Eng 112 04PR
Prayer in schools: not what you would expect
The student speaking is a buck-toothed, mussy haired nerd in a bowtie. His mouth is open enough for flies to make a nice hoe, and maybe his jaw is no longer connected to his skull. He looks rather like a mouse. The teacher is simultaneously oval and pointy, a duality that may or may not be significant. She is dressed like an average teacher, with the exception of her necklace, which may be a talisman.
In the background, three students and a large statue are sitting on their desks and praying to the statue. The boy on the left is blond, wearing a short sleeved shirt with stripes, jeans, and sneakers. His expression is somewhat horrified. His hands are in the traditional prayer pose. His shock may be at the teacher’s comment of goat entrails. The other student’s faces cannot be seen, but the girl in the middle is wearing a black short sleeved shirt, and her pants may be a skirt. The person to her right has dark hair, let down at shoulder length, and is wearing a long sleeved shirt with a boxy design. The middle girl’s hands are in an OK shape, while the girl on her right is simply holding her hands out.
The statue mirrors their hand positions, having six arms, each making a different gesture. The bottom left hand is making a Vulcan “live long and prosper” sign, and has an eyeball in its palm. The one above that is making a three- fingered peace sign. The one above that is making a cowabunga or radically dudeular gesture, where the pinky and thumb are the only fingers extended. Continuing at the top right is the OK sign again, a can of soda being held by the hand below, and the final hand offering the group a thumbs up. The statue is fairly overweight, and seems to be wearing a necklace made out of doughnuts. On its head is a cylindrical hat, on its hat are flowers and arches. It kind of resembles a flower pot. Its face resembles a Tiki head, with a long tongue sticking out.
I have interpreted the comic as suggesting that if organized prayer should be allowed in schools, that it should be open to all religions and not just the main Abrahamic faiths.
In this cartoon, a student's mom complains through him that "when she demanded organized prayer in school, this isn't what she intended!” the teacher's response is an unsympathetic: "Well! Don’t think that will get you out of handling the goat entrails!" A background student looks on, perhaps in response to the teacher's comment on goats.
This cartoon was published in the united states in the late 2000’s or early 2010’s. The date is unreadable. Due to being unable to find what sort of publication “Encore” is and the time of it’s publishing, I cannot know much about the audience, other than they were most likely from seattle Washington.
The author’s name is David Horsey, a Pulitzer Prize winner. He regularly produces political cartoons for newspapers in Seattle, Washington. He also posts his cartoons and commentary on blog.seattlepi.com/davidhorsey, though he seems to have left that website as of December 29, 2011.
The cartoon's message about the issue is that people are making prayer in schools to be a bigger issue than it needs to be. Students can already pray in schools if they want to, so what purpose does it serve to have it organized and led by a teacher who should be teaching instead of preaching? In addition, if the led prayer does not mesh with a student's religion, will he be allowed to opt out? The cartoon suggests no.
This cartoon is a single frame, and it relies on words and visuals almost equally. The expressions of the characters catch your eye first, and the words follow after, explaining them. Two shocked faces and one irate at the flip-flopping mother. Facial expressions and body language can be very persuasive and the author's use of drawings is somewhat more persuasive than the words, which lead the reader think "make up your mind, mom!"
The artist’s choice of imagery is somewhat realistic, nobody is being caricatured in this cartoon, and he alludes to a possible news event where someone demanded or wrote a bill requiring organized prayer in schools in Seattle. The cartoon is somewhat comedic in tone, using humor in the student’s shocked face and speech.
The comic does not refer to anyone specifically, that I can find, but over the last ten years, I have heard of numerous schools through the country trying to have organized prayer in schools, mostly in the bible belt of the south, and getting sued for doing It because it is unconstitutional. Some symbolism is heavily featured on the statue, which seems to stand for modern things that kids worship, like being cool and drinking soda. After all, who doesn’t give a thumbs up now and then, or an “OK” gesture, possibly while drinking an ice cold Coca-Cola? The symbolism is a great rhetorical strategy for making the cartoon accessible to all audiences, and it’s no wonder that Horsey is a Pulitzer Prize winner.