Cartoon Violence Swings Both Ways
The major question facing our nation today is not immigration or war or abortion or how those motherfucking snakes got on that motherfucking plane -- no, it's whether political cartoonists will ever stop making jokes about Dick Cheney shooting a guy in the face. Though, uh, it's not much of a question, as our resident cartoon expert The Comics Curmudgeon learns this week -- the answer is pretty plainly "no."
Still, though, Today's Cartoons just really want you to like them. All the cross-hatched bloodshed, after the jump.
Sure, you got into the political cartooning game for all the right reasons. You wanted to right wrongs and expose hypocrisy all Thomas Nast-stylie. "I'm gonna caricature the hell out of those bastards," you thought to yourself.
But then you ran head first into ugly reality: publishing is a business. Your bosses know that their print edition is losing readers to their Web edition, and their Web edition is losing readers to Japanese bondage porn. And unless you toil for Guns and Ammo or the Worker's World Weekly, you've got both left-wing and right-wing readers, and the suits aren't eager to alienate either. What's a cartoonist to do?
Try to please everyone, of course. Submitted for your approval below are a slew of political cartoons that seem to be catering to multiple audiences.
Hard-hearted conservatives like it because: They can see themselves as victims of a cruel oppressor king, who, in a delightfully realized scene, takes their precious belongings and throws them onto a potlatch-esque pyre of wasteful madness.
Tax-and-spend bleeding hearts like it because: They can see themselves as victims of an axe-weilding, dictatorial beast, who, in a delightfully realized scene, crushes them underfoot while swinging his blade without pity.
The real winner: The estate of Hieronymus Bosch, which gets a dollar every time someone draws a crowded hellscape scene like this.
Islamofascists and their liberal apologists like it because: At last, Islam has mastered giant foam finger technology! Just like the infidel waves to cheer on the half-naked man-whores at his NCAA basketball tournament -- only used to fight against the Jews!
The real winner: People who like easy-to-read labels. And enormous foam hands. Can't we all get along?
Plutocrat enemies of campaign finance reform like it because: It illustrates that deep-pocketed contributors aren't a politically monolithic bunch. Plus, it consigns Gene McCarthy to eternal torment in hell on a technicality.
The real winner: It sure isn't Gene McCarthy, that's for damn sure. Still.
People who can't figure out who to root for in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict like it because: It allows them to feel secure in their general wishing for peace without having to find out enough to form an opinion.
People who are really, really, really committed to one side or the other of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict like it because: It gives them a platform to ignore the text and explain, at length and with great spittle-emitting enthusiasm, how the hauntingly terrified kids are haunted and terrified by violence perpetrated by the side they don't like.
The real winner: The American cycle of rhetorical violence, which, for all its faults, doesn't force its participants to huddle inside their homes, though sometimes one might wish that it did, just for a day or two.
People who think that the fact that Dick Cheney shot a guy in the face was funny once, but is now kind of played out like it because: OK, they probably don't like it, but do we really care about the opinions of such killjoys?
The real winner: George W. Bush. If he was ever thinking about having a facelift sometime in the future, he'll be wisely deterred by the horrifying cautionary example in the lower panel.