The Most Important Doodles From the Newly Released Clinton Documents

National Journal
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Brian Resnick
Feb. 28, 2014, 9:11 a.m.

You’re look­ing at his­tory. Above are doodles in­cluded in Fri­day’s re­lease of hun­dreds of doc­u­ments from the Clin­ton ad­min­is­tra­tion. Like all work­places and classrooms, it ap­pears the White House is not im­mune to wan­der­ing thoughts, and doodles in the mar­gins of work.

This is the work of Jeff Shesol, a Clin­ton speech­writer and cur­rent au­thor and car­toon­ist. “Fu­ture gen­er­a­tions will have to grapple (as I am grap­pling now) with the ques­tion of why I would be draw­ing a leek dur­ing a meet­ing about the as­sault weapons ban,” Shesol writes me in an email.

The doodles con­trast the ob­vi­ously high stakes of the job with the banal­it­ies of (Oval) of­fice work. “I seem to be keep­ing my­self from fall­ing asleep,” Shesol says re­flect­ing on the draw­ings, call­ing them “the men­tal equi­val­ent of a screen saver.” 

As to the the ques­tion in the doodle, “What is the car­rot,” Shesol tells me it’s a ref­er­ence to the car­rot-and-stick rhet­or­ic­al device, in which a pun­ish­ment is mixed with a re­ward.  

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