Hundreds of heavyweights of Chilean politics have been caricatured in the sharp black and white vignettes of Malaimagen, artistic name of political cartoonist Guillermo Galindo (Santiago, 41 years old). In the 15 years that he has been analyzing the political class with a spirit that is as critical as it is humorous, Malaimagen has become one of the great references of his generation in the profession. From a sidewalk parallel to that of the journalist, he has followed every step of the constituent process attentively, publishing a weekly vignette on the issues that have set the agenda. This September 4, Chileans will vote whether to approve or reject the convention’s proposal to replace the Constitution inherited from the dictatorship.
The cartoonist publishes his 14th book this week, Enough of Cartoons, a work further removed from politics, which invents reflection through everyday situations. “The mission of a cartoonist of political humor is to be responsible and as serious as possible with the process that is being experienced,” he maintains, not joking, in an interview held this Sunday at his home located in the center of Santiago, two streets away. from the epicenter of the social uprisings of 2019.
Ask. From a humorous point of view, how funny was the convention?
Response. Always the funniest are the most caricatured situations. The theme of Pelao Vade [el constituyente que fingio padecer cancer con el objetivo de ser electo]the characters who entered to make controversy as [la convencional de derecha] Theresa Marinovic. Also those who stole the film a bit, like [la presidenta de la convencion] Elisa Loncon or [el constitucionalista de izquierdas] Fernando Atria. I try to be fair with the proportion that I give to each thing. I’m working in a limited way and that’s where I try to concentrate: this character, this is interesting, this topic hasn’t been touched on, etc.
P. Did you find a lot of material to make you laugh?
R. Yeah, I’ve never been short of material since I’ve been in this. On the contrary, I have left over, I have not been able to cover everything. There are topics that are funny and topics that are not. There you have to be careful. But the material was there and it was a matter of analyzing it and seeing what things could be rescued for the comics and to immortalize them in the format in which I work.
P. What topics did you decide not to make humor about?
R. Many times in my job serious situations occur and I try to handle them responsibly, without removing them. I try to tackle all the topics when they deserve it. With the delicate ones, instead of laughing, one integrates them, but without making fun of the misfortunes. The opposite with fanaticism or crude things, like when they said we were going to eliminate the national anthem, the flag. The same with fake news, which has been very relevant all this time. I am using all of this. The most absurd things are like a joke in itself and one has to grab the ball and use it. I think that what you are trying to do is important and the mission of a political cartoonist is to be responsible and as serious as possible with the process that is taking place.
P. Do you remember any vignette that has been highly commented or controversial during the process?
R. I remember themes that positioned themselves well, like when they started saying that hitting a sticker of I approve in a home it was the same as the Nazis who marked the houses of the Jews, the supposed elimination of the Chilean flag or that it was wrong to print copies of the proposal because it was anti-ecological. I approach them with my drawings and see how I ridicule them more than the ridiculous they already are. I have also drawn a lot [miembros de Amarillo por Chile, del Rechazo] like Cristian Warnken, Javiera Parada, or [a la senadora de centro izquierda] Ximena Rincon, who put on the genet of the Rejection completely committed to the cause, [al ex lider de la barra brava de Colo Colo pro Rechazo] Bad Pancho. All these characters are so striking. For me it is challenging and exciting to follow this because these are historic moments and we don’t know how it will end.
P. All the examples you gave me are from the side of the Rejection. those of the I approve they didn’t give you material?
R. Yes. In the I approve there is the issue that all the followers of the Government have that thing to idolize. I put them as a fan club of the figure of President Boric. what of the performance of the Chilean flag in Valparaiso, for example, will surely be my next cartoon and that’s how I’m adding characters. Bachelet also gave me a lot of material.
P. You are from the left, but you hit both sides. Who has a better sense of humor? those of the Rejection or those of I approve?
R. What I am going to say is ugly, but with Pinera it was much easier to draw because he was a “clearer enemy”. Now I have a lot of people who follow me and get angry when I draw Boric. Political satire has a lot to do with criticism, so if I have to criticize, I do it, regardless of who gets it. There are some who are disappointed and tell you that you are playing the game of the right or the left. Sometimes in the same vignette I play the game of both, depending on the audience. Something that one is learning is that one must have one’s own editorial line and what people feel about it, one cannot and should not manage. I’m not saying that those on the right have a better sense of humor, because they don’t, they’re usually the ones who attack me, but I think there has to be self-criticism on the left. I am not part of the Government. I am a person like any other and I will not be supporting things that are wrong, ever. The facts are the facts. There are a lot of people who get mad at me and the next week they love me again.
P. Boric has given him material with the apologies
R. Boric gives a lot, a lot of material. With the apologies, with the unfulfilled promises, the police reform. At the beginning, it was almost necessary to dissolve policemen and now they are putting tattoos on them. That apology for everything, which is absurd. Or the characters that have been sent more condors (mistakes). [A la ministra del Interior] Izkia Siches I have had to draw a lot. Many times I have drawn [la portavoz] Camilla Vallejo trying stop the cars the others. I don’t know if it’s like that internally, but that’s how it’s perceived. There I am also hanging the crutches. Boric has many, such as “condemnation, wherever it comes from.” Many themes help make comics as funny as possible, but they have to be meaty. As the topics are relevant, you have to touch them with power.
P. Is it easier to make political humor in a tense environment?
R. when i made the book this did not turn on (2020, Reservoir Books) I had to draw about human rights violations, victims of eye trauma, it was not easier. There were more situations that gave to draw, but also very delicate subjects that did not give to laugh. When everything is calmer, it is the opposite. You can laugh because the atmosphere is more relaxed, but there are fewer topics for the same reason. Both situations have pros and cons for the creative process, but when everything is more tense, more critical, creative work is more stimulating. They make you want to participate more, and the way I have to participate is through the drawings.
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Source: EL PAIS