Tag Archives: Michael de Adder

In Praise of Political Cartoonists Part 1

As a wee girl from Glasgow, Scotland growing up in Toronto Canada and ending up living in Vancouver, always loved comics. Beano, Archie, Superman, Batman…the list was endless.

Was a huge fan of Saturday morning cartoons on the telly. Even as a kid, was convulsed by the brilliance of Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies. Chuck Jones and Bugs Bunny‘s “What a maroon!” remains one of my favorite sayings to this day.

The teenage me grew to love Mad Magazine

whatamaroon  MAD-Magazine-140-Patton-Cover

As my interest in Canadian, American, British, Australian and global politics evolved, became aware of the art of the political cartoon, and I was hooked. A cartoon is after all, a picture – whether static or celluloid. And a picture is indeed worth a thousand words.

Political cartoonists have always been our voice and our conscience

Nothing made this clearer to me when 25 years ago, a dear friend loaned me his original folio of political cartoons by the great British caricaturist James Gillray, who was born in 1757. I was gobsmacked! Remember spending an entire 24 hours going over the large book, page by fragile page, referencing the illustrations to help me understand their meaning. In addition to being brilliant, flamboyant and very funny… these beautifully colored pen and inks (with some watercolors) were extremely daring. His toon of Napoleon and William Pitt carving up the world is even more relevant today than it was then!

Gillray’s predecessor, William Hogarth, was born in 1697. Hogarth was “a painter, pictorial satirist, social critic and editorial cartoonist. His work ranged from realistic portraiture to comic strip-like series of pictures called “modern moral subjects”.

James Gillray  Gillray England France Carving Up World  William Hogarth  Hogarth The Marraige Contract

Caricatures go back as far as The Renaissance and Leonardo Da Vinci b.1452 … He brilliantly used distorted features to mock his subjects.  Visual protest is evident in Lucas Cranach‘s work during The Reformation in Germany  b.1472

Leonardo Da Vinci  Da Vinci Caricature  Lucas Cranach  Lucas Cranach Anti-Christ

Thomas Rowlandson, born in England in 1756, never missed a beat in satirizing the socio/economic/political scene… from the thoughtful to the naughty

Thomas Rowlandson PortraitThomas_Rowlandson_The_two_Kings_of_TerrorThos Rowlandson 5rowlandson-thomas--eine-szene-aus-der-farce-citizen-793031

Ben Franklin, b.1706 was a true Renaissance Man himself, Ben Franklin’s Join or Die is a masterly cartoon of the times. Harper’s Weekly Review featured the caricatures of men like Alfred R. Waud who captured the tragedy of the Civil War

BenFrankin Ben Franklin Join or Die Cartoon  Alfred R Waud Civil WarCartoon Massacre of the Innocents at New Orleans 1866

Thomas Nast b.1840, was considered The Father of The American Cartoon. He captured both the corruption of Reconstruction and Tammany Hall.

Thomas Nast Pacific Chivallry Thomas NAst BOss Tweed

Louis Dalrymple b.1868 depicts Teddy Roosevelt‘s New Diplomacy, embodying the iconic “Speak softly and carry a big stick”, for Puck Magazine in 1905. E.W. Kemble b.1861 who illustrated Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn, also worked for Harper’s Weekly Review penned Roosevelt’s final frustration with “Old Man Ananias” in 1910.

Roosevelt New Diplomacy      Teddy Roosevelt Election

World War 1, World War 11:   Frank Henry Townsend complimented Britain’s Punch Almanack’s roster of illustrious cartoonists. Even our beloved Dr. Seuss, Theodor Seuss Geisel, created wartime cartoons.

Ww1 Cartoon / Punch    WW2 Dr Seuss

Vietnam Anti-War Cartoons:  North Carolina-born cartoonist Doug Marlette was killed in a car crash in 2007. Marlette felt that “Cartoons are windows into the human condition…It’s about life”. His principled take on life was reflected in his conscientious objector stance on the Vietnam War in some of the most poignant cartoons that I can remember. His long and illustrious career covered the Charlotte Observer, the Atlanta Constitution,  New York’s Newsday and the Tallahassee Democrat.

