Cartoon Violence Sees Shades Of Grey
We spend a lot of time in this space either savagely tearing into the poor bastards who just want to entertain and/or inform us with their political cartoonery, or (somewhat less often) waxing rhapsodic over the perfection of some doodle or other. But not everything is all good (except for Katherine Harris' chest) or all bad (except cancer)! That's why this week, we're taking the good with the bad, the yin and the yang, the sublimely chosen icon with the glaring, pointless label. Of course, as readers of a political blog, you're totally intellectually and emotionally unequipped to handle complexity or ambiguity of any kind, but try to keep up, OK?
The good bits: Ahhh, detailed tableaux of crazed Puritans using ritualized violence and torture to enforce social conformity and root out dissent have been for too long absent from our political discourse. They're always hilarious. Especially when right-wingers do them.
Misstep: Didn't old-timey Puritans use "Goody" instead of "Ms."? Wouldn't that have gotten us "Goody Goodling"? Ha! "Goody Goodling!" It's historically accurate and hilarious.
The good bits: Oh my God, it's an S&M panda whipping another panda! This may be the most wonderful image ever to appear in the history of political cartooning. Jesus Christ it's got on leather studded underwear or something!
Misstep: Why does whipping panda appear to have glasses on? Are eyeglasses some kind of hardcore fetish gear now? Because that would introduce a forbidden erotic charge to many real-world interactions that I'm just not comfortable with.
The good bits: It's a cartoon that everyone can love no matter what their political affiliation! See, if you're old-fashioned and believe that using the American flag as a garment of any kind is disrespectful, you can say, "See, that feminazi Pelosi shows her contempt for America and her love of Islamofascism!" And if you're new school and think that wearing a flag on a piece of clothing indicates that you think the USA is totally awesome, then you can say, "That's right, Nancy, you're protected from outdated misogyny by the power of the Stars and Stripes!"
Misstep: Speaker Pelosi appears to be touring Damascus in an enormous roller-skate of some kind.
The good bits: Tommy Thompson is iconographically represented as a giant foam representation of a slice of cheese. I know that calling the ex-governor of Wisconsin a "cheesehead" seems lazy, but does the pointless, doomed Tommy Thompson presidential candidacy deserver any more thought than this? He's lucky the artist bothered to even draw a shadow on the side; Thompson might have dropped out of the race in shame and failure before he finished.
Misstep: OK, McCain's a cap from a Navy uniform, and Romney's some kind of yachter's cap because he's, like, a gazillionare, but ... generic baseball cap for Rudy? Shouldn't he be, I don't know, one of those iron helmets with a huge spike on top like the Kaiser used to wear?
The good bits: These familiar faces, which we see every day in our wallets, suddenly take on a completely new semantic encoding in this new visual context, as the artist makes a hard-hitting point about the sorry intersection of the supposedly noble quest for political leadership and the sordid reality of fund-raising.
Misstep: Wait, no, seriously, you just photocopied a bunch of money and called it a cartoon? Dude. --THE COMICS CURMUDGEON