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Dennis Jones is a Jamaican-born international economist, who has lived most of the time in the UK and USA, and latterly in Guinea, west Africa. He moved back to the Caribbean in 2007. This blog contains his observations on life on this small eastern Caribbean island, as well as views on life and issues on a broader landscape, especially the Caribbean and Africa.

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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Make 'Em Laugh. Make 'Em Cry.

Here I am, languishing in Barbados, pining for one good thing. I need a good belly laugh about what's going on in the local political scene. What I see in the local papers are some feeble attempts at ridiculing politicians. Where are the hard hitting digs at the local "high and mighty"? Without searching very far, I can find so many good digs in other parts of the world. Take a look at a few I found this morning.

Is there a climate of fear
that leaves the local cartoonists too timid to poke fun at these often larger-than-life figures?

Jamaica used to have a great cartoonist, Urban Leandro,who took his swipe at politics but also at many aspects of local life. A wonderful anthology of his works are now available, "The Best of Leandro".

One of the local blogs, Barbados Free Press did a puff for their own political cartoons. (see link). But why should they be alone, even though we know them to be our local "mavericks" when it comes to getting in their licks?

The best "cartoonist" in Barbados is really not a drawer, but a sharp-witted commentator, "Market Vendor", whose wit and irreverence in his oral digs are never matched by any images in a local paper.

I will have to think why the standard fare here is so much about "playing it safe" or "with a straight bat", to borrow a cricket image.

4 comments:

Gio said...

Barbados too small and the percived risks too great.

In large countries polticians are too busy and their resourses too sparce to bring them to focus on their (numerous) detractors.

A single minister is likly to be freindly with every other minister in government and if the pivate sector wants govermnet contracts then they have to kowtow to the powers that be.

Dennis Jones said...

Gio,

I think you are part right, though in larger countries there are more resources to deal with the media, and a whole machinery of "spin".

The personal and commercial interconnections play some part, it's true, but I am not sure that stops partisan or neutral ribbing of politicians.

I also think there is some "national" characteristic that says whether or not people feel that they have to be deferential to politicians. This can be high in the Caribbean, but not insurmountable.

Gio said...

You are right in that it is not insurmountable, but I think that respect for politrickans as little to do with it. I think it has more to do with fear (as described above) and many other associated inhibitors

E.g:

Libel laws and perceived independence of the judiciary.

General despair and despondency, no one feels they can make a change

The unwillingness to cross the "thin brown line" which stop politicians telling on each other for fear about what will come out about you or what your colleagues will do to your political career

Jdid said...

"Is there a climate of fear
that leaves the local cartoonists too timid to poke fun at these often larger-than-life figures?"

the answer would be yes