The text in this political cartoon is extremely important to the overall meaning. The text is found as a speech bubble over the penguins. The penguins are seen saying “It’s nothing guys- just a hoax perpetrated by prankster climate scientists in a vast worldwide conspiracy”. Bagley clearly uses a sarcastic tone in his choice of words. His message is that the public is under the impression that global warming is not a real threat and that despite worldwide scientific evidence, the public refuses to see the issue in front of them.
Additionally, the rhetoric Bagley uses s extremely important because by including words like “hoax” and “conspiracy”, that carry strong, negative connotations, Bagley is adding to the absurdity of the situation. Those words carry an association of some crazy far fetched idea that has no validity so Bagley uses this to further criticise the public. The penguins themselves carry great meaning. Off all ways to communicate his message Bagley thought it would be most effective through penguins. Using penguins adds to the whole absurdity of the situation.
By personifying penguins Bagley is indicating that he thinks that the public perception of a serious ssue is just absurd. Additionally, by using penguins, Bagley is trying to invoke an emotional response. While mocking the public in regards to this issue, Bagley also attempts to change some of that perception by playing into the fact that there are penguins. The thought process with that is to make the viewers of this political cartoon to associate the issue with penguins. In addition to several natural effects that global warming will cause, think about the penguins.
Though these two images are very different and discuss completely unrelated issues, they bear many similarities. The most important similarity between the two is the criticism of the main subject involved. In the cartoons, both of the main subjects are ignoring something that is right in front of them. So, in the first cartoon, it was the governor ignoring the Flint water crisis for a long time, even when there were obvious concerns. The governor only begins to realize this massive issue once his political career was on the line.
In the second cartoon, it was the public’s inability to see the huge issue of global warming as a legitimate concern. The issue of global warming in the second artoon can actually relate to the first cartoon very well. When looking at the two together, one can conclude that like Flint, global warming is an issue that has been ignored for far too long. And like Flint, there have been many indicators that global warming is a legitimate issue, yet politicians will continue to disregard the issue until politicians begin to fear for their careers and finally address the issue.
The connection between the two images can be further expanded by thinking about how point at which politicians begin to fear for their careers is once the public responds in a negative way. In the eyes of politicians, an issue isn’t an issue until the public responds. Meaning that in the first cartoon, the reason why the governor finally began to address the issue of the Flint water crisis because of the public’s continuous support of addressing the issue.
So, in addition to indicating that the government is responsible for the current mess in Flint, the author was calling for the public to continue its support for action regarding the Flint crisis. Even though this issue has received a lot of media attention, which is one of the indicators on the governor’s severity scale, it has died down. The Flint water crisis is still an issue and will only continue to be addressed if the public stays adamant that the governor do something. In regards to the second cartoon, the author was criticizing the public because of the consequences that their blatant disregard for the issue of global warming has.
As seen in the first image, politicians really only begin to care once something is at stake for them. If the public calls for action regarding an issue that they believe carries great importance and a politician disregards it, their political career then becomes at stake. So, by the public ignoring a huge issue of global warming that is right in front of them and justifying it by making absurd excuses, it is even more detrimental because then the government isn’t inclined at all to actually take the severity of this issue into account.
So, the author of the second cartoon was calling for the public to finally stop disregarding such an important issue so that something can finally be done in the government to address the pressing issue of global warming. Though there is clear criticism within both the cartoons, both the authors also attempted to make the viewers more inclined o do something about it. Both of the authors tried to appeal to their viewers by adding some sort of weak, vulnerable group. Sure, the authors made it abundantly clear that their cartoons were some sort of act of criticism, but it didn’t stop there.
Both the authors attempted to get the viewers to actually want to do something about the issues at hand. They did this by adding some sort of emotional appeal. In the first cartoon about the Flint crisis the author took on a sort of “save the children” sort of angle. Of all of the items that Sack could have included on his everity spectrum, he chose to include “lead poisoned kids”. By including this Sack included a weak, helpless demographic and it makes the viewers think about the negative effect that this crisis has on children.
Additionally, it makes the viewers even more inclined to do something. Because, the public has such a strong role in making an issue noticeable to politicians, Sack attempted to make his viewers, the public, more outraged by the issues which will in turn make them more inclined to make people want to take action and therefore make the governor more obligated to take action. Bagley did a very similar thing with using penguins. For most people, when they think of penguins, they think of cute, innocent animals.
So, by making penguins part of the center focus for his political cartoon, Bagley made the viewers think of the effect that global warming will have on these penguins. If ice continues to melt, some of the first animals to be affected will be penguins. This makes his viewers more motivated to do something regarding the issue of global warming. This will in turn, change the blatant disregard for the issue and this force more policymakers to actually take global arming into consideration as their political careers may finally be at stake.
By adding the innocent figures in their cartoons, both Sack and Bagley made the connection themselves that their viewers need to take action in order for either of the criticism that they addressed to be fixed. So, by looking at these two images next to each other it is very obvious that one of the main ways that authors attempt to call for action is by adding an emotional appeal. Most of the time political cartoons are only glanced at briefly while someone is reading the paper. So, artists uch find an effectively way to quickly get people invested in the issue they are addressing.
Both of these cartoons show that using an emotional appeal is an effective tactic to do so. Political cartoons are created for various reasons and they are most frequently used to address issues that the artists believe deserve criticism. In addition to criticism many offer indirect calls for action. Political cartoons are essential in discussing politics as without them, one of the easiest, most accessible ways to communicate viewpoints would be gone. Political cartoons are really the epitome of the saying “a picture is worth thousand words” as they get a discussion going by addressing issue they have issue with.
In addition, when looking at two political cartoons side by side, they offer a lot of insight as to the overarching issue with the american political system. As seen in these two cartoons, in addition to the public adequately legitimizing issues, policymakers often wait to take action until the public takes action. So, in order for the Flint water crisis and global warming to be addressed properly, the public has to actively speak up for the lack of attention these issue are getting.