We’ve talked about traditional newspaper-based political cartoons. But, now in the new age of the Internet, it only makes sense to discuss the exciting new innovation that’s raising the level of political cartoon: the Photoshopped one-panels.
Let’s just start with an example from internetweekly.org:
Look at it! Ha! Ha! Ha! Rove and Gonzalez in the Keystone Cops (not “Kops,” actually) outfits!!! Now, if you thought of this joke, your simple brain probably wouldn’t even have recognized it as humor due merely to it not being funny in the slightest. The idea would have passed by almost unnoticed in the same way thoughts such as “It’s kind of cold in the office today” or “My left hand is this one over here and my right hand is that one over there.” But the person who did this panel not only thought of the joke but also held on to it and wrote it down as an idea to remember, thus making them the satirist he/she calls him/herself. And being a professional, he/she no doubt tested the joke by telling it to someone (“Rove and uh Gonzalez are like the Keystone Cops, huh?”) and, after getting the polite sort-of tired half-smile to prove to him/her that, yes, indeed, the joke is hilarious, only then did he/she commit to opening Photoshop and making this thing.
And what a thing it is! First of all, it’s very funny: This is not just a picture of Rove and Gonzalez; it’s a picture of them as other wacky vintage characters.
Also, the statement made by the cartoon goes far beyond just a few laughs, as all good satire does. It makes a statement few of us would dare make about our politicians; that we think they’re dumb. And this juxtaposition of Rove and Gonzalez as Keystone Cops does it so well. The Keystone Cops were incompetent, clumsy boobs. And that’s exactly what Gonzalez and Rove, especially, are! No one would call them, instead, calculating, manipulative, or sly. This picture is worth exactly the number of words it would take to describe it: “Rove and Gonzalez are like the Keystone Cops.” It’s difficult to measure how much this cartoon contributed to Gonazalez’s and Rove’s resignations, but chances are it had a significant, if not nil, impact.
Finally, this type of political cartoon is very difficult to pull off. For example, the panel below was made by our staff, but it did take six minutes to think of and execute.
See how it’s politicians but as”Leave It to Beaver” characters? This sufficiently meets the definition of satire.