« Media: lapdogs, watch dogs, attack dogs | Main | Sunday cartoon »

February 07, 2004

the unmaking of a PM

This is by one of the better cartoonists working in Britain today:

Steve Bell

Blair's porkie was full of ambiguity as to whether the 45 minutes claim applied to battlefield or strategic weapons.

No matter. The fallout from the Iraq war is breaking Tony Blair rather than making him. the point of going towar was to preempt the use of to pre-empt Iraq's use of WMD. No weapons. So Blair was either wrong or dishonest. Trust in Blair declines.

I'm glad that political cartoons have a higher profile in broadsheets (less in the tabloids). They express an anger that is missing from a lot of journalism and so continue the tradition that dates back to Hogarth.

The political cartoon is an editorial in pictures. The best convey the politically unsayable through graphic images:
Dave Brown

This reworking of Goya's Saturn took out the best British political cartoon in 2003

Both cartoons show just how powerful images are in political argument. The effect they have is far more powerful than words, don't you think?

Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at February 7, 2004 01:37 PM

Trackback Pings

TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference the unmaking of a PM:

» Another Bigot from Israellycool
The always-on-the-ball Tim Blair has drawn to our attention the vile stench that is Adelaide academic Gary Sauer-Thompson's blog. Sauer-Thompson thinks that the infamous David Brown cartoon of Ariel Sharon biting the head off a child is one example of... [Read More]

Tracked on February 9, 2004 05:29 PM

» Anti-Semetism. from philosophical conversations
Trevor, Alas, I did not get a chance to read your entries other than a quick scan. I have to [Read More]

Tracked on March 7, 2004 04:04 PM

» treated worse than a dog from Junk for Code
It just gets worse: A photograph obtained by The Washington Post shows a naked detainee at the Abu Ghraib prison, [Read More]

Tracked on May 9, 2004 04:44 PM

» political cartoons from Junk for Code
The context and the background. A controversial cartoon. An academic account of political cartoons: 'In defence of the political [Read More]

Tracked on December 11, 2004 12:19 AM

» Thoughts on Terrorism from Thinking Out Loud: Thought Leadership from an Enterprise Architect
Guess who owns the world's largest database on Islamic terrorism? Is it the CIA, the FBI, or the NSA? No, the owners and operators are ...a group of American tort lawyers who are preparing to sue the Saudis for one... [Read More]

Tracked on March 12, 2005 08:44 PM


You anti-Semites are sick.

Posted by: sue at February 9, 2004 11:23 AM

"They express an anger that is missing from a lot of journalism"

The problem with anger is you skip a lot of nuance, detail and inconvenient facts in order to reach a state of emotional purity. Like patriotism.

Posted by: Tiu Fu Fong at February 9, 2004 11:41 AM

"They express an anger that is missing from a lot of journalism"

Anger should be missing from journalism, unless you're talking about editorialism.

Report all the facts, let us get outraged. If you report the facts with outrage, we'll assume you're peddling an agenda.

Posted by: RussSchultz at February 9, 2004 12:02 PM

Lunacy. Anyone who finds that cartoon "telling" or anywhere near the truth is not capable of being reasoned with.

Posted by: praetorian at February 9, 2004 12:33 PM

This is, and you are, truly vile. From one Adelaide gentile to another, "Ani ge'eh la'amod im Yisrael".

Posted by: David at February 9, 2004 12:45 PM

Josef Goebbels is alive and well, and working as a political cartoonist in Britain.

Posted by: EvilPundit at February 9, 2004 12:59 PM

Cartoons like that just demonstrate the capacity for leftist ideology to actually remove the humanity from a person, leaving at best a savage, at worst a demon. It's not an anger missing from journalism, it's a cancer and like all cancers there are only two solutions: keep it in remission through continual treatment, or destroy every last living cell of it.

Posted by: an American at February 9, 2004 01:15 PM

Guess it will be kind of amusing when the Islamofascists turn on you germs in anti-semitic western left. You're just another faction of the hated kaffir family of satan and they'd blow you to smithereens just as eagerly as they would us rationalists. Sad that your hate for everything that has made your society great blinds you to the evil you now embrace.

