Ian McAnulla on Political Cartoons

Ian McAnulla was the guest speaker at Ayr Rotary Club last Tuesday. Ian’s speciality is political cartoons and using many slide examples he showed his interested and inquisitive audience the hidden meanings behind popular and cleverly framed drawings. He explained that more than just the lampooning of characters, the skill of the cartoonist was the ability to deliver the message succinctly and in a punchy manner, often with dry, cutting humour. From an absurd 1930’s Nazi- bashing illustration depicting their obsession with animal rights, to a wonderfully manipulated parody of the Skating Minister showing Scotland’s First Minister skating around an ice pond with Alec Salmond’s face representing the ice, a gaping hole as his mouth. Ian took his attentive audience on a fascinating educational journey of entertainment and humour, with various examples pouring scorn on that Oprah Winfrey interview, Donald Trump’s “Liquidation Bin” depicting his failed ventures and closer to home from the Herald, a cartoon illustrating a sturdy workman attempting to roll a giant bolder up hill at the Rest and Be Thankful. His jacket depicted the name of Sisyphus. Sisyphus is a figure from Greek mythology who, as king of Corinth, became infamous for his general trickery and twice cheating death. He ultimately got his comeuppance when Zeus dealt him the eternal punishment of forever rolling a boulder up a hill in the depths of Hades. From their finer, clever messages to the blatant political statements, Ian made his audience analyse and appreciate the layers of information visible in each illustration, concluding with one of his favourite cartoons from an edition of Punch 1910 showing the Suffragette struggle.

Hugh Millar gave a worthy vote of thanks