Vicious Cartooning

Posted by on August 16th, 2010 at 8:31 AM

Once again, we pause in our otherwise comical flight to appreciate a handful of memorable images that editorial cartoonists have lately deployed to make a nefarious point or so. Here are Jimmy Margulies and Adam Zyglis.

(If the image is too small to read—which, for most of us, it is—the recommended procedure is to click on the image and it enlarges. For some inexplicable and presumably temporary reason, when you do that here, you and the picture are merely transported to another plane, where the picture resides more-or-less alone, same size; but if you click on it again, there, it’ll get much larger—large enough, usually, to read. Try it: you’ll like it.)

Margulies’ picture of the Republicans as a Great Obstructionist Pachyderm astride a roadblock barrier is effective propaganda on its own, but the GOP’s remark—riding “this thoroughbred”—gives the visual an extra impact.

The GOP strategy for the fall is fairly straight-forward if scarcely public-spirited: the party in power always gets blamed for whatever government does, or doesn’t, do, so if the Republicans can prevent government from doing anything—anything at all—Baracko Bama’s party will be held responsible and will be voted out of office. Or so the GOP thinks.

Maybe they’re right; maybe not. My guess, however, is that they’ve been branded the Party of No for so long now that they won’t escape unscathed. In fact (put me down for this prediction), I doubt they’ll gain any seats in Congress at all.

Ostriches are always useful as symbols of willful ignorance, and Zyglis makes a telling image out of this one.

Our next couple editoons aren’t such powerful images, but they’re good for a sardonic laugh or a pleasing picture.

Nate Beeler’s pair of miscreants give politicians a bad name, which, of course, is exactly what he intends. Nice pictures, but bits of the verbal content hone Beeler’s attack—”freeloader” and “pander” give the pictures their sarcastic edge.

Brian Fairrington’s drawings always amuse me. Here the fat lady being sucked up by Wal-Mart is a happily humorous image. She may not add anything to the message imparted by the mega-store vacuum cleaner, but, situated as she is in the center of the picture, she is the kind of visual comedy that attracts our attention, the signal role of imagery in any political cartoon.

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