Vietnam Anti-War Marlette Charlotte Observer  Vietnam Quagmire - Marlette

I AM CHARLIE HEBDO:

It has always been dangerous to be a political cartoonist. Da Vinci risked loosing patrons and the wrath of The Church, as did artist Lucas Cranach. Harper’s Magazine Tammany critic Thomas Nast was threatened by supporters of Boss Tweed. But nothing has highlighted the perpetual risk of drawing for a living, than the recent massacre of artists at the offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris. This tragedy has shaken us all to the core.

Je Suis Charlie Hebdo has become a global rallying cry. As it was centuries ago and so is now, caricaturists refuse to be intimidated.

charlie-hebdo  Rod-emmerson Charlie Hebdo

Iranian cartoonist, artist and activist Atena Farghadani was arrested in August 2014 for a cartoon that mocked Members of Parliament, depicting them with animal faces. Ms. Farghadani is charged with insulting The Supreme Leader and spreading propaganda. The 28-year-old, described by Amnesty International as a prisoner of conscience, languishes in Tehran’s notorious Evin prison, having suffered a heart-attack earlier this year. On May 19, 2015 Ms. Farghadani was sentenced to 12 years and nine months in prison. It is difficult to reconcile this with the push to collaborate with Iran on a nuclear deal.  We must keep up the pressure on the Iranian government to secure Atena’s safe release. **

Atena Farghadani  Atena Farghadani Iranian Cartoon

So given the inherent dangers, not stellar salaries and relentless 24/7 news cycle, what exactly inspires political cartoonists to pick up the pen or brush these days? There is a far-flung family of artists from around the globe who share their thoughts with us on a daily basis. And of course we in The Colonies are some of the most brutal.

In Part 2 of In Praise of Political Cartoonists, we look at how editorial cartoonists depict the current chaotic global political scene:

Dave Weigel of Bloomberg Politics, calls Donkey Hotey “The Margaret Keane of Political Cartooning” He describes Donkey Hotey by saying “Nast used pen and ink; Donkey Hotey takes public images and alters them into parody or horror. He quotes DK… “I am remixing images, manipulating them and then treating the entire piece as a whole.”

GOP Clown Car Donkey Hotey

Former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott continues to provide David Rowe with endless toon fodder. Rowe’s watercolors (the most difficult medium to work in) are brilliant, brutal, and beautiful. Rowe is a Stanley Award-winning Aussie, who casts his paint far afield.

Tony Abbott Balls David Rowe Toon Donald Trump GOP CANCER DAVID ROWE AUSTRALIA

Canadian cartoonist Michael De Adder, is based in Halifax, Nova Scotia. That fact does not stop him from commenting on the current rise of Facism in America. We are All Americans – North Americans, and what hurts our American cousins, hurts us all…

Melania Crying Child De Adder

Raising a Glass of Champers to Political Cartoonists Everywhere…and Those Who Sail With Them. Long May Your Voices (and Ours)  Be Heard! Long May the Ink Flow!

In Praise of Political Cartoonists Part 2 coming soon

@DonkeyHotey @DeAdder @roweafr

@MissMyrtle2  missmyrtle2@gmail.com

** Please sign and share #FreeAtena http://www.amnesty.org.uk/iran-atena-farghadani-prison-cartoon-womens-rights-activist#.VYo2N_lViko

The Rise and Fall of Canada’s Fourth Reich Part 2: Canada’s Long National Nightmare…

The Rise and Fall of Canada’s Fourth Reich Part 2: Canada’s Long National Nightmare

Harper Nude by Margaret Sutherland

And so the Election Writ has been dropped…early. In yet another opportunistic and cynical middle finger salute to Canadians, Stephen Harper has called for a longer election campaign designed to further bankrupt the country and put opposition parties in dire financial straits.

