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PANEL DISCUSSION

The Digital Age

February 13, 2005|Joel Pett | Joel Pett is the Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist of the Lexington Herald-Leader. His work also appear in USA Today.

Even without a tinker-proof, state-of-the-art computerized voting process, like, say, Florida's, Iraq's election had its own digital aspect. The joyful spectacle of weary but defiant voters displaying their inky index fingers flooded the global mediasphere for days. As visual artists whose central challenge is to create images that resonate, cartoonists can't beat such sensational displays, so we might as well join 'em and feed off the established power of the picture.

Call it symbolic symbiosis. Everyone outside of a terror cell or a spider hole was keeping their fingers crossed, so the relative success of the election was easy to laud. The liberties Glenn McCoy took with the Lady, Tony Auth's elegantly simple diminutization of the oppressive opposition, and Jeff Koterba's reminder of the chief blood-Baathist were undoubtedly even more compelling when isolated on their own paper's editorial pages. But, always looking to take things a step further, Tom Toles managed to twist the event into a comment on both malfunctioning wardrobes and mammoth wartime budgets. Some may call that ink-stained wretched excess, but I call it great range. Thumbs up.

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