Politics are rarely funny by nature. This election cycle in particular has shown off the nastier side of the political game. However, political cartoonists are still finding something to laugh about in the whole process.
Political cartoonists are constantly looking for the absurd angle to any story, and political conventions are territory ripe for absurdity: the costumes, the parties, the media circus and sometimes even the speakers and the candidates themselves. The cartoonists covering the events have a license to poke fun at anyone and everyone at the party, and a duty to expose truths with humor.
However, political cartoonists have a very serious job as well. They are journalists who tell stories with drawings and visual metaphors instead of with words and photographs. While humor is their way to make biting political commentary, that commentary would not mean much if it were not held to the same standards of truth as other forms of journalism.
In this video, two political cartoonists covering the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla. face off in a cartoon duel and talk about the perks of their career choice.
"As cartoonist, and journalists, we are looking for the humorous angle. So when we see the delegates getting excited and wearing the funny hats...it's much funnier if you can draw that than if you can just report about it." - Rob Rogers, political cartoonist, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
1. What is a political cartoon?
2. What are some common political symbols? What do they mean?
3. What skills do you need to be a cartoonist?
1. What are these cartoonists' views on the spectacle of the convention? What point are they trying to make?
2. What imagery and symbols did the artists choose to tell their stories? Why do you think they chose those particular symbols?
3. Do you think that they were successful in demonstrating their points? Why or why not?
Lesson Plan: Analyzing Election Cartoons:
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