many readers found that Cook's cartoons constituted a good reason in themselves for purchasing the newspaper.
The satire of Cook is notable in that it considers nothing to be sacred. Unlike many others of his generation, Cook avoids an obvious political agenda, and this fact makes him consistently unpredictable. His hostile depiction of Harry Seidler's functionalist, Bauhaus-type architecture in one of his cartoons resulted in Seidler suing him; Seidler lost.
Cook combines great cartooning gifts with a sharp prose idiom. His column "Not the News" has run in various publications since the National Times, most recently in The Bulletin.
Some of Cook's brilliance has also been evident in his puppetry designs for a TV news satire. He also writes scripts for many TV comedies.
Most visibly, his cartoon style has been a big influence on many other Australian artists. The style is both minimalist and organic, ranging from his homicidal wine-swilling koalas to overwrought politicians and social climbers.
An autobiographical article by Cook for The Bulletin during July 2006 explains, with characteristic black comedy in both its words and its illustrations, the medical treatment he has lately undergone.
The 1980 Fontana Collins publication Us and Them contains over 100 early works by Patrick Cook.
The book cover features an attack of the killer koalas type cartoon that is typical of Cook's irreverent, playful manner.
Allen and Unwin published a further expanded collection of his works in 1985 under the title of The Great Big Cook Book.
His career also included being a puppeteer.
Examples of Cook's humour
The Bulletin (32 January 2008)
- A fictional speech by Bill Clinton:
"To the women of America, well, I know in my heart [...] that you concur with that fine American feminist [referring to Nina Burleigh, not named] who wrote: 'I’d give Bill Clinton a blow job, just to thank him for keeping abortion legal.' To these women I can only say: 'Abortion is still legal'." - "Feel the carpet burn,"
The Bulletin (1 September 1998), p 74.
- On Australia's 6 November 1999 Republic referendum:
"IF YOU VOTE YES: 1. You will give enormous satisfaction to a gaggle of bankers, multi-millionaires, Labor snobs who regard you as a rabble of ghastly peasants, especially if you live outside the cities, and who are still in denial over the implosion of the Keating government. Lofty journalists, P&C [sic] commissars, lipless earrings and smug beards will similarly rejoice. In short, all the types you thought you were shot of years ago. So far from uniting Australians as a mature and coherent society, you will be creating two nations and one of them will be insufferable for weeks."
"Cavaliers and roundheads," The Bulletin (31 August 1999), p 122.
- On globalisation:
Australia "is the only country in the world to take ["free trade"] seriously, For [other nations], it’s kind of like the game we played in college, where the lights go out and someone hollers 'Pants down!' and when the lights go on again, only one schmuck is bare-arsed and everyone else hoots at them... The beauty of free trade is that it abolishes national boundaries, along with nations, those nations’ industries and currencies, and where necessary, governments."
"We are the world," The Bulletin (1 May 2001), p 90.
He is married to the comedian Jean Kittson.
- Newington College Register of Past Students 1863-1998 (Syd, 1999) pp40
- Three Cartoonists - transcript of Andrew Denton’s ABC interview with cartoonists Bruce Petty, Bill Leak and Patrick Cook