Drawing Conclusions: Editorial Cartoonists Consider Hillary Rodham Clinton

Article excerpt

Elaine K. Miller, Producer.

Drawing Conclusions: Editorial Cartoonists Consider Hillary Rodham Clinton. First Run/Icarus FIms. New York: West Glen Communications, 1998. 25:30 minutes. Color.

Elaine K. Miller has produced a very useful and creative video documentary focusing on one of the most important yet least appreciated areas of American journalism, the work of editorial cartoonists. The video explores the views of four nationally syndicated editorial cartoonists: Jeff McNelly, Mike Peters, Paul Szep, and Ann Telnaes. They describe their work against the backdrop of the public image of Hillary Clinton as depicted by a wide array of artists.

The video addresses polarized ideas underlying editorial cartooning, including gender issues. Many works feature role-reversal-- instances in which Bill and Hillary Clinton are contrasted. President Clinton often appears to take orders from his wife even in policy matters. This is especially true in such areas as health care. The video demonstrates that from the very outset of his time in office Bill Clinton is often relegated in cartoons to taking a backseat to his wife. On inauguration day he is shown repeating his oath of office with Hillary, either challenging or coopting authority. In some instances, he is shown wearing a dress. In others, Hillary is the subject of especially tough societal metaphors for dominance or meanness-- appearing as a shark or a witch on broomstick.

In the course of analyzing how and why Hillary became a lightning rod for cartoonists, participants discuss their backgrounds, philosophies and political affiliation. …