some cartoons i would like to see!


Cartoons show political view of Bush in Britain

Don Melvin Cox News Service Feb. 5, 2006 12:00 AM

LONDON - It would be hard to misunderestimate the low regard in which President Bush is held in Europe. Should further evidence be needed, the Political Cartoon Gallery offers plenty in an exhibit this month.

The London gallery is featuring an exhibition called "Misunderestimating the President Through Cartoons."

The display, with a title using a non-word that the president has used more than once, features the work of some of Britain's most prominent political cartoonists. It includes drawings so scathing (and scatological) it is doubtful they could run in an American newspaper.

Two themes run through the cartoons.

One is that Bush is a callous imperialist. In at least three of the 60-plus cartoons on display, the president is shown giving the finger, whether to the world in general or to the Kyoto environmental treaty.

The other is that Bush, quite simply, is not the sharpest knife in the drawer. Steve Bell, political cartoonist for the Guardian newspaper, routinely draws the president as an ape.

In one cartoon that combined those themes, Bell drew Bush (as an ape) on the toilet, with feces smeared everywhere. "Of course there will be a role for the U.N.," the caption reads, and the U.N. is depicted as a roll of toilet paper destined to clean up Bush's mess.

Tim Benson, owner of the gallery, said he organized the exhibit because "it needed to be done."

"Obviously, Bush is not particularly popular over here, and he does lend himself to caricature," Benson said, both because of his "cowboy image" and because he is "incredibly inarticulate."

The drawings on display are originals, and they are on sale for prices ranging as high as the equivalent of $1,500. The show opened Jan. 26 with 66 cartoons. Benson said six or seven of the drawings have been sold.

Another theme running through some of the cartoons is, naturally, the special relationship between Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair, which the cartoonists invariably depict as reflecting utter subservience on Blair's part.

Several times, the prime minister is drawn as a poodle, trained and eager to do Bush's bidding.

A more acid take on the special relationship, drawn by Peter Schrank for the Independent on Sunday, shows Bush, in cowboy hat, magisterially astride a horse while Blair happily runs behind, sweeping up the droppings.

"People who are easiest to caricature are people who present a large target," Schrank said.

"He is perceived by many people to be a certain type of personality. If you can produce something like that, your job is much easier, because you can sort of confirm and elaborate the prejudices."

On The Web: The Political Cartoon Society: www.political

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