Cartoonist’s viewpoint of politics

Cartoonists use the power of art to put across very powerful messages which could have otherwise been difficult to package and convey in the first place. Moreover, the comical nature it possesses is quite eye-catching and entertaining. The drawings also have an additional “proverbial” attribute which requires one to observe keenly it and relate it to current issues in order to get the gist of the matter. The above features help greatly in endearing the message to the people thereby spreading it accordingly as intended by the cartoonist.
I decided to analyze Joe Heller’s “Waves of Panic” political cartoon which was published by on Feb 12, 2016. The cartoonist succeeds in putting across the message of economic instability indicated by fall in oil prices and the collapse of stock markets which have been brought about by the county’s change in the foreign policy. The central issue of concern brings the accepted notion that the United States involvement in the Middle East has always been a disguise for the rather atrocious act of stealing oil from them. The artist puts across this message using the technique of narrator blocks.

Joe Heller through the cartoon depicts Einstein, the guy who discovered gravity next to a drawing of two black holes. One labelled ‘collapsing oil prices and the other ‘collapsing stock markets’. The picture depicts Einstein saying “Actually they could have looked a bit closer to home to prove that”. The choice of words given to the highly regarded and respected Einstein have a hidden meaning which is the fact that the activities of the United States government are directly to ‘blame’ for the general economic turmoil facing the world. The setting of the picture is clearly a classroom.
Joe Heller utilizes a sense of sarcasm when he writes on top of the picture “Proving Einstein was right, scientists detect waves rippling through Earth from two merging holes a billion light years away”. This is also a figurative way of pointing out that the two great issues affecting the whole world are slowly but surely merging into one lethal force. Joe compares the two emerging issues which are the collapse of the stock markets and the fall in the oil prices to Einstein’s theory which has been largely known and said for hundreds of years. Two bodies always have an attracting force between them; the force was identified as gravity by Einstein. The same gravitational force has therefore been used figuratively to indicate the force bringing together the two issues affecting the world economy.
Emanata, labels and signs were meritoriously used throughout the “Waves of Panic” to convey the overall message of the cartoon. Exaggeration was also included in the cartoon whereby there is a mention of a billion light years away. Because of the use of the many techniques above, a tone of irony was established thereby helping the cartoonist to put the message across in an effective and clear manner.
The other political cartoon I chose to analyze is the “Flint” by R.J Manson, which was published on 10th Feb 2016 in Matson depicted his cartoon using longshot view technique. In the picture, we see the U.S Capitol Hill building with a water faucet connected on top of it. From the water faucet, there are drops of water, each drop having a letter which when they all put together reads politics. At the bottom part of the picture we see a glass of water labeled flint and with visible cracks on its upper part. The water droplets which were supposedly meant to drop into the glass however, do not do so but drop outside of the glass (
Manson is using figurative technique extensively in this picture to convey his message. The Capital Hill, for instance, is a place where rulings are made, and issues concerning the rights of the U.S citizens are handled here. Therefore, its inclusion here was to indicate the part that it has been playing on the issue of the Flint whereby the Michigan residents are being faced with a water problem. However, instead of the Capitol Hill performing its duty responsibly, it is playing politics. This, Manson depicts figuratively by inserting initials of politics in water droplets emanating from the water faucet connected to the legislative house the Capitol Hill.
The water glass labeled “Flint” has cracks in its upper part. This is also a figurative way of showing the water crisis facing the Michigan state. The problem started in early 2014 when the city switched its water supply from Detroit’s system to the Flint River. The switch was made as a cost-saving measure for the struggling, majority black city. Soon after, the residents started complaining about the water’s color, taste, and odor. There were also cases of rashes reported and concerns about bacteria.
The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality blamed the cold weather, aging water pipes, and a population decline for the problem. A water expert from E.P.A revealed that high levels of lead were found to exist in the water as indicated by results of tests conducted on samples collected from the residence. The results were discussed with the Department of Environmental Quality of Michigan. However, in spite of the findings, the E.P.A claimed that they could not take any action until the lead contamination reached a level of 15 parts per billion. The public health scientist was however on the contrary.
The New York Times adds another twist to the mystery by claiming that the water change could also be a possible cause of an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in the country that has killed ten people and affected another 77. Matson effectively used the techniques of symbolism as U.S Capitol, irony and sarcasm as the water faucet that is connected to the top of the Capitol building, and the caption in each water drops to convey his message. His ideology was clearly depicted. The use of symbolism and caption conveyed the failure of the justice system, and the irony and sarcasm depicted the horrible consequences the citizens encountered and the thirst for justice for clean water.
In general, both the cartoons have effectively communicated the messages they were meant to convey in a clear and an elaborate manner. This was made possible by the use of symbolism majorly whereby different pictures were used to represent the issues that are currently affecting our society. The use of sarcasm in the cartoons helped create a much-needed twist in the artist’s depictions. Sarcasm helps in bringing out a sense of humor and the development of interest and curiosity among the users.


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