Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Wouldn't an Infographic Have Been Just As Effective?

The Sioux City Journal printed a front page editorial and cartoon on bullying this Sunday. The cartoon, by Brian Duffy, shows a hand labeled "Community" reaching down to help a defensively crouching figure labeled "Bullied", as threatening shadows menace from the opposite side of the cartoon.
In a rare and forceful act of advocacy, an Iowa newspaper devoted the entire front page of its Sunday edition to an anti-bullying editorial after a gay teen committed suicide. Relatives have said 14-year-old Kenneth Weishuhn Jr. suffered intense harassment, including threatening cellphone calls and nasty comments posted online, after coming out to family and friends about a month ago. He died April 15 from what the local sheriff's office described only as a "self-inflicted injury." The Sioux City Journal's front-page opinion piece calls on the community to be pro-active in stopping bullying and urges members to learn more about the problem by seeing the acclaimed new film, "Bully," which documents the harassment of a Sioux City middle school student. It notes that while many students are targeted for being gay, "we have learned a bully needs no reason to strike."
Earlier in the week, somebody named Farhad Manjoo sniffed on Slate that editorial cartoonists don't deserve Pulitzer Prizes.
The backwardness of political cartoons is especially evident when you compare them to the bounty of new forms of graphical political commentary on the Web. My Facebook and Twitter feeds brim with a wide variety of political art—biting infographics, hilarious image macros, irresistible Tumblrs (e.g., Kim Jong-il Looking at Things), clever Web comics, and even poignant listicles.
If you haven't already, go check out the picture of the Sioux City Journal at the first link in this blog entry. Regardless of whether you think it's a great cartoon or not, it's a damn sight more effective than this:

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