Friday, October 19, 2012

Friday's "Purposeless" Cartoon

hot and overcast.

This cartoon was inspired by George Hasselback's turn at the impeachment hearings.  He gave clear and concise testimony about the ARRA contract between the CNMI government and Mike Ada and how it violated the CNMI's statutory provisions.  He was rashly accused by Daling Ogumoro of having a "personal agenda" against Ed Buckingham because George quit the AG's office when Ed pulled the plug on prosecution of a case George was handling.

The evidence George presented at the hearings was clear and included a federal review report noting the probable CNMI violations by the ARRA contract.  So I thought of a clear window--shattered by Governor Fitial's sole-source deals, in this case the Ada $400,000 waste.

I title this post "purposeless" cartoon because in today's Variety, the Governor's Press Secretary, Angel Demapan, takes a pot shot at me in his tribute to Ruth Tighe, saying Ruth earned respect of friends and foes because she didn't engage in "name-calling, childish acts like manipulating personal photos or drawing purposeless comics."  Angel chiding the governor's foes for name-calling? How ridiculous as the Governor is on record calling the people of Rota and Tinian "stupid" and calling Alan Fletcher a "liar" and does more name-calling than anyone. As for the rest, Wendy swirls and photo-shops photos, so I think that part of the comment is aimed at her.  But the cartooning dig is obviously meant for me (and possibly Mitch Westland who has also contributed an editorial cartoon recently).

But seriously, Ruth Tighe of all people, would approve of the cartoons.  She appreciated all forms of political expression.  And Ruth,  more than anyone, as a librarian and highly educated and literate person, would understand that political comment through cartooning is not purposeless.  It has been an American fixture of journalism since the Civil War.  Beloved children's book author and illustrator Theodore Geisl, bka Dr. Seuss, drew more than 400 political cartoons during WWII.   The best satirists win national and international prestigious awards. Political cartooning is hardly "purposeless."

As described here, it is
"an enduring presence in American political culture. In its telling is exemplified those salient themes dear to the collective scholarship of the medium, such as it is-- the power of the giants of the genre to fuse creative caricature, clever situational transpositions, and honest indignation to arouse the populace and alter for the better the course of human events. "

Roger A. Fischer, Them Damned Pictures: Explorations in American Cartoon Art. (North Haven CT: Archon Books) 1996.

I do not claim to be the best, or even good at political cartooning, but I do understand the need for the three considerations-creative caricature, clever transpositions of familiar situations, and honest indignation--all for the purpose to arouse the populace to a better course of action.

For more on political cartoons and lesson plans for middle and high school on the subject: see this page at

No comments: