The free dictionary defines caricature as: A representation, especially pictorial or literary, in which the subject’s distinctive features or peculiarities are deliberately exaggerated to produce a comic or grotesque effect.
The use of caricature to mock political leaders enjoys a time-honored tradition especially in the English-speaking world. Below is a British example mocking King George III and his policies. King George had the dubious honor of being mocked by his subjects on the both sides of the Atlantic.
President Lincoln was mocked as well through caricature. The cartoon below is from Punch, a British publication, famous for its ability to mock through caricature. This one shows a foolish looking Lincoln trying to convince a freed slave to fight for the Union.The jab seems to have more to do with Lincoln’s policies rather than attacking Lincoln personally. Britain was pro-Confederacy during our Civil War.
The caption would not pass a political correctness test today!
The use of masks is another way to use caricature to mock a politician although the mocking is more usually personal than directed at policy. George W. Bush was relentlessly mocked, often very cruelly by the left. Here a person caricatures George Bush as Satan.
Another caricature of George W. Bush, this time as an ape.
President Obama is also mocked via the use of caricature. The right can be just as cruel mocking him as the left was in mocking George W. Bush. In politics, mockery and caricature is par for the course. Most politicians expect it and man or wo-man up to it. The cartoon below takes a Sarah Palin quote way out of context and applies it to President Obama.
Given the history of caricature and the mockery of political figures not to mention the First Amendment, I find it amusing and chilling that the rodeo clown who wore a Obama mask would be subject to sensitivity training and possible investigation by the Justice Department.
Personally, I think there is a difference between a well thought out caricature and name-calling that demonizes an opponent. I think the two examples given above about President Bush and the one example regarding President Obama are simply name calling that tend to demonize. The one regarding Bush is blatant demonization and contribute nothing to debate as do personal attacks.
The last picture is about the rodeo clown who wore a Obama mask during a performance at the Missouri State Fair. It now appears he will be banned for life at that fair and be subject to sensitivity training at the least.
Here’s some comments and observations:
1) Unless the clown violated some clear-cut rules or guidelines that prohibited the use of political masks of all types he should not be disciplined. Period.
2) While the use of the mask is name calling it certainly is not demonization. If something similar happened in the Bush administration or even the Clinton administration it would be news. The left is guilty of far worse and guilty more frequently. To have the Justice Department look into this is pure hypocrisy of the highest order. If the President was not so narcissistic he’d make some hay by poking fun at himself and let this poor off. Instead, it’s become a big deal. Sad.
3) One can argue what is in good taste or bad taste but the bottom line is we still have freedom of speech and expression in this country so to prosecute this man is to send a message: Do not criticize or mock our President in any way or else. This flies in the face in our Constitution, something the Administration does now on a regular basis. This should have a chilling effect on both the right and the left and to all thinking Americans.
4) Political correctness is being used as a club to control thought as well as speech and action. When one group gets to define what is acceptable thought and speech you have a dictatorship and a persecuted minority that will not tow the party line. For all their yapping about diversity the left requires conformity and will use law to get it. Big brother is here and he looks a lot like the mask on a rodeo clown, although he certainly is not a clown and knows exactly what he is doing.
And that’s the way I see it.
Below is a great caricature that speaks volumes!
- Shock: Satirist Depicts the President as a Monkey (pjmedia.com)
- George H. W. Bush Was a Dummy (iowntheworld.com)
- 10 Disturbing Images Mocking Bush That Were Far Worse Than a Rodeo Clown (patdollard.com)
- Liberal Reaction to the Missouri Rodeo Clown is Akin to the Radical Muslim Response to a Mohammed Cartoon (rushlimbaugh.com)