Cartooning in the silly season

PCOer Morten Morland writes for Bloghorn:

I was going to write a post on cartooning during what journalists call the silly season. It would have been about trying to perform when most meaningful politicians are on holiday and the papers are full of exclusives such as “Brendan from Bradford can blow bubbles with his bum”.

I intended to begin with the useful opening: “Spare a thought for…” – and follow up with desperate descriptions of life inside a non-airconditoned studio while the rest of the world enjoys barbecue and beer in the paddling pool across the road.

I would go on to curse the party leaders for taking holidays despite knowing full well that cartoonists can’t work with the obscure backbenchers they leave behind.

I would wail about editors who demand that cartoonists continue to produce biting political satire, whilst allowing other commentators to meditate repeatedly on swimming trunks in the post-Blair era.

I was going to write all of that and more, but I won’t, or, rather, I can’t.

Because as if by magic a couple of weeks ago, Foreign Secretary David Miliband suddenly cried “LOOK AT ME!” in the Guardian newspaper. He held a grinning press conference and went on an autograph-signing walkabout with the press in tow. The blessed Prime Minister, who mercifully had chosen to take a good ol’ British seaside holiday, with all its rich, stereotypical visual language, was near-fatally wounded.

Then that pier burned down, giving us another day and a half of metaphorical meat. SATs results were published – incredibly badly. The credit crunch rolled on, house prices fell, the stock market slowed and Alistair Darling hinted haplessly at future bribes for voters.

Beijing is currently hosting the Olympics under the slogan, Faster Imprisonment, Stronger Punishment and Higher Pollution – giving us all weeks of material about human rights abuse, protests and smog. And to top it all, Russian Prime Minister Putin and his little president have just found an excuse to start a war in Georgia.

And through it all, it’s raining. Cold rain.

Silly season? Absolutely. Brilliantly silly if you’re a cartoonist.

But spare a thought for everyone else …

Ed: You can see some of Morten’s silly season work for The Times newspaper here.

It’s British cartoon talent

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