Some of my colleagues are unhappy that I am, as they put it, airing the dirty laundry by criticizing terrible editorial cartoons. I don’t get it. It’s not like these things are state secrets. They’re published in newspapers. They appear on the Internet. Pointing out that they are terrible doesn’t require speaking out of turn; everybody already knows that they are terrible because only have to do is look at them to see that they are terrible. All I do, as I see it, is describe and articulate why I think they are terrible. It’s not like I have any special power to censor bad editorial cartoons – although that would be great – or that anyone is going to get fired because of something I write. It’s just my opinion. And I suspect that it is an opinion that is more widely shared than the lazy hacks who create this crap would like to think.
And so, without further ado, here’s a look at today’s artistic atrocities by cartoonists who receive huge salaries from newspapers that wouldn’t pay $20 a week to run syndicated editorial cartoons by a good cartoonist. And editors wonder why the newspaper business is in trouble…
First and foremost, this is not a political cartoon. It does not express a political point of view. I happen to know that the cartoonist is a Republican, but you can’t possibly tell that from the cartoon. What is the take away message? College is expensive. Yeah, like everyone didn’t already know that. I’m never going to get the four seconds back that I spent reading that.
This is one of those cartoons that you practically need a decoder ring to figure out. Unless you are the biggest political wonk in the world, you’ve probably forgotten about South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford and his lame excuse for going AWOL while he was sneaking off to Argentina on taxpayer money in order to visit his girlfriend: that he was hiking on the Appalachian Trail. But what really gets me, and it showcases just how old-fashioned mainstream editorial cartooning is, is the reference to the 1970s TV show “Sanford and Son.” I’m nearly 50 years old, and I was 14 years old when the show was canceled in 1977. In other words, I’m about as young as you can be and still remember it. When you do a cartoon that can only be referenced in terms of pop culture by people who are older than 50, you are giving up on the present – never mind the future.
In recent years, in a formatted trope that I think we began with Mike Ramirez, many cartoonists have started doing this below-the-frame caption thing, like the “locked in the attic” here. The effect is incredibly pretentious. It says I am smart and you are not. Ta-daa! Furthermore, the inherent weakness of the metaphor format shows through here. This is a drawing of the suspect in the Cleveland kidnappings. So why is he labeled Cleveland kidnappings? He isn’t the kidnappings. He is the kidnapper. Ultimately, the biggest problem with this cartoon is the simpleminded and vacuous concept behind it: that this is all explained by evil. You know, like he’s possessed by a demon. Which, frankly, if true should allow him to walk free. Or at least walk free after he has his demons exorcized by a crazy priest. Somehow, I doubt that the right-wing cartoonist who drew this cartoon really believes that this guy is possessed by a demon or the devil or Satan or whatever. All you are really left with is: some people are bad. Which, I already knew. And it’s not a political statement. So it should not be marketed as a political cartoon.
When I become cartoon dictator of the world, I am going to ban all editorial cartoons that point to anyone and say: that person is a hero. Editorial cartooning is an inherently negative medium. It is here to criticize, not praise. When you praise anything, you look cheesy and stupid. In this format. The only exception would be if you praise someone who is widely vilified by the mainstream media and American culture.
This runs in Daily Kos. I do not.
Totally retarded. Telling the public or for that matter the victims of a crime that they can take comfort in a fictional Christianesque anti-deity wreaking vengeance on their behalf is cartooning malpractice. Not to mention, now that I think of it, weirdly anti-Christian. Unless Randy is a devil worshiper.
This one… Wow. What the hell?