Deconstructing a Political Cartoon

AY 2010/2011, Semester 2

Deconstruct a ‘text’ relevant to your life as a student at NUS and to International Relations. What larger lessons can be drawn from this process of deconstruction?

      Josephine Lee Hui Ping
              1622 words

Object of Analysis

Steve Bell’s And Bush Created Democracy (2005)
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Michelangelo’s The Creation of Adam (1511)

In this paper, I will be deconstructing a political cartoon, And Bush Created Democracy (2005), drawn by renowned English satirist Steve Bell, and elucidate on its contents and its relevance to international relations. Through a critical analysis (considering the context, method, choice, intended effect, impact on the audience) of the cartoon, this paper shows how this text reflects and shapes our understanding of the realities of American foreign policy-making. More importantly, I argue that a successful political cartoon is largely effective as a tool to attack ideas or personalities and thereby shape public opinion, because of its visual and accessible form. The use of cartoon as a medium to perpetuate the cartoonist’s political view is extremely common in recent times, especially in the post-printing era of modern technology. In this visually driven society that we live in, it is thus not surprising that political cartoons today are found in many major newspapers or editorials, reinforcing their popularity and ability to communicate to the masses. In this respect, the relationship between visual art and popular culture vis-à-vis politics is symbiotic and will be examined in this paper.
And Bush Created Democracy was published in The Guardian, a popular British national daily newspaper known for its centre-left stance, on 1st February 2005. Bell describes himself as ‘a socialistic anarchist and a libertarian’, and...