Wednesday, 21 June 2017

"One cartoon at a time"

Detail of screenshot from the Oslo Freedom Forum video.

A close-up of the smiling Ecuadorean President-Elect and the cartoonist who drew him: Bonil telling about his professional life constantly under the threat of the WE SEE YOU! from a presidency on the verge of the despotic, if not already fully so.

Bonil was speaking at this year's Oslo Freedom Forum and it is as always heart wrenching hearing his words. He would never but stress the humorous elements of his situation, but it is one of ceaseless harassment and censorship, never knowing what will be the next from the President.

Bonil, The Breath of Censorship, April 28, 2015.

The drawn President-Elect is terrifyingly similar to the one who is about to leave office when seen up close. Correa has a set row of teeth, but they share the small chin within a heavy lower face. There is not much to hope for and everything to work against.

Bonil speaks the softest and clearest of Spanish, but if you prefer English subtitles, they can be added with a click on the video. In case it does not, a subtitled version can be seen here:

A particularly worrying aspect of Correa's regime has been the weekly assembly, in which he would be calling upon everyone to take part in harassing critical voices. "Visiting" and "mocking" them, as he constantly puts it.

Those are utterly dangerous callings. Humans have been lynched for less through the ages and this is a strategy on a national level under the guise of off-duty entertainment.

Screenshot from the Oslo Freedom Forum video.
The strategy is all the more obvious from the fact of Correa introducing a body of armed civilians with direct inspiration from the present Venezuelan regime. A civil guard with the authority to thrash adversaries. It is sickening even writing that sentence. It purports that the population has been made into a foreign enemy in a manner, in which not even conflicting countries should be assessing one another.

For the protection of authorities, as Bonil has titled his cartoon, establishing who installed said armed thugs once and for all and in Oslo asking us all to being vigilant as to the situation in Ecuador.

As for himself he will keep drawing in spite of the harassment to his person "one cartoon at a time".

Bonil, May 2, 2017.
Note the strong delineation of each of the faces behind the decision
- for us to recognize each of them from this cartoon forward.

The cartoons shown are courtesy of Bonil and must not be reproduced without his permission.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

"Why do you peel me out of myself?"

Marilena Nardi, The Skin, November 5, 2016.

"As she screams, the skin is flayed from the surface of her body, no part is untouched. Blood flows everywhere, the exposed sinews are visible and the trembling veins quiver, without skin to hide them: you can number the internal organs, and the fibers of the lungs, clearly visible in her chest".

Marilena Nardi, June 8, 2017:
Love, all of a sudden
"She kills herself for money, or from the sense of guilt, 
however, she always kills herself.
She even kills herself through the caresses"
Alda Merini.

I have taken the small liberty of adding the "s" to the "he" by Ovid on the flaying of Marsyas, Apollo reveling in the gory display of his powers.

It is not for the faint at heart reading Ovid, nor is it seeing Titian's masterpiece on Marsyas' skin being stripped off his body, and yet that painting has made it to be ranked one of the very best of all times.

Marilena Nardi is referencing the mythological heritage on the severance of the body. The female body is no longer the one of voluptuous promise, showing maximum of skin in anticipation of being raped by a Greek/Roman god.

That skin has already been wrung out. She has been raped.

Marilena Nardi, May 7, 2017.
"Those like me screaming in silence,
because their voice is not confused with tears"
Alda Merini.

That hand seizing the heart, wringing the female body apart. The destruction of her body on the promise of love. At once destruction and self-destruction, walking into her own demise. The female body is an entity against which actions are taken, some of them are actions of her own, emotionally and physically bringing herself beyond all boundaries.

Some of the present cartoons are quoting the poet Alda Merini, who wrote on a similar theme, in her case coming from a life of a deeply troubled mind, but Marilena Nardi is placing the violence portrayed in words beyond day and age. This is woman of all times wringing out her soul, at once wounded from without and bleeding from within.

Marilena Nardi, Thirst, January 16, 2017.

To this end Marilena Nardi draws with a line dirtied up and mixed into the annihilation of all clarity of color, a sickening greenish tint against which its complementary in the red of heart or raw skin is crying out.

