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Others feel the need for greater circumspection. Caldwell believes it is important to strike a balance between a humorous depiction and one that causes offence. Of particular relevance to this study were the attitudes expressed by cartoonists about the use of Nazi emblems or symbols of German militarism in their work.
There were several national and generational distinctions. Of the younger British cartoonists, Paul Thomas feels wary of using swastikas, appreciating the offence this can cause, especially to Germans. Jak confessed he liked having a go at the Germans, not because he disliked them but because they were easy targets. The question of offence did not really bother him.
In fact, he believed that the Germans did not mind being insulted now and again. Whilst preferring references to the First World War, he would use swastikas if caricaturing neo-Nazis. Among the younger and middle generation artists in both countries there is a greater awareness of how particular symbols can be offensive, especially where they related to the Second World.
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On the whole, however, British cartoonists — and particularly older practitioners — appear not to be overly concerned about using contentious or outdated imagery. The way a newspaper defines itself and understands its readership are significant limiting factors. This is especially so in Germany, where subscription plays the key role in newspaper sales.
This makes editors highly sensitive about issues which they feel the readership would not wish satirized.
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Riddell describes the parameters of the work he does for the Independent with its younger readership as quite different from those at the Observer with its older, more traditionally minded readership. The editors act in a particularly cautious manner as a result and have problems when the cartoonist draws anything that could be seen as critical of these groups. In the days before caricature, the typical king gave the jester freedom of speech in order to help maintain quality in the court through honest criticism, and to provide a safety valve for dissent.
But if the jester went too far in the exercise of his special freedom, he placed himself in jeopardy. Similarly, a cartoonist or satirical columnist can get away with a great deal. But if he attracts too many libel suits or too many unfavourable letters to the editor, he may find himself out of work. Cartoonists may impose limitations on themselves for quite practical reasons. He knows that if he oversteps the mark the drawing will not be printed. These boundaries may be a hindrance to creative freedom, but they also serve as a buffer against counterproductive extremism in image-making, of the sort that has been associated with more socially destructive periods in recent history.
When looking at cartoons and analysing the elements they contain it is important to place them in context: where they have appeared and what sort of audience has looked at them. As most of the cartoons in this study were published in newspapers and magazines, thumbnail profiles of the cartoon publishing press in Britain and Germany will be first provided. In the concluding sections the position of cartoonists within the structure of the publication they work for will be investigated.
The British press is dominated by national daily and Sunday newspapers, which fall into two classes of publication, commonly defined nowadays according to their page size: broadsheet or tabloid. Differentiation on the basis of page size is relatively new, as many of the present tabloid newspapers only adopted this format in the course of the fifty-five year period under study.
It has replaced an earlier distinction based on the time of day in which the newspaper was published: morning papers were considered respectable, evening papers disreputable. Moreover, some of those titles that have turned from broadsheet to tabloid format have subsequently developed majority readerships in those socio-economic classes that form the core of broadsheet readers.
This has been the case with the Daily Mail since the early s and the Daily Express since the early s. A number of broadsheet newspapers such as the Guardian , the Independent and The Times now contain several sections in tabloid format indeed, both have recently begun to be published in tabloid form. Most broadsheets are every bit as virulent and stupid as their tabloid counterparts; they simply do it at greater length which, in a culture that mistakes verbiage for thought, is more often than not regarded as sagacity.
This was traditionally the case with Punch until it ceased publication in The title was sold and relaunched in by Mohamed Al Fayed of Harrods fame , gravitating to a young male readership more in tune with sensationalist journalism.
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It ceased publication for the second time in mid, when Al Fayed declared that he could not afford to keep it going after a substantial drop in circulation. The German press is dominated by strong local and regional daily newspapers, which have a conservative, parochial approach to reporting and a broad social readership.
The title was established by Axel Springer in and has perhaps the largest circulation of any newspaper in the world, with some five and a half million copies sold daily and a market share of around seventy per cent. Virtually all the leading newspaper titles were established after the Second World War, most under Allied licence in the occupation period to Like the daily political cartoon, the British models of weekly and Sunday newspapers were adopted for the post-war German press.
Magazine publishing in Germany is dominated by four big companies, which together control some sixty per cent of the market. Titles that publish political and social cartoons include the two national, weekly news magazines Focus , established in by Burda, and Der Spiegel , established in along the lines of the American magazine Time and published independently in Hamburg with a liberal political stance.
Cartoonists like other journalists work to the publication deadline of the next issue. In the case of the daily newspaper cartoonist, this means producing a fresh and imaginative critique of current affairs virtually every twenty-four hours. This puts cartoonists under considerable pressure, and recourse to familiar caricatural methods, such as the use of stereotypes, is one way of dealing with it. Working to strict deadlines has both advantages and disadvantages for the artist. Bell relates that it often means he does not have enough time to give a drawing all it needs; but at the same time it stops him over-elaborating things.
