Wednesday, September 10, 2014

"A Forest Fire of Ignorance"


One of my favorite editorial cartoonists is Pat Oliphant, a man who draws cartoons that are invariably dead accurate and brilliantly clever, like this one ...


He also has a gift for the perfect turn of phrase, as in this interview which recently appeared in The Atlantic. In the interview, he's asked whether the influence of political cartoons has changed during his career; he answers yes, for a number of reasons, but the one that really hit home to me is summed up in this passage:

"There’s another important factor [for the decline in influence of cartoonists]: education. The frames of reference have disappeared. You have to have a frame of reference to appreciate a cartoon, to know what is being caricatured. People don’t do the reading of news anymore that would give them the background to know what the cartoon is about; you can’t refer to accepted wisdom or variations of accepted wisdom. We are in a forest fire of ignorance."

"A forest fire of ignorance" - I don't think I can say it any better.

As I've often moaned in this space, we live in an era when people don't think any more - they parrot slogans. They don't read the news, they don't think about implications, they don't discuss issues with minds open to new and different ideas. They mindlessly swallow whole the latest bilge they heard from a shouting head on Faux News or any of a thousand intellectually empty talk shows.

Too bad it's not this easy ...


Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.

Bilbo

8 comments:

The Bastard King of England said...

If brains were offered at 25 cents, some people would wait for a discount.

Duckbutt said...

Yes, context is needed for editorial cartoons. And good artistry. Right now, there are no good editorial cartoonists in TN.

allenwoodhaven said...

Oliphant is one of the best. His comment about the lack of education on issues is unfortunately all to true. Thanks for the link to the article.

eViL pOp TaRt said...

So much of education is rote learning instead.

Fox News is by no means the only perp.

Linda Kay said...

Talking heads. My problem with the news now is that I find myself very cynical, not trusting what I'm hearing. I can certainly understand why people just don't get the political cartoons anymore.

Mike said...

Was at our city's Aldermen meeting last night. Lots of cartoon material was generated by the Board and citizens alike.

Grand Crapaud said...

A little bit of skepticism is an adaptive skill.

Chuck Bear said...

Skepticism and thinking for yourself should also extend to editorial cartoons: Fox revisited.