Marilena Nardi, April 19, 2017.
The Solution:
"And then you find that one day it is you, who has the weapon, but do not shoot,
because he who hurt you is no longer of importance to you"
Alda Merini 

Note the tight muscle of the upper arm above clutching the hammer, freeing herself of the nail through her mind. A tiny detail underlined by the thickening of line next to it, with the center of the composition in the curving of her back, marking her determination in the straight line through the muscled arm and the exposed nipple of the place where her heart ought to be and leading on directly to the hammer. An operation physically as painful if not more than letting the nail stay in place. Yet, she is ready.

So too is Venus with her mirror. Not to enjoy the flawlessness of her skin, as we have always seen her. She has a job of pain before her; removing not so much the spikes in her body as the hearts caught on them, and while she does so, let us give the final word to Alda Merini on the soul of the artist:

L'imperative categorico del poeta è di morire prima di cominciare a esistere

The categorical imperative of the poet is to die before beginning to exist.

Marilena Nardi, The Grooming, April 26, 2017.

The cartoons shown are courtesy of Marilena Nardi and must not be reproduced without her permission.

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Aaaand Goa... No, Nope!

Maduro is posing for us in the Anatomia Cartooniensa on the entry: despot.

He is eagerly doing so in the role that is his, according to his self-perception. He insists on being at the centre of attention to which end he has constructed a narrative of being the saviour of the nation. 

The cartoonist, however, revolve the narration from goal to outcome.

Bonil places course and outcome into one compositional line. The despotic ego is no strongman. He has appointed special armed forces, in reality thugs and as such operating against any constitutionally obligations to protect. The citizens are left without protection in every sense of the word. The devastation is a catastrophe and the red grass is growing thick and dense.

It is the result of that one hiding back there, ready to call out the troops at anyone kicking off their rights to - to live, as it is.

Bonil, June 14, 2017.

The cartoon shown is courtesy of Bonil and must not be reproduced without his permission.

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Coming Of Age

Detail of the cover of Børnetegninger 
by Simon Bang.
Wiping across the surface of a book fresh from the printer's, its smell filling the room - THAT smell - with the shock of OH NO! I have already stained the cover - and yes, we accidentally do that too all the time, only this time it is the print of the foxing of a paper from a while ago.

In the foxing we have the whole tale of the book before us; the dividing line of then and now, on drawings made by an artist, when he was still a child.

Børnetegninger (i.e. "Drawings by a child") with the subtitle "a 13-year old draws Fensmark and environs" by Simon Bang captures the spiral notebook of a child determined to qualify himself as an artist, while underway to coming of age, trawling his childhood countryside transforming it into motifs to be put on paper.

Simon Bang, cover of Børnetegninger. 

We have already met the early works of Simon Bang on this blog such as here and here, and twice interviewed him on the subject here and here (all of which are in Danish, alas). Each of the drawings were then on this blog as now on print presented with a short description in his own words.

Simon writes in as precise a style as he draws - then as today - each word to a point on recreating that color or the atmosphere he fought to capture on paper. He remembers every single intention of his drawings, a fact highlighting the intensity with which he was drawing.

Simon Bang, spread from Børnetegninger. 

Intention and intensity - in combination with child vs. artist, Simon Bang comes from a long line of artists. He was as such not just any child with a sketchbook. Art was knowing one's tools and techniques, just as it was a matter of his parents discussing with him at the end of a day, what he had been drawing. The drawings printed are from the year when he would sell his first works and soon after arrange his first solo exhibition.

We see a child, still a child, but actively pursuing his goal to become an artist. He is striving, fighting and endeavoring in every line. These are drawings all about seeking to achieve, the intensity of which has been so strong that he each time remembers, such as the texture of a color and his solution to conveying it.

The format of the sketchbook is that of the classical format for landscapes resting along a long horizon. It is perhaps one of the most interesting features of the book; how it is not Fensmark and its environs as such he has drawn. Each feature has been detected as to how it would work on paper. Simon has been testing his eyes, distilling what was before him according to the premises of art. He is composing while seeing, setting his goals constantly higher, such as catching the aforementioned color, which did all it could to defy being drawn.

Simon Bang, spread from Børnetegninger. 

The child drawing already had an artistic icon in the cartoonist Ib Andersen, son of Valdemar Andersen. Ib Andersen mapped his local landscape around Fredensborg, traveling the countryside in his jeep and stopping everywhere a sudden shower of rain might have left a puddle in which a light pole was mirroring its vertical lines. Never the nostalgic, but always the analyst, the landscapes of Ib Andersen was that of the 20th century of asphalt roads and light poles. The very combination Simon was testing in Fensmark.

