Political Octopus

Posted on 3 September 2013

Octopus political cartoons:

Political Octopus

For visual propaganda, cephalopods—octopi and squid—are among the most metaphorically useful animals. Formerly maligned as “devilfish” or “monsters,” these sea creatures have time and again been cartooned to represent evil empires, avaricious nations, despised ethnicities, deviant faiths, unscrupulous corporations, domineering individuals, totalizing ideologies, discriminatory systems, addictive behaviors, and so on.

There was a kind of golden age—or dark age?—for octopus-themed graphic art from the late nineteenth through the mid twentieth centuries. On lithographic prints and posters, often in combination with cartography, metaphorical tentacles spread far and wide.

(A higher-quality copy of my digital collage is available to teachers on request.)

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