Thursday, February 23, 2012


In satirical humor, I think it is best for the artist to have some sort of connection with the person or stereotype that they’re mocking. It triggers a specific knowledge and power over the viewer, the power of laughter. I think perhaps the power of humor oftentimes goes underestimated when it comes to politics. Yet, caricatures have access this freedom, the freedom of the press. Even in current times, the Internet is flooded with caricatures, enabling them to gain even more viewers and followers. In the article, The Age of Caricature, Donald talks about the emergence of Gillray and the time period in which he was producing work. “ Their success was closely linked to the growth of the press, the development of parliamentary reporting, growing familiarity with the personalities of leading politicians and political consciousness among the people at large: they were the materialization of opinion without doors, and their graphic stereotypes must in turn have profoundly affected the thought patterns of those who saw them.”

Similarly to Gillray’s prints, this political cartoon from the New York Times approaches the current data-mining situation with satirical humor. Data mining is one of the most controversial topics- social websites like Facebook, etc. implicitly use your personal information to personalize advertisements, basically selling your information. In this cartoon, it shows to kids, appearing innocent (much like Facebook) and offering lemonade, like most kids do during the summer. It looks as though a man has gotten a lemonade, and in passing, offers advice to the next customer, saying, “it’s free, but they sell your information,” poking fun and satire at the large social networking corporations. Much like the article, “The French Revolution and the propaganda War of the 1790’s,” which emphasizes the need for political dissidence, and propaganda cartoons, because it is partially the society member’s fault for ignorance of politics. Maybe if we didn’t ignorantly sign up to give away our personal information, we would have no one to blame for the selling or commoditization of our information and possibly, our rights. The light shadows and innocent look of the children’s faces is also another appeal, the children look very inviting, while the parents, have a dark cast shadow over their bodies, as if doom and gloom took over their physical features.

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