Simon Bang, spread from Børnetegninger.
Interestingly, Ib Andersen at 13 had been testing the exact opposite techniques. He was dramatic, overly so, attempting to catch movement and stories of persons rushing or fighting. He was even trying to be funny at his own expense, drawing out his own failing exertions as a sportsman. He was thus trying to be a cartoonist catching that movement of line, which was his father's specialty. Ib Andersen would eventually become a cartoonist in his own right, doing the opposite of movement and portraiture. He specialized in the larger compositions for the Sunday paper for which his beholders would wait in anticipation all week.

Simon Bang, spread from Børnetegninger. 

The compositions of Ib Andersen were a serious matter to take lessons from. Obviously the results of hard work and analyses of every element of therein, a child eager to learn would do no less. Not yet at home within a style of his own, he is at this point hardly even a pre-styler, but he is just about to get there and we get to see the struggle he is putting into every part of the road.

Each drawing is a rich material on the learning process, in this case a child working on his own, albeit he would later get to have his work assessed at home. Yet he is an exemplar child, who personifies the layers at hand in any child and what is lost when it all too often puts down the pencil at just about that age.

Simon Bang, spread from Børnetegninger. 

Simon Bang, Børnetegninger; en 13-årig tegner Fensmark & opland, Multivers, Copenhagen 2017. The book can be ordered here.

Sunday, 4 June 2017

Every Day...

... cartoonists across the globe are being threatened, prosecuted or live in fear for their life for what they do. Yet, they carry on, insisting on speaking out by way of drawing on what needs to be expressed.

Let us on a day dedicated to a once upon a time visit from The Holy Spirit to spread the word not limit ourselves to any one set of words. Let us underline the right to speak freely and to draw freely for every cartoonist in the world.

The pin can be ordered here.

Friday, 2 June 2017

"... But she did not come home"

Mana Neyestani, Detail from L'araignée de Mashhad, 2017.

Mana Neyestani, spread from L'araignée de Mashhad, 2017.
This is a tale of two artists, although that is not how they are known to the world.

The one is an authority deciding on right and wrong in society. The other is the victim daughter of a victim. The female child of a woman of no worth according to the world she was living in and yet she was raising two intelligent young girls.

Mana Neyestani, Detail from L'araignée de Mashhad, 2017.
Till now the story has been told the other way round. It was told through the man, who had found a cause in life.

He was a serial killer.

He murdered women, who had been forced into prostitution as a last resort to make a living. Some had a drug addiction to cope with the conditions of their life. 16 women lost their lives when they came across that man. Some of them had children waiting for them at home.

The murderer would return to the place where he had dumped the latest body much like a pyromaniac can be found among the onlookers excelling in seeing his flames.

At one point the investigator/judge - because the two are one and the same in Iran - exchanged words with the murderer. Saïf Hanaï gave his killings a moral reasoning: His hometown needed cleansing. While the onlookers were expressing their sympathy with the life lost, Hanaï spoke out on God looking on in approval that someone had taken it upon him to cleanse the corruption of the streets.

Mana Neyestani, Detail from L'araignée de Mashhad, 2017.

Mana Neyestani, Detail from L'araignée de Mashhad, 2017.
Mana Neyestani has created his graphic novel L'araignée de Mashhad on a true story, of which a documentary And Along Came a Spider was made by Maziar Bahari, with Roja Karimi Majd interviewing the murderer in prison. Both journalists are internationally acclaimed, now living and working in exile.

A well-documented story, the fact of which Mana Neyestani takes to another level through his specialty in the meticulous detailing. The already known is taking to their extremes, such as the inclusion of the noisy pattern on the floor in the interrogation room, in which the journalists were allowed to film the murderer.

Mana Neyestani keeps his distance from speculating on the mental disposition in murdering prostitutes. This is not about sexual arousal nor is it about the one person. This is a story about a murderer, which is not at all about him.

Mana Neyestani, Detail from L'araignée de Mashhad, 2017.

Hanaï is the symptom of a corrupted society, as opposed to usually blaming the women forced into prostitution. 

Hanaï was the result of sending young men into war on behalf of the state. Those who return twist the reason of war into civil life, finding mockery where there is none, seeing adversaries, which need to be removed in order to win the justice of war. 

