Iceland’s oldest newspaper Morgunblaðið went further in its strange spiral into weirdness today with what is possibly the most xenophobic cartoon in the history of our little nation.
Not only is the message despicable fear mongering hostility against vulnerable people, it’s also just really bad. All forms of “art” can be political and often to good effect, it can make you think about issues in a way that plain text can’t. But it has to be subtle and creative in its messaging. This cartoon is so didactic and on the nose that quite frankly it’s embarrassing.
But hey, it’s election season (again) and the paper that has former Independence Party Prime Minister Davíð Oddsson as its editor-in-chief has apparently decided this is what we need to be discussing.
Do you get it?
For those of our dear readers who don’t speak our obscure mother tongue, let me break this down for you.
The pearly blue gates with the Icelandic flag have the insignia “The Icelandic welfare system”. As you can see the arc de aide sociale is being propped up by feeble sticks. The sign at the top reads “borders” and it stands behind a miserable, broken down razor wire fence.
Do you get it? Do you get it?
The trojan horse’s insignia reads: “The colonialists’ playbook”. It is being dragged towards the gate by the halo wearing “good people”. This needs explaining, the “good people” is a derogatory term used by nationalists and talk radio listeners to put down people who want to do horrible things such as help refugees, put money into development aid and such shit.
Do you get it? Do you get it?
But it is in the white text box in the bottom left where the cartoon really goes all in bonkers. It reads as follows:
“Let’s pull a classic ‘divide and conquer’ tactic. Let’s put on a good war and drown nations in refugees. Then let’s get anarchists and leftists call the so-called conservatives racists when they try to defend the nationstate.”
Finally, at the bottom is the text: “Useful naive people in the globalists’ deadly game”.
DO YOU GET IT? DO YOU GET IT?
Cartoon nationalism turned on its head
The reactions on Twitter have ranged from anger, outrage to the best form of protest–humour.
Ragnar Eyþórsson decided to turn the hostile message on its head by swapping out the text with an apt analysis of the cartoon’s real message.
“The simplest thing to do is to mirror this … doesn’t make the work any funnier, but takes it closer to the truth…”, Ragnar wrote in the tweet.
Einfaldast var að spegla þetta… gerir verkið ekkert fyndnara en færir það óþarflega nær sannleikanum… pic.twitter.com/c4BFwtDklr
— Ragnar Eythorsson (@raggiey) September 28, 2017
Here the gate’s inscription reads “Icelandic homes”, the sign says Úvarp Saga (notorious talk radio station where listeners often don’t let PC attitudes, human kindness and other bothers get in the way of the “truth”). The caped crusader now represents “cartoonists”, the Trojan is Morgunblaðið and the text blurb reads:
“Let’s pull a classic ‘terrify and distract’ tactic. Let’s put on a good war and drown our readers in propaganda. Let conservatives and racists then call the public illinformed when they try to protect civic values.”
Finally at the bottom it says: “useful doodlers in the nationalists’ deadly game.”
Just as didactic, way better everything