Dearies, the Greatest Prime Minister Canada Never Had, former UN Ambassador humanitarian, HIV/AIDS advocate and National Treasure, Stephen Lewis eloquently spoke for us all when he said:

Somewhere in my soul, I cherish the possibility of a return to a vibrant democracy where equality is the watchword, where policy is debated rather than demeaned, where the great issues of the day are given thoughtful consideration, where Canada’s place on the World stage is seen as principled and laudatory, where human rights for all is the emblem of a decent and civilized society…

Harper Ukraine  Harpers In India Harper G7 Remember Me Harper and Pope Cartoon Mike De Adder

Scorched Earth: For the past year or two, Stephen Harper has pretty much prorogued Parliament and spent much of his time abroad, where he receives a far warmer welcome than he does in Canadian communities. Staging cheesy photo-ops in Ukraine, Afghanistan, Iraq, Kuwait, India, France, Belgium, Poland and The Vatican was the order of the day

Harper Emperor    Tom Mulcair2  Justin Trudeau  Elizabeth May

Dear Leader has avoided having to answer those pesky questions about a tanking economy, healthcare cuts, and other thorny political issues. He has also been busy evening the score with Old Enemies. In his sociopathic mind ANYONE who is not for him – Is Against Him, and therefore on the Enemies List. This list includes everyone from The Supreme Court of Canada, his political opponents the NDP’s Thomas Mulcair, the Liberal’s Justin Trudeau, Green Party Leader Elizabeth May, Women, Teachers, Scientists (#MuzzledScience),  Unions and Journaliststo the First Nations, Metis and Inuit communities, Non-Profits and saddest of all…The Canadian People

Harper Hugs Baird  peter-mackay-wears-no-compromise-pro-gun-t-shirt  James Moore

The Night of the Long Knives: In the past 6-8 months, we have seen the defection of Harper’s closest cronies.  Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird screwed up Canadian Al Jazeera journalist Mohamed Fahmy’s release from an Egyptian prison, mollified Vladmir Putin, and has since gone to work for a rapacious mining company and a former Aussie Prime Minister, attempting to clean up UN agencies…forgive me if I puke here. The ultimate flyweight ex-Defense and current InJustice Minister Peter MacKay, is not running, in order to “spend more time with his family”. Industry Minister James Moore has also chosen “to spend more time” with wife and child after facing a firestorm over his sexting/extramarital affair RideMeWilfredGate.

Christian Paradis  Shelly Glover  Eve Adams and Trudeau

Christian Paradis the International Development Minister decamped, just as the magnitude of Canada’s trade deficits and growing recession became obvious to everyone except the Conservatives. Canadian Heritage and Official Languages Minister Shelly Glover stepped down, just before those horrific propaganda adds about Canada’s Arctic and the tragic Franklin Expedition began jamming the airwaves . Eve Adams defected to the Liberal Party (where, karmically, she lost her nomination!) but methinks she and former Conservative Party apparatchik and pimp Dimitri Soudas, are merely moles. So much for Conservative Family Values and commitment to this country, in its hour of need.

Harper Dropping Writ Toon MacKay  Nunavut Dump  MMIW

The Conservative War Coffers are bulging at the seams with taxpayer monies that they have illegally clawed back from social programs and the sale of stocks and other liquid cash holdings…THAT BELONG TO THE CANADIAN PEOPLE-NOT THE HARPER CONS. Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party of Canada are in essence BUYING THE CANADIAN ELECTION on the backs of Canadian families, our children, our Veterans, Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women (#MMIW), and on and on. (please see Part 1 of The Rise and Fall of Canada’s Fourth Reich)

Canadas Economic Action Plan Penises  Harper Sinking Ship Joe Oliver  Harper Pie For Everyone Toon  David Parkins Harper Vote Buying Scandal UCCB

Sucker-Punching Canadians With Their Own Money: In the weeks preceding the Writ being dropped, Harper and the Conservative Caucus fanned out across the country, in what is without doubt the most cynical, opportunistic orchestrated case of outright vote-buying in the Free World. More than 1 billion dollars in “giveaways” TO taxpayers, with their own money, was distributed  by Cabinet Ministers, with the same callousness of Marie Antoinette’s famed (and disputed) “Let them eat cake”. We all know how well that ended for Ms. Antoinette…but I digress.

Lies Herr Harper Told Me

Hitler and Leni Reifenstahl Harper and Jenni Byrne  Harper and Pierre Poilievre Joe Oliver Mad Hatter

Adolf Hitler worked closely with propaganda filmmaker extraordinaire Leni Riefenstahl. Stephen Harper and Jenni Byrne often make the Josef Goebbels and Third Reich propaganda machine look like pikers…but the premise is always the same. The Bigger the Lie, the easier it is to believe: The viciousness of the never-ending tax-payer funded TV attack ads is breath-taking. Harper propagandist-in-short-pants Pierre Poilievre, gushed that the Universal Childcare Credit Benefit (UCCB) that rolled out on July 30 was “Christmas in July for Canadian families”. Joe Oliver’s April Budget was an out and out LIE…sugar-coated in moonbeams and unicorns. In a floundering economy where the Loonie neared 70 cents to the US Dollar today, it most certainly IS NOT Xmas in July for Canadians.

