Taking a common metaphor or expression, labeling it, and thenputting a caption explaining it has got to be one of the most frustrating things editorial cartoonists rely on. The need to caption something so obvious–the visual equivalent of hitting someone in the face with a sledgehammer–either shows a contempt for your audience or a startling level of insecurity in the artist.Two well respected cartoonists, Dick Locher and this year’s Pulitzer winner Michael Ramirez, have done good examples of this lately.
Locher draws “A Fly in the Ointment” with Jimmy Carter’s head on the fly. Ramirez does a “Bats in the Belfry” comic with Iran and Hezbollah. I don’t find either of the cartoons that good, but they could be improved by a factor of ten by simply removing the caption from the bottom and letting us figure it out for ourselves.
Monday: Lesser Known Voting Blocs”