Political Cartoons

In Getting Even, Woody Allen’s collection of very funny essays, he describes his inability to enjoy or understand mime artists and his incomprehension of how anyone could find them entertaining. I’d agree with this and put them, along with clowns, in the same category of vaguely sinister mutes.
Another cultural phenomena that I fail to understand or find remotely amusing is the political cartoon, which to continue the theme I think of as the jester; a snarky, talkative clown making fun of the great and good. In years past the nobility employed jesters to criticise them and their household, presumably because they were pompous toffs with no self-reflexivity. In recent times I have to believe that only politicians find political cartoons amusing and secretly enjoy seeing themselves ribbed. In the same way you might get a caricature done of yourself at the seaside and chuckle at how you’re drawn with a big nose and teeth playing a guitar like a cello because you mentioned you were in a band. It would seem to be quite a solipsism to imagine anyone else would enjoy the picture in the same way you did as you gaze at the crooked mirror on the page.
If political cartoons only resonated with politicians that would be fine if they actually pricked their consciences or had anything profound or edgy to say, but they don’t. They’re all uniformly anodyne.
Here’s a few cartoons that were voted some of the best from last year. Remember, the best.

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I would put copyright and artist information on the pictures, but I wouldn’t want to shame them. They’re lucky I’m stealing them to be honest. Am I missing something? Is there some subversive comedic genius lurking in there that I’m unable to tap into? Or are they just obvious and quite tepid ‘jokes’ made into a picture.


toon tycoon

No, this isn’t Chuck Norris’ nerdy brother. It’s Jean Chalopin, and if you were a little kid in the 80’s and early 90’s you probably watched a shed-load of the cartoons he produced. As a kid I took his name on the credits as a stamp of quality. This is a small selection of his acetate oeuvre – Ulysses 31, The Mysterious Cities of Gold, Inspector Gadget, Heathcliffe, Pole Position, M.A.S.K, The Care Bears, Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors, The Real Ghostbusters, Teddy Ruxpin, He-Man, Conan the Adventurer, The Bots Master. All classics I reckon; and they all had really catchy theme tunes.
I was reminded of Chalopin while reading an article about books people start but never finish. An oft mentioned unfinished book is James Joyce’s ‘Ulysses’. I never finished that baffling tome either, but I did enjoy Chalopin’s sci-fi take on Homer’s legendary traveller.
There’s a lot of tenuous links and cartoon characters in this post. I suppose you could include Homer in that; heck, even Chuck Norris had a starring role in a cartoon called Karate Kommandos. There are no James Joyce cartoons unfortunately, but there are some comic books. I should potentially find those more manageable.