Pages for a new History of Political Cartooning in Denmark
|Peter Klæstrup for Folkets Nisse, No. 67, June 19, 1852.|
Two inmates in an madhouse in agreement that an opposing daily of Folkets Nisse
is the only sane outlet. The rest have lost their mind...
|Peter Klæstrup for Folkets Nisse, No. 88|
November 13, 1852.
An editor doing his troublesome work:
The king attacked by one of his own,
and one of his own attacked the king.
How to repeat the same message with a minor tweaking.
The present examples were drawn but a few years into the Danish democracy with the constitution in place securing the right to draw freely. The energy was high, but the positions long firmly in place. The transition to democracy was a peaceful one here in that the main institutions remained in place securing a smooth change and so likewise, political positions remained the same as before.
|Peter Klæstrup for Folkets Nisse, No. 94|
December 25, 1852.
An elastic literatus, who can be arranged
to take both viewpoints as wished for.
They in turn became the No. 1 target by the drawn satire and all the more so for having been drawn as such long before the constitution. Back then ridiculing the king was a short-termed strategy before censorship and courts would be thrown at them and so the drawn satire had turned on those speaking up in support of the status quo.
A daily just as a weekly thus have their own readers while their opponents follow its every move. The situation is not unlike that of propaganda, which is as much directed to an opponent as it is to reassure one's own side.
|Peter Klæstrup for Folkets Nisse, No. 28, July 15, 1865.|
The monkey refused to be caught, but could not resist
this temptation and was once again under control.
The life of papers is not unfolded on the paper itself, but within life of the society at large, with a crisscrossing of sharp pens.
It is a duel.
The ridicule against political opponents of the press is political satire at its sharpest, in that it is aiming at undermining their political stance as much as their professional position. In this instance it is not about kicking up or down in society, but among themselves.
picture frame by way of the wooden gallows.
|Peter Klæstrup for Folkets Nisse, No. 7, February 18, 1865.|
Right side of the drawing:
- and the threatened editors, none of which would always agree,
but finding themselves on the same side in this instance.
Mr. Sørensen, the archetypal Dane, is seen to the far right.
We have no gallows today, but we know this type of cartooning to this day in this country. The outreach among the papers and weeklies are weakened today, however, by the algorithms deciding for us what we see and hear. We are now much more tied to those we already agree with than when the dailies were bound on physical paper.
Peter Klæstrup is the cartoonist of the present examples. Never named in his weekly and it has been constantly stated since that of course he drew, but did not carve out the blocks used for printing. It is my insistence that he did indeed carve them out himself. The sharp edging creating shadow and light of the two madhouse inmates above is Klæstrup at his very best. My only actual proof was that his father had been a lithographer and consequently his son would have learnt from him from early childhood.
It turned out I was right. I found the evidence in an obituary on Klæstrup written by one of his old adversaries.
Hat off to the old opponent at his curtain fall.