The artist combines in composition what others need to leave hinted at. Half-naked women seem to step on fallen comrades. When Hanaï's son explains his father's murder technique step by step, laying out the brilliance of the deed, a murdered woman is laying at his feet when we leave the scene. 

Mana Neyestani lets in the tiny fraction of a satisfied smile on the boy's face when lying on this knees strangling the pillow. A repetition across a spread of two pages in the book is each time not at all a repetition by the time the very drawing is shown for the last time, even if the portrayed insists on having given away nothing.

Mana Neyestani, Detail from L'araignée de Mashhad, 2017.

Mana Neyestani constantly takes us to the cracks in the tale. In the documentary the judge is sitting in front of a wall that has seen much better days. The judge in Mana Neyestani's novel is then a calligraphist, inking out the religious principles of all living matter. Balance is an inner truth to be sought and found and immediately put to the test as the inked paper is framed and hanged to cover the cracks for a little longer. 

Mana Neyestani, Detail from L'araignée de Mashhad, 2017.

Hanaï was hanged to hammer home, who gets to define right and wrong.

Mana Neyestani, page from L'araignée de Mashhad, 2017.
He challenged the power of those in power. In one of those scenes heavy with twists and clues of which the novel is brimming, the judge discovers his lunch bread takes on the divine balance when divided and shared with his driver. His driver on the other hand notes how none of the good fillings found their way into his half. 

The epilogue diligently describes Hanaï's anger, when he realizes the hanging is going through in spite of his conviction of being a public hero. His anger is written, not drawn.

All the while a little girl is drawing. Samira opens each chapter just as she gets her very own. She is testing and trying her skills to be able to one day to tell the tale of her mother to the world. A tale of how pretty she was and how kind.

This is a tale of two artists, created by an artist.

Mana Neyestani, Detail from L'araignée de Mashhad, 2017.

Oh, and all of the above is but the outline of what Mana Neyestani's L'araignée de Mashhad contains.  It is a many-layered tale deserving many an intense reading. There is a son not least, who has found a goal in life in his father's example. He is one of how many?

Mana Neyestani, L'araignée de Mashhad, Arte Éditions / Éditions ca et là, 2017. It can be bought here.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

"I hear the fire speak"

For every one of you, who strive for a better world however the personal cost, Angel Boligán has drawn your portrait.

The title above is a quotation from Paul Eluard, from that poem Christiane Taubira cited that the funeral of Tignous, who was among the massacred at Charlie Hebdo. Within the pain of loss is the creator of a will to live, the three movements of which ignite an infinite horizon before us.

No frame is sufficiently strong to keep your portrait within.

Angel Boligán, The Repression and The Spark, May 13, 2017.

The cartoon shown is courtesy of Angel Boligán and must not be reproduced without his permission.

How To Draw A Portrait...

... in an autocracy.

Ignore the nose, it poses no danger. The eyes on the other hand mark the middle line of the skull.

Note how easy it is. A single line across and any trace of the person underneath is removed. To complete the operation, encase the side lines of the skull.

Having exchanged your line for barbed wire, all you now need is to leave a dash of it where a mouth once was and you have the perfect non-citizen before you.

Fadi Abou Hassan, No Comment, May 16, 2017.

The cartoon shown is courtesy of Fadi Abou Hassan and must not be reproduced without his permission.

Peace For Our Time

Niels Bo Bojesen, Peace for our time: EU reassured about US relations after
talks with Pence. February 21, 2017.

The speed with which the statesmanship of Trump is proving its non-existence, long having crossed the line of a criminal act, the man above might have taken over the presidency by the time this is published.

Unless Mike Pence proves to be as entangled in the authoritarian web, which is more than likely, as exposed by Niels Bo Bojesen.

That line above the eyes. That line from shoulder pad to shoulder pad. A secret service agent stepping forward. His boss may be scary for anyone with a working brain. No. 2 in line is no less so in his own capacity.

Niels Bo Bojesen proves yet again that he draws a mean portrait, one of the reasons for which he is awarded this year's Pentel Prisen as Danish Cartoonist Of The Year. He is an internationally recognized cartoonist, whose main working tool is clarity.

Clarity comprises in just the one word 1) freedom i.e. free from confusion or being in the dark, 2) light in the meaning of being lucid, and 3) translucence by way of creating understanding. All of which is at the core in the art of Niels Bo Bojesen.

