Friday, July 29, 2011

MORT's Meanderings:

A picture worth a thousand words?

"As crazy as it might sound, the cartoon on the Opinion page of the 7-26-2011 edition of the SunSentinel, proves the validity of that trite old adage: "A picture is worth a thousand words." By combining a simple line drawing and a few words of text, the Sentinel's resident political cartoonist Chan Lowe, managed to create a cartoon that would require a thousand words to fully explain. Cartoons are not supposed to create confusion on the part of the viewer.

I'll try in less than a thousand words, to give you an idea of how Lowe created the confusion. His drawing is divided into two halves by a vertical line down the center. On the left side, a 'Joe-6-pack-everyday-sorta-guy' is viewing the front page of his newspaper. The headline reads, "Norway Terrorist A Christian Radical". The guy comments: "First Oklahoma City, now this . . " On the right side of the cartoon, the same guy is depicted shouting, "They shouldn't be allowed to build churches in this country!" This is a clumsy attempt at drawing a parallel to the loudly-expressed opposition by seriously concerned citizens of neighborhoods all across this nation, to the unprecedented proliferation of Mosque-building in their midst. Some might have gotten that message but, I'm guessing that the majority of folks who viewed this over their morning coffee said, "Whaa-aa-at?"

Here's the background, I believe: Super-sized Mosques are being built in neighborhoods where there is currently scant demand for them but, where they are expected to soon be filled with a huge influx of Muslims, all praying five times a day. Prayer services and teachings are led by Imams of the 'religion of peace', espousing the dictates of Shariah - this is the restrictive doctrine that enforces its terms with a variety of brutal corporal punishments, including sanctioned killing. It is radical Islam's stated goal to replace the freedoms guaranteed under our Constitution of the United States of America, with an insanely rigid set of rules that must be followed to the letter by all Muslims, for fear of their own life and limb and that of their families. All infidels or non-believers are made to disappear.

I am hard put to understand how in this time of super-sensitivity to religious bigotry, this newspaper could approve a cartoon that is so blatantly offensive to Christians. Is anyone willing to bet their bottom dollar that such a cartoon would never have seen the light of day if the word had been 'Muslim' instead of 'Christian'? I'll cover that bet.

Political cartoons are ideally, supposed to combine an easily-comprehended drawing with a minimum of supporting text. If the cartoonist is sufficiently skilled at producing this delicate combination, the viewer will quickly, 'get the picture'. If on the other hand, the cartoonist lacks the ability to grasp the essence of the political situation he wants to depict, it is a given that he will not be able to translate an amorphous concept into a cartoon that will be easily understood by the average viewer. A good cartoon can be an effective tool for making a pointed statement; a bad cartoon only serves to muddle an issue by contributing to confusion on the part of those who view it.

"Viewing Lowe's stuff in the SunSentinel gives me the impression that most of the time, this guy is in over his head. And quite often he is in, waaa-ay over his head."

Conservative Commentary by MORT KUFF © 2011

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