SATIRE is a term applied to ANY work of literature or art whose objective is to RIDICULE. From ancient times satirists have shared a common aim - to expose foolishness in all its guises--vanity, hypocrisy, idolatry, bigotry etc -- and to effect reform through such exposure.
- Are a reflection and commentary on our DEMOCRACY.
- They provide a SNAPSHOT of major events and personalities, often capturing the complexities of political action and public perception in a single image.
- Serious subjects/issues are tempered by wit and wisdom of the cartoonists. (One definition of satire is 'wit as a weapon' which fits the political cartoon to a T.
DECONSTRUCTING POLITICAL CARTOONS
When you look for meaning in a political cartoon, you need to examine it on 3 levels -- literal, inferential and evaluative.
Study the political cartoon below. Write a few sentences on each level of reading -- literal, inferential, evaluative.
LITERAL meaning -- What do you see? Who's in the picture? What are they doing?
INFERENTIAL meaning -- What do you INFER (understand) from this picture? What message is the satirist conveying?
EVALUATIVE meaning -- Write your full evaluation/analysis of this text. What tools of satire/art has the satirist used to convey his message? What is the main message the author is converying and how does he/she do this? How has the satirist used position, size, colour etc to underline his message to convey who is powerful, who is powerless, who is marginalised, who is foregrounded?
Go here for more political cartoons featuring the Australian Prime Minister, Julia Gillard as she goes about her daily business of governing Australians.
Remember that Australia is a DEMOCRACY (rule of the people by the people). We have the freedom to satirise anything. Not all countries are so generous with their freedoms.