The power and danger of good political cartoons

Sometimes an image can be so powerful, so profound.. that it has the power to convey the complexity
of an entire political era in a single frame. That’s exactly the reason why our school books
and newspapers are filled with political cartoons.

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But where do they come from.. and how are they linked to 16th and
17th century satire and propaganda? A political cartoon is a comical drawing,
sometimes with a caption.. freely expressing ideas and often sparking debate. They can be a caricature, mockery of a current event.. or simply just a comical situation. We don’t need to explain that we live in a very
exciting time for political cartoonists. And for these cartoonists, there are a lot of
possibilities to get there message across.. from the traditional newspapers, to Reddit, blogs and Instagram.. political cartoons are everywhere. But let’s not forget today’s meme creators,
which in a way are doing the same thing as the cartoonists. If you haven’t already, check out our episodes on memes. We’ll put a link in the description. Every major political event in modern western history.. has been ridiculed by all sides of the
political spectrum in the form of cartoons. From the French Revolution.. to the rise and fall of Napoleon.. both world wars.. the tension between the
East and the West during the Cold War.. and of course, more recent geopolitical events. For the biggest part of the 20th century, political cartoons
were simple black and white, single panel illustrations.. but they have become more and more layered. They can be in color, animated.. or even appear in the form of a complete novel.. like this first ever editorial cartoon Pulitzer Prize winner.. about two Syrian families who fled the
Syrian civil war and came to the US. The Ancient Egyptians, Greeks, Romans.. However, political cartoons really kicked off with
one of the biggest innovations in the field of mass media.. the invention of the printing press in the 15th century. Political cartoons became available for the masses
and were also used as a way to influence them. Today, we call this propaganda. In the early days of print, cartoons proved
to be highly effective to get a message across.. as the majority of the public did not know how to read. And by the time of the religious wars that raged
through 16th century Europe they were everywhere. During these wars, the Protestants opposed the ruling Catholic church. And both sides were quick to adopt cartoons as a way of propaganda. Like this example, where the Protestants
link the pope directly to Satan. But it wasn’t all politics and religion. Ordinary people and their everyday lives were
a great subject for the cartoonists as well.. ridiculing modern fashion, or commenting on the laziness of society. The cartoonist clearly felt that useless pastime
should make way for real honest hard work. Or check out this one: where men and women in general were
criticized for just randomly picking out their spouses. They’re portrayed with a blindfold on as they’re picking out a
random person to be their partner from a basket of people. Okay, not quite as funny as the memes you
tag your bff in, but still, you get the idea. In the politically fractured Dutch Republic of the 17th century.. cartoons became such an import tool to influence popular opinion.. that they contribute to the brutal death of two
of the most prominent statesmen of the time: the De Witt brothers, in 1672. They had a quarrel with the mighty William III of Orange.. who was head of the military at the time. Fractions from both parties bombarded
the masses with political cartoons.. ridiculing the other party, often encouraging violence. On the morning of augusts the 20th, 1672, pamphlets
were hung all over the city of The Hague.. calling upon the people to kill the brothers. At the end of the afternoon, an angry mob led
by members of the civil guard was assembled. The De Witt brothers were lynched. Their were bodies hanged and gutted.
and their limbs were sold as souvenirs. One of the most profound political cartoons
ever made was Philip Zec’s ‘Don’t lose it again’.. published on victory in Europe day 1945. This image is perhaps one of the best example of
what makes political cartoons so powerful. Somehow, it manages to capture the complexity
of an entire era in one single. but what do you think? Is This Art? Let us know in the comments whether you
think political cartoons are art or not.. and let us know your suggestions for future episodes of is this art.

  1. Yes, they are, sometimes better sometimes worse, but still art! I enjoy this videos so much! Thank you guys! Keep it up!

  2. I love the presentation of your videos! Can I maybe put forward a suggestion for an episode? Here I go: is skateboarding Art?

  3. Yes, this is definitely art. However, I do believe time will truly tell what’s art and what’s propaganda. Keep up the good work guys!

  4. Yep! love the videos! it's amazing to know the Egyptians troll each other with huge slabs of stone. Can you imagine sending your friend a 50 pound meme!! ha!
    oh! and keep up the great work!

  5. If art might be classified as: "the expression of emotion or passion via theme and/or description", then yeah. Political cartoons are art. The quality of said art is definitely up for debate, but it is still art. Now I'm definitely not an expert on art, so if an actual expert has a better, more widely accepted definition, I'll concede to their expertise, but this is how I understand it.

  6. My suggestions:
    General rules of Art ( as general as it can)
    Tools of Art ( in painting, in sculpture, in music, in poetry, in building ect.) Can be its own series.
    Styles of Art ( Borocco, Modern, pot-Modern, Renascence ect.) Also can be its own series.
    Unexpected Art – Park as art, Building as art, vandalism as art, violence is art, science as art, plastic surgery as art.

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