US – Politics – Maybe I Should Stop Blogging – Tom Toles Says It All Much Better Than I Do, Anyway – 10 July 2012

The pictures of Tom Toles, editorial cartoonist for the Washington Post, are worth 1000 of my words.

Stick it out through the 15-seconds of advertisements at the beginning. It’s worth remaining to see the cartoons. Few cartoonists have captured the blithering insanity of save-the-patient-by-killing-the-patient austerity policies more effectively, or the dopey ruling-class blitheness of those who defend these policies to the pain they are causing.

The metaphors are the best part of the Toles experience. To capture what’s going on in Europe, for example, Toles uses a rather large, gemütlich-looking and lederhosen-wearing German who looks like he’s had more than a few beers and pretzels, and whose face is reminiscent of the guy from Monopoly, as a symbolic referent. Of course, it’s this bloated, clueless German who’s spending most of his time preaching temperance to everyone else. Really, I think that’s going to stick with us the way the “dollar signs covering Mark Hanna’s coat” did for Homer Davenport, the “five-o-clock shadow” and shifty stare of Richard Nixon did for Herb Block, or the “Roman legionnaire’s helmet floating in mid-air” of George W. Bush did for Garry Trudeau.

Obama is shown as someone meaning well but waiting for the recovery to save his posterior politically – Toles symbolises the recovery as a gigantic slug, and the Democratic Party’s wait for it as something Beckett-like, evoking a sad, existential kind of loneliness. Romney, on the other hand, is consistently shown as both detached from reality and destructive because of it. A person is flat out on the ground – Obama shows up with a defibrillator and tries it on him, but it doesn’t work right away. Romney then declares Obama incompetent and demands to try using his axe on the prostrated individual instead. The moral of the story – Obama may not have solved the problem yet, but it’s clear he’s closer to the right method, and if Romney solves the problem, it’s clear he will only doing so by annihilating those who have the problem.

That’s the substance of what’s going on right now, but it takes me a thousand words to tell you that. The brilliance of Tom Toles is he gets you to _see_ what’s happening.

Take a moment now and enjoy the work of one of America’s greatest political cartoonists…and try and keep some of the things he shows you in mind later on…

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