Thursday, January 05, 2006

Caricature and the Yang Surplus - A Case Study

Most political cartoonist are far too lenient on George W. Bush. They typically depict a man with big ears and a pointy upper lip who, while dressed in a suit and tie, is alternately stupid, incompetant, or just silly. For a man who is responsible for these levels of suffering, whose actions have increased terrorism worldwide, who has sold out the solvency of the government, who has repeatedly ignored and raped the poor for the benefit of corporate money, no caricature can be awful enough.

Ted Rall understands Wilsonian Parody Duality, even though he's never heard of it because I made it up two days ago, and creates brutal, horrific caricatures of George W. Bush. His depiction is a Bush whose dark soul is revealed through his outer makeup. He dresses as a banana republic dictator and is drawn nearly as ugly as a man can be drawn. Rall uses yang surplus and yin deficit masterfully to depict a brutal, completely uncaring and fascistic ruler - a true caricature of everything that is Bush.

Yang Surplus: Here and here.
Yin Deficit: Here and here.

Occasionally, Rall switches to yang deficit and even yin surplus to round out the caricature, such as this strip. He also applies these same techniques to other figures, such as Cheney and America in general.

The real Bush may not be quite as evil as Generalissimo el Busho, but any good caricature (and by caricature, I mean the WHOLE character, not just the visual design) must underscore the particular components of the subject that are noticeably evil or wrong. Great caricature blows the notable features, evil or otherwise, out of all proportion to make a statement with balls. Cartoonists, TV comics, and associated satirists need to learn from Ted Rall, and start caricaturing the horrendous leadership of this nation in a much more hostile way, and stop pussyfooting around the truth.

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