He uses symbols, pieces of imagery that are already a given such as the sentence above, which is as iconic as any image, or The Stars and Stripes in the one underneath. Clear-cut, well-known imagery, the visuals of which are not seen in or for itself, but as a short cut to a cluster of meanings. Only, all is not well in the world, and Niels Bo Bojesen shakes up its clarity for us to see anew.

Shaken, but never broken. Niels Bo Bojesen is not a defeatist. On the contrary he is creating lucidity as a means to create understanding.

After all, within the lifesaver from within the flag are human fingers. 

Niels Bo Bojesen, Facts, February 7, 2017.


The cartoons shown are courtesy of Niels Bo Bojesen and must not be reproduced without his permission.

Monday, 8 May 2017

Being in the Moment

When all complexity of life can be laid aside just for a moment for the simple relief, the AH! of being able to breathe freely even if just for that moment before walking on. 

That next to impossible visualization of pure joy and being in the moment and Fadi Abou Hassan has unified the two on the relief of last night's outcome of the French presidential election. Not just that: Fadi emphasizes how it was an act taking place of choosing the light.

With the symbol establishing the fact that this shall be seen from left to right only. 

Fadi Abou Hassan, In a Hopeful Manner, May 8, 2017.

The cartoon shown is courtesy of Fadi Abou Hassan and must not be reproduced without his permission.

Sunday, 23 April 2017

The Xenophobe

Let us plunge into the last pages of the Encyclopedia Cartooniensa and go xenowild to distract from the outcome of the French presidential election.

Per Marquard Otzen is leading us, proving how word and action are one. There is no need to establish a cause and effect. The tongue of the xenophobe is the manned machinegun. What is more, the xenophobe is a propagandist, staging an outside, while internalizing as many as possible to make the opposition plausible. To a degree that the parliament has become one with the xenophobe. In case the xenophobe is successful in having a war come about, the machinegun shall obtain an official capacity to turn the whole nation into one of xenophobes.

It is not a good place to be in to be a xenophobe. The noise is painful within. Layers of internal bodies crouching, protecting themselves.

The xenophobe is contrasted by the xenophile of cartooning, curious and inquisitive and first and last ready to engage in some more xenogamy.

In the latter we find the very definition of the drawing process in which the state of xenon is dissolved. That heavy, colorless, chemically inactive, monatomic gaseous element. It is there and yet not. It is the paper before the pen is put to it.

Per Marquard Otzen, The Xenophobe, January 6, 2017.
Do click the image for the detailing of the line.

The cartoon shown is courtesy of Per Marquard Otzen and must not be reproduced without his permission.

When It Goes Bad, It Grows Poisonous

Pages for a new History of Political Cartooning in Denmark 

The dread of the French presidential election is upon us and let us time travel back to the French-Prussian war 1870-71, when tension and change in society all over Europe led to Nationalism and anti-Semitism, two of the worst factors in European history.

Let us do so through the Danish satirical magazines of the 19th century we have noted on this blog for their clear voice against the corruption of democracy. Sometimes they are rightfully scorned as silly nothings.

Not just that. When they are at their most superficial, they are not just poor in quality. They become a means to undermine democracy.

This for one is a prime example on poor cartooning:

Peter Klæstrup, Folkets Nisse, No. 19, May 8, 1869.

The archetypal Dane, alias Mr./Hr. Sørensen mocked by mightier powers of which the arm of Queen Victoria is keeping him in place to be spat on. The flag is trodden upon, but Mr. Sørensen's back is straight and his head is held high. He is even looking his spitting opponent in the eyes.

We know the formula all too well. An apparent victim, whose victimization has an inherent violence to it by way of inciting anger in the beholder.

The whole point of Mr. Sørensen is furthermore turned upside down.  He was never meant to be a hero. On the contrary, he was everything the citizen should refuse to take after. He was calling to action in the name of democracy by way of lacking the energy to do so. If he represented a nation, it was for all that was wrong within its borders.

Peter Klæstrup, Folkets Nisse, No. 19, May 9, 1868.
Mr. Sørensen fighting without any use of weaponry, all tricks on the one side.
Note a still quite young Queen Victoria (next to the French Napoleon III).
She would be drawn every time as a Dickensian character
deep into the whisky bottle.

The above cartoon was printed on the last page of its edition of Folkets Nisse, which typically featured a full-page cartoon. More often than not, this was the weakest cartoon of the magazine by being overworked and overthought and about this time it was at its worst.

