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Saturday, September 17, 2016

The Art of Politics

If you don't like the choices, this time around, get used to it,
2020 doesn't look any better. Given the past few election cycles,
this (or worse) looks like the new norm.
It's after Labor Day in the United States and this country is now embroiled in the most intense weeks of probably the strangest, most vicious year of politics since...I don't know...maybe the assassination of Julius Caesar in 44 BC. I won't divulge my own favorite (though some of the more astute readers may be able to deduce my leanings). To borrow a phrase from a certain media outlet, I shall try to be "fair and balanced." Be assured, I do enjoy politics, though. I'm not one to follow sports. They're only inconsequential games. But I follow politics like some follow football or other games involving inflated spheres. Politics is very much like a game only that it's far from inconsequential and infinitely more fun to observe. For instance, I'm having a high old time watching many Republicans squirm at the prospect of Donald Trump becoming president; yet heaven forbid they should vote for Hillary, or even one of the lesser party candidates, which would largely be tantamount to the same thing. Not too long ago I saw a yard sign with the single word, "NEITHER" printed in bold purple letters. Likewise, their simply not voting would likely favor Hillary as it did Obama in 2012. Democrats, on the other hand are faced with a similarly distasteful quandary as well, which seemingly gets more bitter by the day.

Everyone is fair game.
What has all this to do with art? Lots. Ever since the simultaneous development of newspapers and democracies during the 18th-century, art has been used to try to influence the outcome of elections, or in some cases simply to promote social change, which again, is tantamount to the same thing. The main difference is that today we don't jail cartoonists for drawing funny pictures of politicians as back in the good ole days of the French Revolution. Instead we laugh or scream in outrage, but in any case pay such politically astute and creative caricaturists big money to say with a picture and a few words far more than most media pundits can say in an hour. It's not hard to judge the best of the lot. They're the ones who make the politician's the angriest; though now days most politicians find it counterproductive to publically "go ballistic" over a cartoon.

From an artistic standpoint, color adds a lot to political cartoons.
Politically, the last thing Trump needs is more color.
As much as many voters may cringe at the hard choices between the two major candidates, cartoonists are flying high with all the satirical possibilities zipping about due to what we've come to call the 24-hour news cycle growing from cable TV and the internet. Their only "hard choices" involve trying to decided which political ball to intercept and run with. Cartoonists, like most other political observers, have political philosophies and favorite candidates, though few would forego a really hot cartoon idea, simply because it didn't match their particularly ideology. In that sense, Trump is probably more fun, but Hillary's candidacy offers more raw meat to devour.

The broad range of Hillary caricatures seems to be the result
of cartoonists being forced to reconcile their images with having
to draw a female presidential candidate for the first time. Some
of them seem aimed at giving young children nightmares.


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