A critical analysis of the show closer from 2000

Hamlet's Search for Meaning.

A critical analysis of the show closer from 2000

June 5, Abstract Political cartoons historically and currently play a significant role in public discourse about serious and important issues. They are also most often funny. This paper presents a formal analysis of political cartoons using methods from classical semiotics, semiotic morphisms, and in particular the study of blends.

A selection of political cartoons are analyzed in detail.

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In addition to the obvious difference in subject matter for political cartoons compared to other types of cartoons, political cartoons constitute a distinct class visually. Also, while most political cartoons are funny in some sense, it is not the sense in which most other cartoons are funny.

The origins of the modern political cartoon can be traced to the 16th century, with drawings used in the theological debates of the Reformation. Nast is the inventor of Donkey and Elephant signs that remain today the de facto standard signs for the Democratic and Republican parties, respectively.

The result is to drive home a powerful and relevant message in a pleasant way. But what does it mean structurally and mathematically to be caricature or satire? The rest of the paper will address this question using methods from classical semiotics, semiotic morphisms and particularly blends.

First, a comment about the interpretation of political cartoons as presented in this paper. This is not a paper about politics, but rather how political thoughts and opinions are expressed through complex signs. In general, the worldview of the artist will be accepted as truth for the sake of analysis.

Furthermore, the words used here in the labeling of concepts from the cartoons were chosen with a large amount of arbitrariness, as they are generally unimportant in the analysis.

He claimed that signs draw meaning and significance from the way they interact with other signs in the system. This principle is nicely illustrated in the following cartoon Figure 1.

Bush acts as a means of further distinguishing these two signs; he lights the fuse of a distant bomb while turning his back on the closer one. Thus he creates a contrast between them, both in terms of a spatial relationship and a mode of interaction. Together these contrasts form part of the core meaning of this cartoon, which is a contrast between nations, a contrast between policies towards nations, and a contradictory matching between nations and policies.

A critical analysis of the show closer from 2000

But how exactly are these images and signs related to nations and policies? To answer this question, we turn to a structural study of the meaning of complex metaphorical signs known as blending.

A critical analysis of the show closer from 2000

This is because elements of the source space are visible in what is supposed to be the target space! The natural explanation for the coexistence of elements from both the source and target spaces is that a new blended space has been created.

Figures 2 and 3a below compare the structures of traditional metaphor theory and blend theory. Figure 3b shows how the blend analysis works for this cartoon. Traditional Metaphor Analysis Figures 3a and 3b: Blending Analysis In the blending theory, the source and target spaces are both called input spaces, since they both contribute to the blended space.

Notice that in addition to the blended space, a generic space has been added. The purpose of the generic space is to define at a very high level the nature of the structures internal to the three other spaces. First, since Iraq and North Korea are really two different conceptual spaces, we amend Figure 3b to include three input spaces, something not generally possible in traditional metaphor analysis Figure 4.

Amended Blend Analysis Figures 5: Detail of Blend Analysis Figure 5 gives the detail of the structures internal to the nodes shown in Figure 4. The three input space structures are found by taking an interpretation of international politics, and knowledge of how bombs and fuses work.

Observe that the structure of the three input spaces is strikingly similar. A generalization of this similarity is defined in the generic space, and one particular way of blending the two input spaces, the one shown in the cartoon, is defined in the blended space.

In the blended space, the Bush and the Bomber nodes have been fused to a single Bomber-Bush. This in itself has significance for the meaning that is emergent in the blended space, in other words, is not found in any input space.

Since each input space is its own sphere, it is only in the blended space that such a profound and dangerous contradiction between the policies towards Iraq and North Korea, and the immediacy of the danger posed by each can be seen.I’ve seen analyses of the long odds the U.S.

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A Semiotic Analysis of Political Cartoons. Cynthia Bailey Lee. CSE , Spring Professor Joseph Goguen. June 5, Abstract. Political cartoons historically and currently play a significant role in public discourse about serious and important issues.

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