Thursday, March 02, 2023

Reader's Diary #2076 - Charles Johnson: All Your Racial Problems Will Soon End

Probably a whole slew of reasons why Charles Johnson's cartoons escaped my radar until now, but I'm grateful they finally did. 

There are political cartoons and there are satirical political cartoons, the latter, if done right, are also funny. Johnson's cartoons are funny. Broken up into specific collection, Johnson offers short introductions to each and in one of these he considers whether or not a cartoon can considered a visual poem. He concludes, "Like the best haiku, where a thought or feeling is perfectly expressed in just a few lines and is instantly understood, a well-done cartoon can often lead to an epiphany or 'Aha!' moment of laughter and sudden insight into a subject." Indeed, Johnson's cartoons are visual poems.

They are a product of their time, of course, and most come from the 60's and 70's. The style reflects that (which I loved) and there are many, many references to politics at the time (Black Panthers feature heavily). Yet, for better or worse, many of the themes and insights still resonate today.

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