Producing images for weekly newspapers or magazines is often no less hectic, as many artists divide their time between several titles in order to make a living. His demand is for something to stab him into momentary laughter before he plunges back into a neurotic vortex of a life consecrated to those implacable gods, Time and Productivity. These are good reasons why cartoonists rely on simplistic devices such as stereotypes, rather than attempting to develop complex analogies using imagery that may not be instantly familiar to the beholder.
The relationship between cartoonists and the titles — in most cases that means the editors — they work for is frequently a complex one. Cartoonists today generally do not have the sort of free hand that was famously enjoyed by Low and Vicky. Editorial control is exercised in a variety of ways. Even long established cartoonists work under such constraints. One memorable case of this involved Vicky, who published a catalogue of the cartoons rejected by his editor and patron at the News Chronicle, Gerald Barry, entitled The Editor Regrets London: Wingate, Barry wrote the sympathetic but unregretful introduction.
Cartoons have become a genuinely popular feature of most publications, ideally suited to the nature of the media in the second half of the twentieth century:. The mass media generally have become more visual, more nonverbal. The cartoon has contributed to, and benefited from, this trend. The mass media have also become fast-paced and competitive. Again, the quick, attention-getting cartoon stars in this arena. And in an era of great tension, humor seems more important in the media than ever before.
Again, the cartoon makes a contribution. Nowadays, every British and German wide-circulation newspaper and current affairs magazine employs at least one political cartoonist, whose work is required for most editions. In Britain, the national titles have a staff cartoonist and usually a number of others — freelance artists mainly — to do additional commentary work.
In Germany, most cartoonists are freelance with contracts to provide a publication or publications with a set number of cartoons a month. One cartoon will often be syndicated to several different titles, appearing at different times over the course of its run. At its publication the cartoon occupies one corner of the newspaper or magazine page and is usually surrounded by written text which may or may not directly relate to it. Its placing is also significant. Dull and grey! There would be no good cartoons, fewer good jokes and less laughter. In examining how cartoonists use stereotypes it is worth bearing in mind that press cartoonists are journalists enjoying perhaps the greatest freedom journalistic licence allows.
The scope of what may be drawn, ostensibly in jest, is often much wider than that which can be expressed by other apparently more serious means. In Anglo-German relations this has been borne out at least as far as the British cartoonists are concerned, although it is also true to say that they frequently work in partnership with colleagues in the written word to produce a kind of journalistic Gesamtkunstwerk , to establish a complete line of defence or attack.
Like the court jester of old, the cartoonist must be mindful of boundaries. Cartoonists rely heavily, although not exclusively, on stereotypes to make their work accessible. Where cartoons run the risk of being misunderstood stereotypes help to make the situation clearer. Readers need to be able to easily identify what the artist is presenting. This is no less the case with the depiction of foreigners or foreign countries.
For a reader to recognize that the character is, say, German or that the cartoon is set in Germany, the cartoonist needs to provide fairly obvious clues. For internationally known personalities an easily identifiable caricature devoid of all but physiognomical clues may suffice, although this can fall flat if the reader cannot make the link between individual and nationality or position in national affairs.
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Sometimes, however, such tags are necessary where any other symbol is unlikely to succeed. The simple fact is that reference to a widely maintained perception of the Germans as wearers of lederhosen or the English as wearers of bowler hats is likely to raise a smile or find critical recognition because it also connects with something fundamental in the mind of the beholder.
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In employing metaphors and symbols the cartoonist is replicating the process of stereotyping, that of reducing a complex reality to a few catchy, easily comprehensible allusions. All this is important when considering the way cartoonists make use of national stereotypes in getting their message across.
Cartoonists depend on a specific cultural tradition for their template of expression. They draw from, or build upon, its font of ideas, attitudes and understandings to create their two-tone images and do it in a way that is appealing to an audience familiar with that tradition. This tradition includes anything from idiomatic and colloquial language, to folklore, films and popular entertainment, as well as shared experiences. At its upper margins rather than in its centre lie also literature and art. In this way the press cartoon, in using stereotypes established by a cultural tradition, can be seen as reinforcing and perpetuating them.
Research dealing with the role of the media in racial conflict supports this argument and suggests the negative impact such a process can have on our view of other nations:. The media operate within the culture and are obliged to use cultural symbols. Hence it is almost inevitable that they will help to perpetuate this tradition in some measure. By virtue of it being used it is kept alive and available for further use. Moreover, the cartoonist is capable of building upon that tradition by extending existing stereotypes or developing new ones incorporating elements from it.
Cartooning is a modern artistic development which has closely paralleled the expansion of the press and its freedom to comment on social and political life. It is essentially an aggressive medium, with cartoons and caricature acting as weapons of attack and ridicule.
In its deployment of symbol and metaphor, it frequently falls back on a familiar, stereotyped stockpile of images. Modern cartoonists see themselves as pictorial journalists, and like print journalists they are subject to constraints of time and editorial policy, as well as serving the needs and expectations of their audience.