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Assignment Under the First Amendment there is no such thing as a false idea.However pernicious an opinion may seem, we depend for its correction not on the conscience of judges and juries but on the competition of other ideas.
Student Assignment: Political Cartoons and the Constitution In May 2005, Congress enacted a law stating that "Each educational institution that receives Federal funds for a fiscal year shall hold an educational program on the United States Constitution." This year Constitution Day is Sept. To help schools comply with that federal requirement we've produced a program that encourages teachers to use political cartoons as a resource to discuss and explore constitutional issues.
Teacher preparation Check the resources on this page for working materials.
“But if one picture is worth ten thousand words, and a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, then consider these words that step, and think about it as you ponder the cartoons on the pages that follow.” Much of “The Art of Controversy” reminded me of riding in a car with a good friend on a long road trip.
You both have similar interests and likes; he reminds you of your shared, long lost cartoonist friends like William Hogarth and Herblock; and, boy, he really is a true believer in absolute free speech.
Yet, sadly, many of today’s “political” cartoons do not follow this commandment at all.
Thanks to Navasky’s detailed exploration of the power of political cartoons, we can see the weakness of many of today’s cartoons that claim to be political.Austrian cartoonist Gerhard Haderer was sentenced by the Greek courts to six months' imprisonment in January on grounds that he had caricaturized Jesus Christ as an alcohol-addicted surfer in his comic book.The cartoonist didn't know the book had been published in Greece until he learned that he had been tried and sentenced to six months on charges of casting aspersions on religion.While reading about his theories was fascinating, I’ve been trying to wipe them from my brain ever since.I am a creator of political cartoons more than a consumer of them and fear that if I know too much, the magic of creation may disappear. The best political cartoons are created when the cartoonist gets angry.This is a very well researched love letter, mind you, one that attempts to explain the power of political cartoons.As Navasky establishes in the introduction: “So far from being a definitive history, what follows is an inquiry into how cartoons and caricatures get their power and their ability to make a difference.” Navasky details three theories—the cartoon as content, image and stimulus—that explain why political cartoons can cause people to act, engage, become enraged, riot and even kill.So I’ll be reviewing the reviewer, passing judgment on the editor, and critiquing the publisher.On second thought, maybe this is the perfect assignment for a cartoonist …Additional resources: We the People: Constitution Day. Cartoons on Freedom of Speech from the Cartoonists Rights Network. My first foray into book reviewing is reviewing a book by Victor Navasky, former editor and publisher of The Nation, onetime editor at The New York Times Magazine and once a columnist for The New York Times Book Review.