Ben Franklin was a Founding Father who used political cartoons as a means of persuasion. With biting with he would cause a person to reflect and reconsider. And that was not his day job. Some people are just naturally gifted at imagery and symbolism used a tools for thoughtful discourse. I am no expert on humor – my role is more like a consumer. I enjoy political cartoons as a wine connoisseur enjoys the open house at the local winery. The 2016 Presidential election in the United States may be the most inspirational for the artists in the category of political cartoons.
Good humor is generally accepted as funny or amusing. Political speakers use humor to identify with their audience. With a connection made they can pursue their actual agenda. Good humor is generally kind and tolerant – not seeking to alienate. Political cartoons, in the judgement of many, break the boundaries of identity humor. Political cartoons leap into the world of wit and irony using tools such as exaggeration, symbolism, analogy, and labeling.
Wit and irony promote or enhance a person or ideal at the expense of another. Ideals are exaggerated for the purpose of exposing consequences. To be effective they mus be forceful and succinct, quick and sharp. Irony is complex. The dissection of politics with visual metaphors requires the audience have some fundamental grasp of the topic. Philosophical connections are not meant for the casual observer.
Sophisticated political cartoons are designed to be witty, ironic, persuasive, and thought provoking.
The following are political cartoons from around the world in the week following the United States 2016 Presidential election. We gathered this collection from the internet (of course). We are not suggesting this is a representative sample of all political cartoons of this time period – we are only suggesting that Trump has evoked some serious thought around the world.
Enjoy (And feel free to add commentary):