Visual arguments play an essential role in message delivery. Apart from just words, anything physical can be used to effectively present an argument (Lunsford & Ruszikiewicz, 2013). Visual arguments involve the use of images or other non-verbal symbols and signs to present an argument to the intended audience. The purpose of visual arguments is to make the audience to easily understand the message being passed across without having to read through. Over the past few years, many artists have resorted to using visuals in their arguments. However, another effective method of presenting an argument has been invented. This method involves the combination of visuals and humor to deliver a message. Humor is the art of being comic in order to provoke laughter among the audience. One of the best political cartoons is one printed on the New York Times on 10th of December 2015 by the newspaper’s editorial cartoonist called Patrick Chappatte; the article was titled, ‘The World According To Donald Trump’ and is depicted at the end of this article, in the appendix page. Although many people still rely on verbal and written arguments as their preferred form of message delivery, the combination of visual and humor has the best impact on the audience.
The cartoon consisted of the world’s map, Triumph’s image, the American Flag. The world is divided into three sections divided according to Trump’s view of the world; the first section represents America, the second one is branded as rapists while the third one is branded as terrorists. Although this cartoon is satirical in nature, it in turns presents a very serious political argument of Trump’s discrimination of the Muslims. This cartoon was published a few days after Trump denied all the Muslims entry into America because of their alleged association with terrorism. The cartoon tends to communicate that Trump viewed the Muslims as a threat to the American peace and thus wanted them to be excluded from the American world.
The aspect of this cartoon that I interpret as humorous is Trump’s physical appearance and the brandings given to the different sections of the world. From the cartoon, Trump’s face is satirical as it shows a man who is terrified and annoyed as well. By the look at this image, one is able to laugh because of how terrified the American president appears to be. Another humorous part is the brandings of Trump’s world. The idea that the Eastern side of the World is branded as terrorists while the southern part as rapists and the other part is America is humorous because it shows that all that Trump sees in the world is America against rapists and terrorists and else. It is so humorous that there is nothing positive in the part of Trump’s world that lies outside America.
The role of the humor in this cartoon of Trump’s world is to defuse the tension of the argument being presented by the cartoon. The artist used his humorous cartoon to address a very serious issue of religious discrimination against the Muslims. This matter of religious discrimination is a serious issue globally that when directly addressed it might result into serious consequences like inter religious war which will influence America negatively. Therefore, by using the satirical cartoon, the author will be able to effectively deliver his message without evoking anger from the Muslims in the world. Therefore, the humor in this cartoon played a great role in reducing the tensions that might have been raised by the seriousness of the argument delivered through the cartoon.
All the visual elements on the cartoon about Trump’s world have a role to play to make the cartoon more effective in delivering the intended message. Trump’s image in the cartoon is necessary because the presented idea of the world belongs to him. Therefore, his image is relevant in the cartoon because from his facial expressions, the audience can be able to tell Trump’s attitude towards the people that he sees as a threat to America. The image of the American flag is a symbol used to show that America is up against terrorists and rapists. The branding written ‘Donald Trumps’ World’ is meant to show the audience that this was not the author’s idea but his interpretation of Trump’s thoughts. Finally the two sections of the world branded ‘Terrorists’ and ‘Rapists’ represent Trump’s view of the Muslim society. All the above used visual elements play important roles in improving the effectiveness of the cartoon. Through these visual elements the author was able to address his concerns without having to use verbal communication or texts.
Therefore, this political satire art by the cartoon editor of the New York Times was successful in achieving its intended purpose. The author of the cartoon combined the use of humor and visuals to address a very critical political issue. Chappatte effectively used humor in his work to help in reducing the tension that might have resulted from the message of his art work. The cartoon ‘Donald Trump’s World’ was successfully used to show the audience how Donald Trump’s beliefs about the Muslims being rapists and terrorists influenced him to announce the lockout of all Muslims from getting into America. Visual humor is therefore an effective method of successfully presenting an argument. The use of humor in an argument helps in changing the tone and even the outcome of the argument depending on the desire of the artist. Currently, most politicians use the combination of humor and visuals in form of cartoons to present their political arguments to the audience.
- Lunsford, A.,& Ruszkiewicz, J. (2013). Everything’s an argument. Boston: Bedford/St. Martins.