"Authoritarian regimes, dictators, despots are often, but not always, fools" are the words that open the new and MASTERFUL collection of essays and speeches The Source of Self-Regard by Toni Morrison.
Fools have no shame. They operate in plain sight.
From the time Trump was declared president-elect it has been stated that cartoonists proof their being of no value by drawing as some did the fool we all see anyway. Such cartoons may help him when his supporters feel indignant insisting on being right in backing him. It is a point used to drive home the fruitlessness of cartoons. They are not inspired, nor do they inspire.
However. Cartoonists have drawn Drumpf and his fellow autocrats and despots of this moment - Maduro, al-Bashir, bin Salman, Ortega, Duterte, Erdogan, Kim and Putin - in a variety of inspired and less inspired works. The un-inspired ones too have their value.
By replicating the fool in a 1:1 ratio the autocrat is affirmed for what he is.
The first rule of cartooning is then accomplished: KEEP THE FOCUS ON THE TARGET.
With the dealings of each day, the outrageous may be normalized. We get de-sensitized to the foolishness to a degree that the loud red nose works as a disguise. A noise screen, at which point the foolishness reaches it's maximum impact: Foolishness comes with a danger. "None is foolish enough" as Toni Morrison continues, to permit the free mind and the critical question.
The autocrat needs an audience, just as he needs their obedience. The free and the critical are consequently defined as in Khalid Albaih's poignant words (in an abbreviated version from the Arabic):
"We are the armed gangs
We are the rats
We are the external and internal conspiracy and dissidents,
We are the enemies of the nation and of the religion,
We are gay foreign vandals
We are all who are not you"
Khalid Albaih has taken the situation to its core portraying every autocrat facing his true opponents.
In every uprising the quest of the people is dignity:
We are all who are not you
|Khalid Wad Albaih, Clown ruling kings, January 9, 2019.|