The limits of humour
Manuel Romero, a student at the Escuela Superior de la Comunicación in Granada, has finished his final degree project, with good marks, under the title“Deontology and Law of Graphic Humour in the Contemporary Spanish Press“
Today I have been able to read it in the peace and quiet of the distance from noise and light pollution.
In order to document himself, the author has spent some months contacting more than 100 Spanish and other nationality cartoonists who publish in our country.
Other groups related to graphic humour such as the Madrid and Barcelona illustrators’ associations have collaborated by spreading the call through their associates and those responsible for the magazine El Jueves, or colleagues and friends such as Antonio José Martín “El Gato”, creator and ex-director of the magazine El Batracio Amarillo, have also contributed their opinions, sharing their experiences.
It is pleasant to find studies such as Manuel’s because, as he himself acknowledges, it deals with an area, deontology, in which there is hardly any documentation on graphic humour and which could be a very good starting point to begin to build more complete works by investigating the work, vices, problems and anecdotes of other cartoonists, editors and denouncers when faced with legal conflicts in the exercise of opinion in graphic form.
The study reviews the most notorious cases of censorship in recent years, also examining the law, ethics, the differences and relations between the graphic and the written and the related legislation.
As far as the layout of the work is concerned, it is clear and pleasant without excesses.
Its 122 pages are easy to read, which is appreciated, although the graphics do not “bother” if I ended up missing a little more vignettes related to the authors cited in some chapters or specific events reported in the study.
Perhaps in order to adjust to the current reality and break with “academicism”, it would have been a good move to consider the internet as another medium and not limit graphic humour to the press, limiting it to paper, since the population of humorists who work and publish only in this medium is growing at a very good rate.
All in all, a more than worthy work, which can serve as a reference for all cartoonists who are starting out or for those who want to remember a part of the history of graphic humour in Spain.
I give my opinion on this work, and I prefer to do it here, because I was asked to do so by its author with whom I have chatted by mail and chat on a couple of occasions while he was working on it, but I think thatto be fair it should be possible to consult and download it online for fans and authors or anyone interested, which is not possible at the moment, although I have no doubt that as soon as the author is clear that he can do so, he will end up uploading it anywhere for consultation.
Maybe after reading this he will be encouraged to speed up the process of putting it on the internet :P
Although there will always be people who consider theses and dissertations to be unreadable and uninteresting, there are many others who would surely give a good account of them without having to resort to researchers, university funds with limited circulation and “closed” or restrictive archives in order to be able to consult them.
It goes without saying that I have not done enough research into the existence of internet sites where this type of work, studies and dissertations can be found.
Some of these works tend to end up on the net at the initiative of their authors, so it wouldn’t hurt to try to group together those that deal with graphic humour, because I’m sure that many of them, interesting ones, are still out there awaiting publication.
I have sent questions to several people who I thought might be able to give me some clues, so I found out that the network of university libraries was digitising works with the intention of “uploading” them, and also that many documents of this type can be found on arxiv.org.
As for doctoral theses, I was a little disappointed because a friend of mine told me that she remembered that the databases of doctoral theses (TESEO) had a consultation system, but something has changed and I have not been able to get to it yet.
If I receive a reply to the rest of the pending queries I will add the links, I have left some others to people who surely are interested or have more information.
As always, if you can and want to contribute some more help, comments are open.
January/2010: I found it in pdf with another layout here
Update 32/01/09: Download final work, free Ebook