Posted by: slatts at February 9, 2004 01:32 PM

Then again, the now-certified and documented existence of 'systems for the production of' WMD bodes well for the future of Mr Blair, as Britain still has many intelligent, capable citizens who recognize Tony's able, honest leadership.

Posted by: Sharps Shooter at February 9, 2004 02:33 PM

If you read the Dave Brown cartoon critically, then you would interpret it as addressing Likund as a political party and its policies--eg, ethnic cleansing and the dreams of a greater Israel.

A political party (Likund) does not equal a people, a nation or a state.

To assume that it does is to pretend that there are no other Israeli voices that are critical of Likund; or have a different conception the Israeli nation-state to Likund's ethnically cleansed Israel.

Posted by: Gary Sauer-Thompson at February 9, 2004 04:16 PM


Posted by: S Whiplash at February 9, 2004 04:39 PM

Ethnically cleansed Israel? When you make statements like that, I expect you to back them up with facts.

Have you even been to Israel? Do you have any knowledge of the conflict besides what your leftie colleagues tell you? If you want to know more, you can ask me, since unlike the David Brown's of the world, I actually live here and have studied the region for a great deal of my 29 years.

Trust me, if Likud wanted an "ethnically-cleansed" Israel, we would have one. But, I hate to disappoint you...unlike our "neighbors", Israelis want peace, even though their blood is being spilled.

Posted by: Dave at February 9, 2004 05:14 PM

You should try learning about the "blood libel" then you might understand why some people find the cartoon more offensive than you do. Also that is not what Sharons nose looks like, it is an accentuated typically Jewish looking nose. Now why would that be?

Posted by: Dead Ed at February 9, 2004 05:50 PM

Sick people are the best to recognize a sick cartoon...

Posted by: Yossi at February 9, 2004 07:24 PM

The cartoon indeed serves a political purpose - often using pictorial metaphor as biting commentary. Unfortunately, sometimes cartoons merely represent crude and vicious propaganda, no more especially than when using slanderous stereotypes to crudely make a point.

The "reworking of Goya's Saturn" as you put it, is crude, discriminatory and lacking in supporting truths. Dave Brown is simply an anti-Semite (by presentation, if not belief). "Why?", you might ask, when criticism of Israel or its PM should be allowed without charges of anti-Semitism being raised.

The point is that the cartoon is untrue, it perpetuates the dreadful blood libel (i.e. Jews sacrifice gentile children to make their Passover matzos etc), and tars all Israel and world Jewry with the animalistic behaviours it depicts in the cartoon Sharon character. Furthermore, it makes no attempt at context, to portray the thousands of Israelis who, over the years, have been the targets of Arab terror. It lacks accuracy, balance and fairness - a propaganda distortion. Now, for a good political cartoonist you should check out the works of (the late) Sir David Low. His depiction of Hitler and Stalin at the time of the non-aggression pact (1939) was truly sublime.

I say, compare Dave Brown's cartoon with those of 'Der Sturmer' in the 1930's and you'll see no difference in substance or style. If it's good enough to call the Nazis anti-Semitic, then the same cap neatly fits Mr Brown - prize or no prize. Those who think Brown's work is a fine example of the cartoon at work in presenting fearless editorial commentary should re-evaluate their own world-view.

Posted by: Tony at February 9, 2004 07:30 PM

"If you read the Dave Brown cartoon critically, then you would interpret it as addressing Likund as a political party and its policies"

And if you read it critically, e.g. with your head out of your ass, you would see that as others here have pointed out it's just another rehash of the antisemitic trope that jews eat non-jewish children. The gross, distorted features and gluttonous body given to Sharon are an old reliable standard of racist imagery. Look back to Nazi jew-baiting and even American anti-japanese propaganda from WW2 and you'll see the same. Anytime a person is given the features of a monster, racism is at work in the creation of the image.

Posted by: an American at February 9, 2004 11:00 PM

Id love to know, Gary, how come you think Im an attack dog while a bigoted fuck like Dave Brown somehow convey[s] the politically unsayable through graphic images and show[s] just how powerful images are in political argument.

Seems to me hes that hes simply attacking people, and in a particularly doglike fashion, too. Wouldnt you say?

