spacer Spiro Agnew
Buy a U.S. Government Official
Spiro Agnew born 1918

Sorel employs a rich variety of comic techniques. One of his inventive formats is the poster-style caricature. His series of film-poster lampoons for New York magazine included, for example, "Gentlemen Prefer Bonds," featuring John Mitchell and Nelson Rockefeller and such hit tunes as "Tiptoe through the Loopholes." "Buy a Government Official," based on World War I posters promoting the sale of government bonds, satirizes Nixon's former Vice President, Spiro Agnew. Agnew had resigned from office in October 1973 amid allegations of conspiracy, bribery, and extortion. He thus became a perfect target for Sorel and co-author Kirkpatrick Sale, whose Harper's magazine commentary proposed the legalization of bribery. Although a few leftover Puritans might complain, they argued, legalization would make public service more efficient and the majority of the American public would surely show "the same enlightened attitude toward it all as one of our former Vice-Presidents."

Ink and watercolor, 1973
Original illustration for Harper's, November 1974
Private collection
© Edward Sorel

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