Folkets Nisse was written by an editorial board that remained anonymous. They were students, or presumably primarily so, who would jump in for a few months at a time before rushing on in life. We did see a student's boot kicking out an Ussing.

Consequently the outlook of the editorial group would possibly undergo dramatic change around every new term at uni or so. By 1867-68 the magazine would run mock examinations, cite half-digested learning and proudly strut the Latin name for a flea, pediculus.

Peter Klæstrup, Folkets Nisse, No. 37, September 10, 1870.
"Stop talking about the war!"- claiming to reflect the public opinion.
It could not be any further from Folkets Nisse of before
- the drawing was an old one placed in a new context.
Worst of all there would be no politics. When Augustforeningen (i.e. The August Society) ended its existence, nothing was made of it. Folkets Nisse of a few years before would have - well, we shall never know, but its sting would have been magnificent.

Interestingly, the visual side of the magazine grew just as stale even if the cartoonist remained the same. No donkeys for chamberlains for one. No human transformations. Instead attempts were made such as creating a shorthand for the Prussian Chancellor Bismarck with three strains of hair standing on edge on his scalp. Drawn upon the already outlined scalp, the three hairs evolved into nothing.

A feared neighbour was constantly headlined as an enemy as in the one below on Bismarck forcing the Danish editors to laud the Prussian king on print or... It was of course not directed at Prussia as such. It was the students' immature way of declaring fatigue of reading up on the classics from "German Civilization".

There were scaffolds everywhere in cartooning of this time as a warning to anyone in power threatening to undermine democracy and directing their means at themselves.

This one has no intention in life, but "daring" to question the classics.

Peter Klæstrup, Folkets Nisse, No. 35, August 27, 1870.
Folkets Nisse, i.e. the Elf of the People taking the noble stand of refusing...
Cartooning as self-congratulatory propaganda.

Peter Klæstrup, Folkets Nisse, No 28, July 11, 1868.
Heyman fainting at the sight of being surpassed in
royal bling, while Gedalia is off kissing up to Prince
Hans to be appointed commercial counselor.
One thing of note, though: they were both drawn with
their actual features.

Mocking what is rich in ideas, declaring an "us" against "them" is a noise we know only too well. Add anti-Semitism to this, jumping at the chance of ridiculing the brightest stars of journalism of the day - student envy? - seeing them all hanged and of which a couple had a Jewish background.

Anti-Semitism was latent in society and hints of it would surface from time to time in the satirical magazines. However, by the time we get to 1868, anti-Semitism was not just showing its ugly face, it was basking in it.

Let us return to the poor I.W. Heyman; he who had a hard time being drawn after receiving his Knight's Cross in 1865 and chose to pay to halt the attention on his person. That in turn made him a constant ridicule in other satirical papers, but in 1865 not for his religious background.

Peter Klæstrup, Folkets Nisse, No. 19, May 7, 1870.
Gedalia seeking help from Folkets Nisse in how to
arrange a formal souper, everyone dripping decorations.
Gedalia is wearing the coronet of a baron.

That had changed only three years later, when much was made of the weight of "bearing his Christian cross".

In 1871 he was elected town council member, while a new bright name was in town, the colorful G.A. Gedalia. A successful businessman from a humble background, Gedalia had bought a couple of honorary titles abroad, one of which was the title of baronet, bought in San Marino in 1870.

If only he had bought it a few years earlier! What a feast it would have been cartoonwise. Instead, Gedalia became a household name at a time, when his aspirations would be spun around his Jewish background.

Peter Klæstrup, Folkets Nisse, No. 14, April 8, 1871.
Gedalia reading with glee how the vanity of Heyman
was the reason for his seeking election in the
town council, according to
 the daily Fædrelandet (March 27).
It was a means to take up Heyman again, placing the two in a mock mutual battle to receive recognition from "above" in society. The shape of the cross would each time be underlined and just as in the case of Mr. Sørensen: what had hitherto been a ridicule of the institution of the crown and its bestowing orders on citizens, had been turned into a personal storyline, losing sight of any reason for doing so.

A few years later Folkets Nisse was back on track, or it was for the most part a better one, but let us go back in time and reflect upon what had been forgotten or lost.

