Sunday, October 26, 2008

This May Be Cutting Political Commentary, Though I'm Guessing Probably Not

Ah...election fever. The Americans are in the throes of it right now. Up here in the True North, we had our moment of insanity a few weeks ago; down in that middle North American continent, people are gearing up to elect...someone...on November 4.

Also down in that middle North American continent, cartoonists nationwide are dragging their creaky, geriatric bodies to their drawing boards and churning out mountains of election-related material.* Many of these cartoonists are simply doing election comics because it's sort of expected of them. Of course, many of these cartoonists are simply doing comics, period, because it's sort of expected of them.

The Wizard of Id often uses its medieval setting to comment on American society, albeit generally American society circa 1953. Today, it attempts a topical political comic. One could actually see it as relevant to the actual American election.*** If one did, however, one would have to ignore the fact that the presidential incumbent is actually not running this year. Is George Bush the King? The comic doesn't work. Is John McCain the King? Why would John McCain be the King? Is Barack Obama the King? Now we're just being silly.

The comic only begins to make sense if viewed as medieval-style allegory, in which, as I've implied in previous entries, not every single tiny detail has to line up with reality. Perhaps "the King" equals "the Republicans"...or perhaps, as in the last Wizard comic we examined, the author is retreating into the past and making some extremely relevant comments on the policies of either Richard II or Richard III. I would wager on the latter possibility, as I doubt that whichever Parker and Hart Descendants are working on the strip now would know good American political satire from a hole in the ground. They are more comfortable making hilarious jokes about monarchs who have been dead for centuries.

*All right...technically, they did the dragging and churning weeks ago. One does rather wonder how cartoonists in the digital age feel about mandatory buffers. While staff reporters frantically write articles that go to press half an hour later and editors come to terms with all that technology by posting constantly evolving articles online, cartoonists are still expected to produce their stuff well ahead of time. The practice leads to absurdities such the the characters from Doonesbury, a political comic, spending weeks tiptoeing around election results everybody else in the country knows.**
**I am not sure why footnote #1 just turned into a rant, but oh well.

***If one squiddled one's eyes around, then took various illegal substances and completely lost touch with reality.


Brian said...

He didn't realize that the lever marked "kyng" actually cast a vote for Eluys

jackd said...

So bad even the Middle English couldn't save it. But then I glanced up at "Lough, Cherles! Lough!" Bingo.