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Caricature In Controversy

Caricature In Controversy image
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From Harpen' Weekly. Wo observe that some of our Republican frionds of the press Boem to target that caricature is a legitiiuato weapon of controversy, although, aB it r.ecessurily duals with persons, its caustio thrusts are often peculiarly disagreeable W beu the statosman of BlackwelL's Island suid that he did not care for what was printed about him, because his constituency wb not given to roading, but that everybody could neo and undergtand a picture, he rccoguizod tho power of caricature. It is a weapon which requires great ski] 1 in the use, and which should be wielded always with conscience and perception. A foul blow with the poncil is sure to recoil, but a fair ono is most effective. But it is unfair to consider it ill-natured because it has recourse to its necessary conditions to produce its effect. lts object is notmerely to raise a laugh, but to teil a surious truth humorously. If tho caricaturist, foi instance, thinks that inflation would be a National disaster, because it is a violation of pledges, and a kind ofrobbory and deception, his view may be mistaken but he must certainly regard his meaus if he proposes to exprobs kis opinión. Now inttation can not bo abstractly represented, and he therefore, proporly selecta its iuost noted charo pious tosyrnbolize it, and in making them laughable, or iu suggesting whut seems to him the peril of their attempt, he is not personally ridiculing them, but their opinión, and in the only way possible to him. If uu orator in a speech to a thousand persons, with rhetorical felicity and in a mannor to move continual merriment, slioulJ describe his opponents as Captain Bobadils, or dragons or ogres, ho would do what the caricaturist does, and he would do it unblamed. Of courso ueither the orator nor the artist has tho right to malign. The word and the work must be honest and if there be any intention to wound or slander, the gviilt is the same whethcr the blow be dealt by tbu pen, the pencil, or the voice. We agree, too, that the peculiar conditions of caricature should be bornn in mind by the artist ; that be should consider bow the meaniug of words writteu or spoken may be graded and shaded, and as this is impoesible in a caricature, that it should be designed with n full consciousnoss of the fact. But iu the same way the spectator is bound to look at it with a cousciousuess of its conditions : and ita iirst condition is humor ; without that it fails. To draw a man, for instanco as a cabbage head merely is as inexcusable as to cali him by that name. But wheu there is an impression in the general consciousness that a man is a cabbage head, or when some especial agricultural asaociation inetinctively suggosts the name, then it is a stroke of humor, and is universally recognized except by two classes of persons - one the individual, and the other bis f rionds. The friends of Mr. Seward thought it very hard that he should be represonted as the Grand Vizier of Andrew Johnson in a powerful series of picture whioh 'coininand public attention. But if Mr. Seward's influenco had not been batfled, if he could have persuaded the country to believe in Andrew Johnson and support hira, the consequencos would have been disastroua. So the merciless fusilade o: picture upon Tweed was certainly a public service. But is it only a malefactor like Tweed who is to be caricatured 'i Is grave although honest difforence of opinión not a fair subject of oaricature, that what seems to the artist the real character aud tendency of the views he opposes may be vividly exponed ? The journals that favor inflation have used every legitiniate weapon they could comraaii'J and they should not petulantly complain of their adversarles for doing the sanie.


Old News
Michigan Argus