Friday, February 22, 2008

Bush is a Midget

George W. Bush isn't really that short. He's 5'11", which makes him a woman in my family, but then I come from a family where the shortest adult member just needs to put on a normal pair of shoes to reach 6' regardless of gender. For most people 5'11" isn't too shabby. In fact, he's more or less an inch above the national average. However, I've spent a lot of time clicking through's editorial cartoon archive (they collect cartoons from a variety of papers and magazines from all over the world) and noticed an interesting trend in the portrayal of Bush: He's portrayed as extremely short with surprising frequency. I didn't want to dig through all 900 Bush-related comics, so I just skimmed through the first 100 where I found more than 30 comics that portrayed Bush as abnormally tiny compared to other characters in the piece or proportioned as to suggest smallness. If you were to remove the strips out of that 100 that mentioned Bush but included no physical portrayal, the percentage was probably over 50 percent of short Bush versus normal Bush. I think it'd be an interesting communications study to compare the portrayal of Bush's height in editorial cartoons compared to that of other presidents throughout history. Perhaps that's something Courtney should look into.

Out of those 30+ mini-Bush comics, I've weeded out repeats of the same artist and ended up with a list of 13 examples of this trend. BTW, the illustration above also came from and just happened to illustrate this topic perfectly.

  1. Here, Bush barely makes it up to Pervez Musharraf's and Vladamir Putin's nipples.This also features another common caricature feature of Bush: overly large and pointy ears.
  2. Another very tiny, rabbit-like representation.
  3. Now we find Bush portrayed as a child playing at politics. Representing him as a child is common, but not the only time he's portrayed as vertically challenged.
  4. Just a shorty here.
  5. He looks a little elfin here.
  6. Here, he's towered over by Laura. It may be an attempt at perspective (not something comic art is known for), but the effect is the same.
  7. Ah, look! Li'l Bushy is asking Santy Claus for more money for his military budget.
  8. Cheney is a hulking brute compared to Bush.
  9. Even Nixon's ghost fills more volume than W.
  10. Ben Sargent regularly portrays Shrub as being both short and with very simian features.
  11. Again, Bush is portrayed as being shorter than a woman, although he doesn't look like a midget for once, but he does seem very small and weak.
  12. Apparently, Bush is small enough to fit into former Australian Prime Minister John Howard's pouch, if Howard were a kangaroo.
  13. Again, Cheney looms over his supposed superior.
Also, on an unrelated note, if you fail to hear from me after this, it's because I've drowned. Most of my yard is underwater, the pond has forgotten its boundaries, and it's not supposed to stop raining until tomorrow morning. There was actually talk of canceling school today. It's not stormy or windy or even thundering. It's just that when you live in a county were over half of the roads are unpaved, heavy rain wreaks havoc on transportation. There was at least one bus that had to bring the kids back to school this afternoon because the rain had already made the road they lived on impassable. There was a discussion of closing schools for illness that involved much disbelief, so I expect this to be a shock for many of my more urban-raised readers. I remember having school canceled when I was a kid for excessive rain occassionally. I even had friends who were occassionally stranded at home because of water damage to the roads they lived on. It was rare for my family though because we lived close to a paved highway and our road only had our house on it, so it had very low traffic.


Julie said...

WTF?! Am I the only one that does not get a day off work/school due to some factor beyond my control? So not fair.

Mickey said...

Wasn't Bush the first president to win an election over a taller opponent? Not that cartoonists need factual reasons.

Jacob said...

I heard a reference that suggests the taller thing is a bit of a myth, but I think the taller president has tended to win in the television era. Before that, it was pretty random. Most of the presidents before cameras were really freaking short.

Courtney said...

It's true - since the dawn of TV, the taller guy has always won the presidency until Bush came along and ruined it. He is significantly shorter than both Gore and Kerry. We actually have had lengthy discussions about this in my classes.

There's the famous Kennedy-Nixon debate, the first televised debate, which has been studied a lot. People who watched it on TV almost unanimously voted Kennedy the winner because he was taller and good-looking and wore a black suit, while Nixon looked like death becasue he wore a gray suit and TVs were black and white then, which totally washed him out. But people who listened to the debate on the radio almost unanimously voted Nixon the winner because his arguments actually did have more substance.

That's pretty fascinating, if you ask me.

Chris said...

Pretty durn intrestin.

I guess this rules out Ross Perot ever having a shot at pres.

So, Barack Obama is our guy this year, based on height, correct?