Are memes the new political cartoons?

Benjamin Franklin is credited with the first political cartoon in America (U.Virginia)

Since then, political cartoons (poli-toons) became a loud voice in American society. 

And even though the political cartoon is still popular, the meme has caught up with it in social importance. 

Political memes don’t require the artistic talent of political cartoons, nor do they rely heavily on a printed medium like newspapers and periodicals. But this means they can be created by just about anyone. 

Both mediums use humor as a way to make points. Something millenials and gen-x-ers learned from satirical news shows like The Colbert Report and the Daily Show and everyone from Baby Boomers onward learned from Saturday Night Live. 

Because the meme is easier to create there are more of them which means one has more to sift through to find something as educational, contentious or discussion worthy as a poli-toon. 

So, no, the poli-meme is not replacing the poli-toon (anymore than computers are replacing print media…) but they are making it possible for more citizens to express their viewpoints. For better or worse. 


Feature image is my attempt at a poli-meme. 


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