Saturday, 9 July 2011

I Got Pictures On My Mind

There are only three things in the world that I hate, and one of them is political cartoons.

The stupidity of political cartoons has been observed by the brilliant The Trap in one of their brilliant Sodcasts, as a Hate. So go find and listen to that particular Sodcast and they'll explain what's wrong with political cartoons better than I can. Seriously, stop reading this and go listen. Stop! Now!

Fine. So today I went to visit my great-uncle in hospital (after the fun of cleaning his toilet.) and we eventually got to see him, after the receptionist insisted that he wasn't in the ward we'd been told. He was. As was an empty bed, which definitely and unequivocally disproves all this nonsense about overcrowded hospitals. While my mum talked to him I flicked through the New Statesman and all the fun and elation of being in a hospital cancer ward left me.

Tim Kirby's political cartoon was awful as usual. It isn't online, but here's one of his that is:



1. It isn't funny or clever. A good political cartoon is funny and clever, or at least just clever.
2. It's mostly words. A good political cartoon does not rely on too many words. The joke or point should be contained in the picture. Contrived labels to create visual metaphors are unacceptable.
3. It's not even a good drawing. A good political cartoon is well drawn.

Oh and here's what I mean by using contrived labels to create visual metaphors:


Ah of course, it's the Privatisation wolf in the sheep's clothing of Reform. And Rowan Williams is... a shepherd? The speech bubble is just redundant. People tend to talk strangely in political cartoons. I agree with the argument, but it all just makes the picture confusing and annoying. If you need to label everything for it to make sense, then rethink it. The problem most of the time is that too much is crammed in, leaving us with unwieldily long captions and stupid labels. I can do that.


See? Oh yeah, fish puns were another of The Trap's Hates.

And then there's The Guardian's Steve Bell, who I generally just don't really understand.


All that said, I do love Chris Riddell, if just because he fulfils the 3rd condition of good political cartoons; his drawings are brilliant.

I will leave you with the System Of A Down song from which the title of this blog is taken; Pictures. Enjoy!

1 comment:

  1. I've got a Steve Bell book, makes more sense than that picture.