Cartoons don’t always have to be funny. They can be poignant; sometimes just a riff on a national iconic image to make us rethink our values. Question the way we see ourselves. Or just a brilliantly simple way of framing a national disaster response, an unsung hero, an important moment in world history.
Sometimes they can be sexist, racist, offensively pushing a far-right agenda – or all three – but enough about cartoons penned for The Australian. We appreciate it’s hard to alternate anti-climate change and anti-ABC cartoons all the time.
The Glass House generally has fun with journalistic stuff-ups – shit syntax; laughable literals – but for the first time we’re having a look at a cartoon, specifically Matt Golding’s offering from the Sun-Herald the other day (above).
The old hacks on The Bug‘s Glass House mezzanine level are still scratching their heads over what the fuck it is supposed to mean. Okay, we get it’s not one of those laugh-out funny ones. There’s deep meaning in there somewhere; it’s just that we’ve run aground looking for it.
We sort of get the Tiananmen Square reference. Well, it would be easier if the man was facing the ship; not escorting it somewhere.
And if that’s Chinese President Xi Jinping, he certainly hasn’t been shopping. Is he carrying red suitcases? Or sitting on them? Is he on the sand or in the shallows? Maybe that’s petrol cans he’s carrying? We simply don’t know.
He certainly doesn’t appear to be putting his life on the line against a ruthless dictatorial regime – wait! that would be him! – and we suspect his generals have assured him of a speedy and positive outcome should Morrison, Father of the Nation and the man one senior scribe predicts could one day be our nation’s greatest-ever wartime leader, declare war on China.
On the positive side, we were delighted, naturally enough, to gleen from Golding’s efforts that an Australian shipping line still exists. We thought Hockey and Cormann told them to fuck off years ago.
Is that why Golding has depicted a cargo vessel as a coffin, maybe? The premature death notification of Australian shipping as a subtle subtext? Unless all the containers simply fell overboard off Sydney and we’re over-reading this to billy-O?
And where is his empty container ship/coffin headed?
Is Xi leading the Aussie ship into a Chinese port, with Golding suggesting that somehow the remaining two-thirds of our nation’s exports to China that Smoko hasn’t jeopardised yet have now been lost as well? Are we meant to ask: what on earth has boofhead Morrison come out with overnight as Deputy Dog to the Orange Baboon?
Or are they nearing Port Botany, and the message is clear from President Xi! All Chinese exports to Oz are now officially banned.
Is that what Golding is telling us? We need to rush off to Bunnings right now and buy up big before all of its Australian stores close in a day or two. Along with Country Target, Best and Less, Lowes, all of the auto marts, K-Mart, dollar discount stores everywhere…….