…get stuck in with a bit of French revolutionary iconography.
A particularly bloody and rather good cartoon from the ever-gothic Martin Rowson. I like how this cartoon highlights both the ludricrous heights to which the expenses furore has risen – and, moreover, the fact that while abuse of public funds is never a good thing, the controversy is serving to act as a distraction from the far more sinister machinations of high capitalism (which has assumed the role of the tricoteuse at the foot of the guillotine).
Funnily enough, Karl told me that the day this was published there was a chap on News 24 describing the uproar over the expenses scandal as being akin to the storming of the Bastille. Naturally I won’t go into why that analogy is so totally and utterly wrong, as we’d be here til Christmas – instead I’ll just file all this stuff away for future research on the idea of the French Revolution in British popular culture in the past century or so…
Meanwhile, Bell continues to mix cartoons and photography in a fascinating way.
There will be more on cartoonists taking photographs (or, if you wish, photographers drawing cartoons) on here soon, but for the moment I’m bemused by the reactions to Bell’s Israel-related cartoons. As an aside, I think the empty podium in the image on the right is great.
Naturally, it’s a divisive and contentious issue so it’s only natural that those who comment on the cartoons (The Guardian having provided its cartoons page with a user comment section) should have rather clear-cut and often quite extreme views on the situation and, indeed, on the cartoon commenting on it. While it is fairly clear where Bell stands on the issue of the Middle East, his cartoons on the topic – as his work so often does – offers commentary that is both prescient and unsettling.
Personally, I am of the opinion that what sets really, really good political cartoonists apart from the rest – those who deal in the ‘big head, tiny body’ area of caricature – is that unsettling quality that they can bring to an image. Good political cartoons make you think. That’s why, for me at least, the rather more unanimous positive reaction from the comments section to Bell’s cartoon concerning potential punishment for expenses-abusing MPs (which appeared in the Guardian the next day) is so interesting.
Cartoons that we can all agree on and have a good laugh at = good.
Cartoons that provoke thought and might cause discussion = bad.