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Is Steve Bell pastiching Nazi propaganda? Or plagiarising it? 

18 March 2018

1:55 PM

18 March 2018

1:55 PM

My objection to Steve Bell, the Guardian cartoonist, is not that he is risqué. Nor is it that he’s rabidly anti-Tory. It’s that his cartoons are often unfunny to the point of being humourless. I’m not exactly his target audience, though, so I would say that. 

But a friend has pointed out that his drawing this week on the May-Russia story takes direct and obvious inspiration from Nazi propaganda: 

An anti-communist poster from 1940

Now, let’s not be all inverse-Owen Jones. Let’s try not to scream ‘offensive’ before we’ve understood the joke. Bell’s point here could be to satirise the Tory reaction to Putin as being similar to the Nazi attitude to the Bolsheviks  — hence the ‘over the top’ line, in which case it’s quite clever. 

But I think Bell might be trying to have it both ways. At any rate, he’s not worried about aping the art of the Third Reich. Given he has form when it comes to dancing close to the line on anti-semitism, you might expect him to be more careful. 


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