A caricature of Hillary Hauser | Credit: Courtesy

On an April Fools’ Day somewhere in the early 1980s, there was a newspaper in one of the dispensing boxes on State Street that looked like the Santa Barbara News-Press, banner and all. Anyone who picked it up immediately knew something was off. All the writers — and I was on the staff of the News-Press then, before the New York Times bought it in 1984 — were renamed, our pictures caricatured, our writing spoofed galore. It was a phenomenally good joke, and we were all laughing about it.

I had moved back to Santa Barbara in 1977, when there were two independent newspapers in Santa Barbara, and this spoof was in one of them. Eventually, those two papers become one — the Santa Barbara Independent — a gem that gives the true inside scoop on Santa Barbara and everything that goes on in our town. What does this have to do with this ridiculous caricature? A closer look reveals a crooked nose (I didn’t think anyone noticed), my eyes squinty, the haystack hair, etc. Egad! I confess an initial embarrassment, followed by a good laugh.

Truth contained in Art. This is the essence of the Santa Barbara Independent we read today. Formed in 1986 from the two earlier weeklies, this newspaper, and its staff of reporters, know Santa Barbara inside and out, and with soul, wit, and intelligence, are not afraid to tell the truth. Even if it is about a crooked nose. Even if it makes you laugh or cry. The Independent is a jewel to this town, and I’m proud to now call myself a paying subscriber.

Hillary Hauser,
Indy+ Subscriber

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