Leona Aglukkaq Harper Franklin Expedition  Polar Bears Caribou

NO, Herr Harper Handmaiden, Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq, Canada’s Arctic – its Peoples and wildlife are NOT safe from the ravages of Climate Change, Vladmir Putin or Conservative Party machinations! PM Harper’s new interest in history by creating lushly expensive Franklin Expedition ads (but cutting funding for the CBC whose documentarians could have done a better job) is ironic, given the fact that he is re-writing the history books as the most corrupt, paranoid and dishonest Canadian PM ever.  And YES, the Tar Sands Miracle has totally evaporated…And NO, Mr. Prime Minister, it is NOT Albertans Fault!

Truth and Reconciliation Toon De Adder Murray Sinclair  Valcourt_Mulcair-large-800x450

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission initiative earlier this year, said so much about Stephen Harper on several levels. Aboriginal Affairs Minister Bernard Valcourt, made me ashamed to be Canadian when he sat through a standing ovation for Supreme Court Justice Murray Sinclair’s moving speech about the importance of All Canadians learning from the National Shame that was the Residential School Scandal, its impact on society, and moving forward in a spirit of mutual respect and cooperation.

Harper Ramadan Meal at 24 Sussex  Mother Canada with UCCB Cheque  Veterans Slush Fund

Gone are the days when Pandering was a crime. In fact, Herr Harper and His Henchmen have perfected the art of pandering to EVERY relevant major voting block out there. Why just this year Dearies, he hosted a post-Ramadan feast at Sussex Drive FOR THE FIRST TIME. He offered financial support to a questionable monument on Cape Breton Island. Intended to honour those who served and died overseas. Mother Canada is offensively tasteless, as the Guardian puts it…as the same Stephen Harper continues to disrespect Canadian troops and Veterans by denying them benefits and services, and raiding their funding to “Balance The Budget”. Until he needs a cheesy staged photo-op, that is. This Prime Minister Know No Shame!

Harper Jesus  Harper Big Leader is Watching You  Harper Fear Harper Democracy Toon de Adder

And because there is only ONE person who can save Canadians from ourselves…. Stephen Harper, affectionately christened CPC Jesus by Vancouver Conservative MP Wai Young, has shut down any national or parliamentary debate about National Security, and rammed through Bill C-51. Surprisingly enough, Justin Trudeau supported the Bill. Thomas Mulcair and Elizabeth May did not. Now don’t get  me wrong Dearies, it is not that Canada doesn’t need a National Security Bill. It’s just that this Bill is so draconian in the way it has been deviously written. The implications of far-reaching secret security services stripping the democratic rights of everyday Canadians with NO recourse for citizens, is disturbing in the extreme. To say that Bill C-51 is perverse and an abomination, is an understatement.

Perhaps the greatest part of this Greek Tragedy is, that as much as we Canadians hate Stephen Harper, (and remember, Canadians rarely HATE their elected leaders we – dislike them, disapprove of them, are disappointed in them) Stephen Harper, who will do and say ANYTHING to cling to power…hates us even more.

electionfraud-600

When will Canada’s Long National Nightmare end? October 19 cannot come soon enough… It is your duty as a Canadian to register your displeasure at the ballot box, that last bastion of Canadian Democracy!! Your failure to Vote, essentially means that Fascism wins..

Many Thanks to Kingston Artist Margaret Sutherland, for her brilliant portrait of the Emperor With No Clothes.

I would like to thank the following political cartoonists for their incredible ability to capture the current Canadian political and social climate. In many ways,  cartoonists have become the voice and the conscience of Canadians everywhere…because a picture is indeed worth a thousand words:

  • Michael de Adder
  • Brian Gable
  • Victor Juhasz
  • Graeme MacKay
  • Bruce MacKinnon
  • Theo Moudakis
  • David Parkins
  • Greg Perry

Apologies for any acknowledgment omissions.