“Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies.”
Laughter is essential to democracy, but of course it depends who is being laughed at and how it is done. Here in Australia we are a cynical lot and our cynicism is expressed more in a muttered, deprecating way than outright criticism. But like the rest of the world we are changing into a citizenry which is more directly critical of the traditional holders of power.
Political cartoons in our stable, settled (and boring!) conservative past were more mild than malicious, but now with so much division between have and have-nots, educated and ignorant, race and gender, our taste for polical lampooning has become more savage .
When I visit my family in Canberra each summer, I try to schedule a visit to the exhibition called “Behind The Lines” at the Museum of Democracy at Old Parliament House
“A question I have often asked is what would an inoffensive political cartoon look like? The form requires disrespect and so if we are going to have things in the world like cartoons and stire, we just have to accept it as the price of freedom” Salman Rushdie
The works of Australian Cartoonists provide a creative and sometimes biting running commentary on changes which have occured in the country and the world. Changes such as the rebirth of One Nation, a racist anti anyone different party, and its ignorant leader Pauline Hanson. I’d almost forgotten that we had an election last year it was such a non event but the cartoons bought it back to me in all its grey boredom. Unfortunately some things don’t change, like our savage treatment of asylum seekers who spend years in an island hellhole called Nauru. And of course there were cartoons commenting on global changes, Brexit, The US elections and more.
It’s great that we can exhibit this form of political satire without fear of retribution as has happened in some countries, but then we do live in a democracy don’t we?
‘The great consolation in life is to say what one thinks.’ Voltaire