DOODLE IN THE COURT: An Oregon Standoff Paper Trail

By CHERI ROBERTS for Challenging the Rhetoric

Once in a while something great comes across your social media feed, and you just know it’s special. These things come with a profound pop-culture punch, and a relevance that remains beyond it’s momentary meme.

Covering the Oregon Standoff and its upcoming trial, I have seen a lot of memes, and various other attempts at humor, being passed around click-share-click. Some are crass, some are crude; some are just meant to be mean, while still others have fallen flat to their creators click bait disappointment.

One new sketch artist and standoff news follower stood out from the crowd with his #BundyCourtSketch contributions. Meet born and bred Oregonian, Scott Klatt, who although has no vested interest in the defendants or the trials themselves, has taken the time to attend the hearings and, by comic default, provide the public an interesting angle with which to peek behind those closed courtroom doors.

On his interest in the case he says,

I followed Bunkerville pretty closely in 2014. I was one of those who was still waiting for some arrests and had not forgotten. I am interested in producing documentary films and my goal going in to 2016 was to figure out how to get some money to continue on a film project I started on a totally different subject. When the Stand Off started I was immediately interested. I saw law enforcement was not blocking the refuge and they had wide open press conferences, I thought it was a great opportunity to grab my cameras and shoot some footage, maybe get some interviews, etc. I day tripped there on MLK Day but was late too for the presser. There wasn’t allot going on by the time I arrived. I did shot some footage and photos of me eating snacks around the Refuge parking area. I decided to try it again on the 27th and spent the night in Bend on the 26th. That was the night of the arrests and I watched it go down from Bend on the never ending webcasts. The next morning I headed to Burns where I started at the Refuge Blockade and then was able to witness the press conference and other events in town. It was a crazy day.”

Klatt started doing the sketches at what he calls the first “full cast” status hearing for the bulk of the defendants facing trial.

I was planning on continuing to shoot more footage and photos more than anything. I thought I would be doing more of the pressers after the hearings and that sort of thing. Also I’m local so getting to the Courthouse is pretty easy. I drew the first cartoons as a joke. I thought if it was funny maybe I could bring it back now and again. I had no intention of this becoming a ‘thang’“.

His sketches are always funny, and sometimes, even poignant; like the one of Ryan Payne’s beard coming undone.

Klatt says of his drawings,

They are emotionally accurate and factually inspired by court room observations or other related events.”

At first glance, Klatt’s sketches may look like child scratch, but gander a second time and his pencil and paper maxim reaches from the top of your intellect to the tip of your funny bone, leaving you shamelessly looking for the next one.

According to Klatt, it all started as an “accident”, but now says they are,

An awesome way to report on the Bundy trial … and make fun of them as well.”

Each character Klatt draws is unique and for those following the case, it is fairly easy to distinguish one from another to determine who is who. The voracity of many of the scenes Klatt presents ring true and are mimic’ed in much of the Bundy court drama also being reported in the news. Klatt says,

I have never really drawn before. I have no idea what I am doing. I have only been drawing for three weeks now. I was a stand up comic for a fair number of years so it’s just mostly joke writing and presenting it differently. Being there makes a huge difference because you get to see the stuff around the edges that you normally would not get to see.”

On the “perverted and positive” response his sketches have received, Klatt notes,

The good Patriotic Americans who have found my little allege comic have been overwhelmingly kind and supportive. We’re not talking Trump or Kardashian follower numbers here, but a solid die-hard fan base is established.”

Producing snark and satire is a touchy walk. Like a bad joke, it doesn’t always land well, but Klatt says he doesn’t worry too much adding,

I try to be a bit smarter and cover angles that may get lost or others don’t see. I’m not interested in echoing the trolling or yelling back and forth you will find online. If it’s funny I go with it, and I don’t claim to be unbiased.”

Stating he “can’t stop now”, Klatt assures his fan he plans to cover as much or as many of the Portland proceedings as he can. He also does cartoons that are still on subject, but more “abstract”, and not based on the actual court room antics. he also would like to go to Nevada and cover some of the proceedings there once the trial(s) begin. That will be a matter of funding.

Below are all of the sketches Klatt has thus far produced in his #BundyCourtSketch series. I will try to update this page as new ones become available, but you can stay up to date on Klatt’s Facebook fan page or follow him on Twitter; he even takes requests.

*Scott Klatt is a filmmaker, photographer, comic and eCommerce mogul out of Portland Oregon.

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