ERIC Number: ED222946
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1982-Nov
Reference Count: 0
The Satisfaction of Pretended Insight: The Iranian Crisis in Selected U.S. Editorial Cartoons.
DeSousa, Michael A.
An examination of a year's worth of editorial cartoons portraying the U.S. hostage crisis in Iran indicates a surprising lack of coverage or treatment of the deposed Shah and his subsequent admission into the United States as factors precipitating the crisis. Throughout the crisis, cartoonists focused on providing readers with some insight into the essential nature and motivation of Ayatollah Khomeini, the leader of the Iranian revolution. Khomeini was thematically portrayed as a clever manipulator of the media on which Americans were so dependent, as degrader or humiliator of the United States, and as being insane to the point of blind self-destruction. Like the failure to develop the Shah issue, the attribution of madness theme denies legitimacy to the embassy takeover, reducing it to an act without reason or rationale. A fourth theme portrayed Khomeini as hypocrite or false spiritual leader, given his secular actions, although the basis for these derogations may be based on implicitly ethnocentric and Christian religious beliefs. During this period, cartoonists borrowed the highly visible symbols of the crisis in order to secure analogical connections to other issues in the minds of cartoon readers, which may have ultimately trivialized or at least desensitized the crisis. Nevertheless, these cartoons offered audiences "the satisfaction of pretended insight," not necessarily the truth, but a palatable version of reality demanded by a mass readership enduring a crisis of purpose and in deep need of unity and reassurance. (Copies of cartoons selected from the 1 year sample may be obtained from the author.) (HTH)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Iran; Iran Hostage Crisis; Media Role; Political Cartoons
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Speech Communication Association (68th, Louisville, KY, November 4-7, 1982). Because of copyright restrictions, all cartoons have been removed. Copies are available from this author (Dept. of Rhetoric, Univ. of California Davis, Davis, CA 95616).