Posted by: tim blair at February 10, 2004 01:59 AM

Both cartoons would have done Julius Streicher's Der Sturmer proud. By the way it is Likud not Likund.

Posted by: Samantha at February 10, 2004 06:29 AM

Steve Bell eats wormmeat. Thank you.

Posted by: fun with nails at February 10, 2004 07:12 AM

attack dog journalism is a different kind of journalism to watchdog. It maps how journalism is changing.

You use humor and satire to say the unsayable. And you do a pretty good job of that.

But images are even more powerful in terms of their effect on us than words, judging by the response the Brown image has had.

Posted by: Gary Sauer-Thompson at February 10, 2004 04:06 PM

Der Sturmer, absolutely. National SOCIALISM is being reborn as we watch. So many are so ignorant of the recent past.

Posted by: Marty at February 10, 2004 08:18 PM

Explaining away this racist cartoon by references to a subtext of deeper meaning or the power of images is sick.

Really sick.

Posted by: Adam at February 11, 2004 07:49 AM

You can find a reference to Likud and ethnic cleansing under the name of 'transfer' on this, previous post.

I'm glad to here that many Israeli's oppose Likud policies. I would support their efforts in this.

Posted by: ZGary Sauer-Thompson at February 11, 2004 01:14 PM

Jhesos! Interesting responses you got there Gary! Who would have thought this to be so volatile? This is an important phenomenon though. As it seems, the question is:

criticism = anti-semitism?

Evidently a critical reading of this cartoon points to Likud policy. Whether the blood libel aspect is racist or anti-semitic is a different question really - Dave Brown may merely be wishing to express the degradation of zionism, which is hardly anti-semitic.

A completely uncritical, overly subjective interpretation on the other hand, will generate the notion of "anti-semitism" - if you feel attacked that is. Incidentally, an uncritical reading from the attacker's perspective will generate the same notion, however he'll be pleased about it. Funny isn't it...

What is really telling here is the reactionary use of "anti-semitism", as if the radical left's newest thing was some kind of conspiracy against world jewry. Everytime somebody points out the US-Israeli veto club, Israel's nuclear weapons arsenal, hell, even US policy in the Middle East, you can be sure some spineless idiot will cry "anti-semitism".

Besides, anyone who finds these cartoons agreeable would be prone to label the Sharon government as a hoard of reactionary nazis. Can't quite see anti-semitism fitting into this. Can you?

ps. can't stop smiling at the capital lettred SOCIALISM in a post above - goebbles seems to extend his influence into the next millenium!

Posted by: mike at March 8, 2004 10:21 PM

It's the Tim Blair crowd swooping through. This time the level of commentary from his readership is a lot higher than is normally the case.

However, any attempt to engage with the issues is dismissed with slogans and personal attacks. There is only one reading of the image: theirs. As you point out all other interpretations that differ from theirs are deemed to be anti-semitic.

It indicates that Israel is indentical to the right wing interpretation of it. No other interpretation of Israel than the Likud one can be allowed.

So criticizing Likud is criticising Israel.

Posted by: Gary Sauer=Thompson at May 9, 2004 04:41 PM

I think the comic of dave brown is SO TRUE!
Good on him.

I'm doing an assignment on Goya & this popped up. I'm arguing about how the mind needs to be revolutionised and understanding to the world of arts. Thanks for the website! Thanks for all the *booers* out there. I'll use you guys as guinea pigs relating you to the people of hitler germany!

And of course it's a leftists view. Duh!
Thats because we are so ignorant and naive to the extreme right.

Posted by: jake elliot at June 27, 2004 02:03 PM

It's very interesting to see how strongly people have reacted to just one cartoon in a newspaper. I just finished writing an essay about the impact of political cartoons, and whether you agree with what Dave Brown is saying or not, he has produced a prime example of just how powerful the cartoon is, even today when we're bombarded with images every second of every day.

Posted by: Beth at December 10, 2004 07:22 PM

There are some links to some Australian academics writing about the significance of political cartoons over at junkf for code for those interested.

Posted by: Gary Sauer-Thompson at December 11, 2004 12:24 AM

Post a comment

Remember Me?

(you may use HTML tags for style)