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The father of political cartooning
October 8, 2006 2:36 PM   Subscribe

Why is the elephant the symbol of the GOP? In large part, we can thank cartoonist Thomas Nast, who, on November 7 of 1874, published this cartoon, showing Republicans as a rampaging elephant tearing up the flimsy planks of the Democratic Party. He wasn't just a man who made elephants though; considered to be the father of political cartooning, Nast's illustrations helped bring down Boss Tweed, argued for the abolition of slavery, and hated the Irish.
posted by Astro Zombie (20 comments total)

 
Thanks for the "abolition of slavery" link. Very interesting.
posted by sbutler at 2:41 PM on October 8, 2006


Ooh, two elephant posts in a row.
sorry, that's all I have to offer. A bit rubbish, I know.
posted by TheDonF at 2:48 PM on October 8, 2006


and another one 2 posts below that. Pachyderm-tastic. I'll go now.
posted by TheDonF at 2:50 PM on October 8, 2006


From the Boss Tweed link you posted:

"Nast succeeded in creating a negative image of Boss Tweed but was less successful in turning him out of power. Eventually, rivals in the Democratic Party, who sought the spoils of office for themselves, turned on Tweed."

Surely this argues that Nast's illustrations didn't help bring down Tweed, and actually no part whatsoever in that process?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 2:54 PM on October 8, 2006


I took "less successful" to mean "not entirely unsuccessful." But maybe you're right.
posted by Astro Zombie at 2:57 PM on October 8, 2006


I couldn't figure out what was going on in most of the cartoons from that last link... Except for the macaque countenances of those damnable Irish. I got that one.
posted by Operation Afterglow at 3:03 PM on October 8, 2006


to be the father of political cartooning

Um, no, that would be Hogarth.
posted by Artw at 3:13 PM on October 8, 2006


Father of Political cartooning in America, I should have said.
posted by Astro Zombie at 3:16 PM on October 8, 2006


The Papal Crocodiles in this one is wickedly brilliant.
posted by loquacious at 3:19 PM on October 8, 2006


The Irish were supporters of the Democrat/Tammany machine*that Nast opposed, Operation Afterglow.

Always nice to see his work, thanks, AZ!


*And mostly Catholic to boot, strike two!(I love this one!)
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 3:19 PM on October 8, 2006


I should have saved this for this post.
posted by Rhomboid at 3:22 PM on October 8, 2006


TheDonF : Ooh, two elephant posts in a row.
sorry, that's all I have to offer. A bit rubbish, I know... and another one 2 posts below that. Pachyderm-tastic. I'll go now.

It's the international MeFi Pachyderm day, doncha know.
posted by quin at 4:22 PM on October 8, 2006


Ha! Serves me right. I've been off MeFi all day and missed this. So my jest wasn't a jest, it really is elephant day.

w00t!
posted by quin at 4:26 PM on October 8, 2006


Their new symbol should be an elephant shitting.
posted by StrasbourgSecaucus at 4:55 PM on October 8, 2006


Nast also created the Democratic donkey (uh, orginally jackass).
posted by kirkaracha at 5:00 PM on October 8, 2006




He also created the American popular image of Santa Claus.

"Nast's racial attitudes -- like those of most whites in the country -- were not without contradictions." There's quite a difference between this and this.
posted by kirkaracha at 5:33 PM on October 8, 2006


For those who haven't been past a newsstand this weekend:



Surprised nobody's brought it up but this is the appropriate thread
posted by dhartung at 8:41 PM on October 8, 2006


It was brought up and deleted.
posted by Rhomboid at 8:45 PM on October 8, 2006


The updated GOP symbol.
posted by homunculus at 10:09 PM on October 8, 2006


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