Peter Klæstrup, Folkets Nisse, No. 14, April 8, 1871.
- only to realize that Heyman was indeed elected and had
received the highest number of votes.
Gedalia's hair turning white with envy in one night.
When Heyman was first decorated, hints were made that as the owner of a number of properties he let out, said properties was or might have been in a sorry state.

Of the truthfulness of this we can only guess and if true it was certainly nothing specific to his properties. On the contrary, it was the norm of the day and would be so for another two to three generations.

Peter Klæstrup, Folkets Nisse, No. 78, September 4, 1852.
But in 1852, long before Heyman was first drawn, Folkets Nisse addressed the problem of the state of houses for the poorest tenants in town, taking care to underline that it did not mean to put anyone out of business.

Only, seeing the poor exploited, who had no other options, the magazine found it was its duty to speak up.

The present cartoons were presented as an invitation for the council dedicated to improve housing in Copenhagen to visit the marvels of Nørrebro, one of the poorest parts of town and of which the main thoroughfare alone must be of prehistoric value considering the state of it, as Folkets Nisse pondered, since what else could be the reason?

Peter Klæstrup, Folkets Nisse, No. 78, September 4, 1852.

Not to mention the hovering gate of Blaagaard No. 46, making a point of not mentioning the name of the owner, since he was "so modest". Folkets Nisse underlined that whoever built it was no longer known, the present owner was, however. He, whose duty it was to keep it in habitable shape.

Peter Klæstrup, Folkets Nisse, No. 78, September 4, 1852.
The hovering gate was the entrance to this floating house, with Folkets Nisse recommenting that if the commitee to the promotion of public health should ever be passing by, they ought to take in all of its beauties.

Everyone would have known the name of the owner or be curious to know and create for a situation, in which questions on his name would come up. He was not shamed, however, the present marvels of buildings hardly holding up were presented as examples of a much larger problem, calling for inspection of relevant commitees of "aesthetic interest".

That was Folkets Nisse at its best. This was when they worked to make a difference, placing its sting by way of playfulness. A serious problem was visualized by means that were aggressive, not vindictive as the ideal is characterized in today's political climate. Or, as its motto was in the first years of its existence: "Et Værn mod Forurettelse er Pressen":

The press is a safeguard against grievance

Monday, 17 April 2017

The Fact of That Matter

I have long been in love with the characters of Giorgio Franzaroli.

In particular his rather mature couple, knowing life. There is not a exclamation mark between them, seeing no need to shout out. Besides they always agree, while putting their verbal finger on the sore spot.

They could so easily fall into that jovial stereotypical humor, hurting no one and changing nothing. At first glance they are the visualization of the populist vote as seen by the media. The very voters, who readily jubilate the Trumps and Berlusconis of this world. But they are anything but. They are a feast of commedia dell'arte, one massive exaggeration before us after another, the bellies of Franzaroli's characters hardly leaving the ground when walking, while proving intellectuals at the height of their game, stating their analysis of the situation without embellishment.

This week cartoonists have portrayed now Kim Jong-Un and then back to Trump, while Giorgio Franzaroli cuts through any question of the egg and the hen or who is making the first wrong move. Nor is there any reason to add specific faces to the definition of the problem at hand: They are two imbeciles at power.

The sting of Giorgio Franzaroli is evidenced in the fact that when the cartoonists at Charlie Hebdo take inspiration from him, they get into trouble.

Giorgio Franzaroli, April 16, 2017.
- Donald Trump and Kim Jong-Un
- The scientific evidence that we have invested
more in the atom than in the neuron

The cartoon shown is courtesy of Giorgio Franzaroli and must not be reproduced without his permission.

Sunday, 16 April 2017

The Anatomy of a Yes

There is such a thing as a free will anatomically speaking. The human hand is directed by impulses from the brain that stems from our wish to make that move. The brain may then signal its hand to clamp down to prevent his fellow being from exercising their free will.

The inner workings of Erdogan's brain are resulting in this, his true face as a violent, clenching fist. Note the foreshortenings and directions of the stumbling limbs within just the one person, who is a study into the graphic arts from his very struggle not to be broken into pieces.

The one, whose brain is a light in the dark. The dark that is a "yes" in today's referendum on the lengths at which Erdogan shall be allowed drag Turkey into that mass of solid nothingness.

Firuz Kutal, April 16, 2017.

The cartoon shown is courtesy of Firuz Kutal and must not be reproduced without his permission.

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