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Sunday, December 02, 2018

Political Cartoons: If Only They Could Talk

If words fail, if you don't have facts and logic on your side, draw a picture.

Here's a nice example, from The Guardian as it happens, but similar treatments can be found elsewhere. It plays on the indignation felt by some - but skilfully encouraged among many more, by mainstream and social media propagandists - at President Trump's cancellation of his planned visit to the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery, 50 miles out of Paris:

If only the cartoon could use words to speak to you...

"Just look at him! Come on, you guys, Trump! Need I say more? Just look at his flabby orange face, his petulant expression, the ridiculous hair! (Don't I show all this so well! The man who drew me is an artist, no question!)

"Quite obviously he intended to insult and alienate millions of American voters by showing how little he cares for - whoever the hell it was. In France or Belgium? Don't ask me, I'm not a damn geeky historian and the place and victims aren't the point!

"The point is - Trump! And all because a little drop of rain might spoil his precious hairdo!

"Let's contrast him with Frau Merkel. She might be old, ugly and mad, with a mixing-bowl haircut, but she knows how to behave at a solemn public occasion, not like this preening chimp! I've sketched a look of disapproval on her map so you'll know just what to feel."

However, once you convert the pure emotionalism of a political cartoon into words, then the megaphone is laid down and dialogue has to begin. This is not the aim of the propagandist, who simply wishes to convince without getting into an argument - and in some cases, perhaps, is doing it not out of conviction but simply for pay.

But an argument is what he's going to get, for I've seen more than enough of this kind of nonsense about Trump, Brexit, drugs and so on. We have a young adult generation who have not put away childish things and need Skeletor to dance them into using Money Supermarket:

The flight from reason has gone on for too long. It is time to deconstruct and challenge. So, back to the obviously (to any right-thinking person) odious and contemptible Trump:

There is no room in the cartoon to explain that bad visibility meant that the helicopter flight wasn't judged safe to transport the most powerful person in the world to the cemetery. Helicopters don't glide out of trouble: British readers may remember the 30 October helicopter crash that killed Leicester City's club owner and his entourage. Those with longer memories may recall the June 1994 Mull of Kintyre crash that killed a bunch of intelligence experts coming back from Northern Ireland in thick fog.

Team Trump has also said that the alternative of driving him there was considered, but the motorcade would have disrupted Paris traffic.

And it would have taken hours to get there, do the honours and come back. The US President's time schedule is not like the ordinary person's - I've seen part of one for a previous incumbent, and the team plan to the minute.

Besides, imagine the motorcade making its way 80 kilometres into the countryside, not on home turf and not pre-checked by the Secret Service. Disruptor Trump probably has even more mortal enemies than JFK. All those hedges and grassy knolls...

Does anyone, when asked in so many words, seriously think the President would arrange an emotionally-loaded photo stunt to be seen by tens of millions of registered American voters, merely to cancel it on a whim and a flimsy excuse?

Oh, and Frau Merkel? Two days after the sober-faced mummery of the centenary Armistice ceremony she was back in the EU "Parliament" once again urging the setting up of a European "intervention force" and eventually a full-blown EU army; something recently re-aired by French President, Emannuel Macron.*

As for Macron himself (not featured in this drawing), he used the ceremony as a hook for a weird, word-twisting globalist speech in which he said patriotism was the opposite of nationalism. Humpty Dumpty might have been embarrassed if someone had replied that the French had been signally nationalistic when negotiating the Common Agricultural Policy heavily in favour of their farmers, or when developing France's independent nuclear weapons programme while the Community was trying to forge a common European defence policy.

Yes, a picture is worth a thousand words - precisely because it avoids them so you can't answer back.

*A propos, see this short video by Irish MEP Luke "Ming" Flanagan, on a European Defence Association conference which was scheduled at about the same time as an EU Parliament plenary session so that MEPs were unlikely to be able to attend (and in any case, it was invitation-only.)

He went in for a short time - after difficulties in gaining entry - and was amused-shocked by the enthusiasm of a delegate "representative of civil society" there getting excited over the prospect of killer robots:


But seemingly, the satirists would rather have hypocritical gurning at the graveside of men many of whom would have thought like the last British survivor of that war, Harry Patch:

"Earlier this year, I went back to Ypres to shake the hand of Charles Kuentz, Germany's only surviving veteran from the war. It was emotional. He is 107. We've had 87 years to think what war is. To me, it's a licence to go out and murder."

So, dark clothes, sad face, dump the wreath and then on to the defence industry beanfeast.

1 comment:

Sackerson said...

JD comments:

Interesting post so a few observations. The political commentators in the papers and on TV are looking at Trump as a politician instead of seeing what he really is, a businessman. As a businessman Trump will always work on the principle of "what's in it for me?" He is running his presidency in exactly the same way but on the principle of "What's in it for the USA?" All of the lying and changes of mind as well as the revolving door of aides and advisors are not a sign of his incompetence, they are all done as part of his strategy of creating confusion and uncertainty among his opponents and his own staff alike while he is entirely focused on the end result. As an example he called Kim Jong Un 'little rocket man' and promised 'fire and fury' and the commentators called him a dangerous lunatic. One year later he called Kim his best friend and said he loved him. Again he was described as an unpredictable nutter. But the over educated 'experts' were not looking at the details. The US and N Korea signed a deal which included the sale of substantial amounts of coal to N Korea. So who is the lunatic, Trump or the commentariat? Today I saw on the ticker running along the bottom of the screen of RT news the news that sanctions against China have been suspended for 90 days and that China would be buying substantial numbers of a variety of US products. Same question - who is the lunatic?

I am not saying that I like Trump but I do understand how he thinks and works. (In a previous post here I mentioned that I had met a lot of property developers during my working life )
As I said there, he may well turn out to be a great president simply because he is not a politician.

In the rest of your post you say "We have a young adult generation who have not put away childish things" That is a reflection of what Terence McKenna said many years ago about the world "looking like the nursery of a spoilt child" with people buying too much stuff and getting bored with and just throwing it away in favour of the next 'instant gratification' Read this comment by Iain Carstairs on his own blog and think about the state of the world around you and how and why we ended up with such a fragmented society -