Political Cartoons Are Serious Business

Political cartoons are vivid primary sources that offer intriguing and entertaining insights into the public mood, the underlying cultural assumptions of an age, and attitudes toward key events or trends of the times. Political cartoons have offered a highly useful window into the past. Just about every school history textbook now has its quota of political cartoons.

Cartoon is an imprecise term applied to a multitude of graphic forms. Though being better than other terms such as caricature, it can be broadly divided into two categories: cartoons of opinion and joke cartoons. Cartoons of opinion are primarily visual mean of communicating opinions and attitudes, humor may be present but not a necessary part of it. On the other hand, joke cartoons are designed to communicate humor.

Political cartoons uses satire in order to make an observation about a situation. It touches those issues that may not be suited for commentary by an editor. A cartoon is endorsed by a newspaper and is definitely a questioning and decisive piece that at times may even be biased. Humor is the most prevalent subject matter in political cartoons. The effectiveness of a cartoon depends significantly upon the element of humor it contains. Through humor, absurdity and hypocrisy are exposed and when a reader laugh at those who are in power, he becomes less afraid. Symbols are important, as sometimes people are not sure how they feel and unable to make a decision.

Manipulation of shared symbols is likely to be important in directing public attention and shaping public opinion, especially in modern democracies. Exaggeration and distortion are the primary tools employed by a cartoonist which shows someone’s power or weakness. Cartooning is a subversive art as dictators and political leaders are scared people, they can’t risk ridicule that’s why the totalitarian establishment suppress it. It’s the ability of cartoons to subvert the authorization of rulers.

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