Graphic Witness: visual arts & social commentary
Graphic Witness home page

A Political Contradictionary from A to Z















ATIRE, the life blood of contradiction...or is that the other way around?

Either way, the successful political satirist sharpens perceptions and pricks egos. Take for example the July 21, 2008 cover of the New Yorker Magazine. It depicts an over-the-top, right wing fantasy, a graphic catalog of the lies and innuendo that have been circulated about then Senator Obama and his wife. The cover is a caricature of that fantasy, a visual contradiction illustrating the absurdity of the rumors and either purposeful or ignorant misinterpretations of Obama words and biography. Rather than attack or ridicule the Obamas, the cover illustration is meant to skewer those who could believe that any part of it represents an accurate reflection of the then president-to-be and his wife. The title, The Politics of Fear, is to be found in the magazine's table of contents, but it was not necessarily included in the breathless television commentary the image generated. Unfortunately, for the satire-challenged, the stand-alone image was taken quite literally. See also THIS MODERN WORLD by Tom Tomorrow

Satire is a sort of glass, wherein beholders do generally discover everybody's face but their own.
Jonathan Swift

You can't make up anything anymore. The world itself is a satire. All you're doing is recording it.
Art Buchwald

Satire is traditionally the weapon of the powerless against the powerful.
Molly Ivins

Satire is a lesson, parody is a game.
Vladimir Nabokov