Friday, February 19, 2010

Public opinion

In the fifth chapter of the reading, "The Age of Caricature," the author states, "Caricatures were a 'thermometer' of public opinion, but could also be used to manipulate it." He uses this in context to describe caricature's important role in England and France, during the time of the French Revolution. He describes caricature giving society a "new sense of their own worth and political rights," which in turn, sparked the establishment of various political organizations and viewpoints. Since many caricatures were geared towards the general public, people of various intelligences and literacy levels could comprehend them, and therefore take a stand.
Our rights and values are something that hold great importance in our society today, and something we don't think twice about. Almost everyone has their own opinion on various debates and political views, and we continue to express those opinions freely. I found it interesting that that this reading describes Caricature as helping shape the views and opinions of people at the time, as well as a means of expressing one's view to the public. The views expressed by the various artists brought about debate over the political system.
This is something that is so common for us today. Propaganda is such a big part of our political system, especially during the Presidential Elections. Propaganda specifically tries to push a certain view onto the pubic. I found these various political cartoons supporting the idea of Caricature today, still shaping the views of society, as well as expressing societies views/feelings. These political cartoons range from the time of the Presidential Election/campaigns, and now.
Obama is first displayed in such a positive light and atmosphere. He is shown with a HUGE grin and symbolizes HUGE hope for America. This cartoon is purposely trying to veer the opinions of Americans to vote for Obama. The second cartoon is from the same time, and without even showing Obama, it still represents this positive force Obama had over Americans, and it expresses America's positive feelings towards Obama as well. It was in a way influenced by America's views. The third and fourth cartoons are after Obama began his term in office, and was faced with the challenge of performing the actions of change he promised. Gradually, Obama's big smile falls into utter confusion, and worrisome pouts. Obama is no longer depicted as this strong positive figure, he is gradually showing weakness. This cartoon could possibly bring doubts to once supportive Americans. It could also be representing Americas growing doubts and worries, as we wait and wait for change. The last, and most recent cartoon depicts a great lack of support for Obama. Although you do not see his face, the fact that he is standing alone in the middle of a 'battle' between two sides shows a definite lack of control. A President is not someone you would want to portray as being weak, but this caricature showing his inability to control or take charge of a sticky situation, is certainly not showing his best side. This could definitely effect societie's views of Obama, and his abilities. These political cartoons, along with this idea, make me wonder whether society's views are affected more by caricature, or if caricature has a greater effect on society. Has this effect changed from the time it first began?

1 comment:

  1. Cartoons like these criticize Obama's directives...but isn't unreasonable that he is an invincible president. This is the biggest financial crisis ever with many other problems. To think Obama is going solve everything ideally is beyond stupid.