Perspective

By Sean Carroll | January 27, 2006 11:19 am

Political humor is always a tricky business; taking a strong stand tends to annoy more than half of your potential audience rather than make them laugh, while wishy-washy moderation just isn’t that funny. This post at Joe’s Dartblog pops open the hood on an editorial cartoon and looks inside, showing something we don’t usually get to see: three cartoons about a single topic, by the same artist, taking three different ideological perspectives (left, moderate, right). Even though I love political humor when it’s insightful and agrees with my predelictions, this exercise actually highlights the rhetorical limitations of the medium. A joke isn’t an argument, and the techniques of humor can be much more directly employed to bolster opinions that people already have than to make them see things in a new way. (Via the Volokh Conspiracy.)

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Humor, Politics
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Cosmic Variance

Random samplings from a universe of ideas.

About Sean Carroll

Sean Carroll is a Senior Research Associate in the Department of Physics at the California Institute of Technology. His research interests include theoretical aspects of cosmology, field theory, and gravitation. His most recent book is The Particle at the End of the Universe, about the Large Hadron Collider and the search for the Higgs boson. Here are some of his favorite blog posts, home page, and email: carroll [at] cosmicvariance.com .

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