Internet Political Cartoons as Vernacular Rhetoric

Ian Brodie (Cape Breton University)

Political cartoons are an expressive genre, using the ambiguity of humor and the implicit repertoire of cultural references to suggest a specific interpretation on the day’s events. Their historic placement within powerful cultural arbiters like newspapers have imbued the genre, irrespective of actual placement, with rhetorical authority. The independent cartoonist Ben Garrison has maintained a prominent position in the far-right political landscape by both shaping and reflecting reactionary thought through his visual messaging. Building on my previous work on both legend and humor, this paper uses Garrison and the COVID-19 pandemic to argue for a folkloristic approach to cartoons.

Part of 54-03 News, Politics, and Humor, Friday, October 22, 2:00 pm–3:30 pm