11 July 2009

Cartoons: Gov. Palin’s Resignation

Here are two political cartoons concerning the resignation of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin effective 26 July. We can glean a few useful expressions from these cartoons.

This cartoon is by Chip Bok of the Akron (Ohio) Beacon-Journal from 8 July 2009.

In this political cartoon, the cartoonist is commenting on the mystery surrounding the resignation of the governor. There are a lot of rumors among which the most popular is she’s preparing a presidential run for 2012.

1. to make of (something/someone) – This idiomatic phrasal verb means to understand someone or the meaning of something in a particular way. The cartoonist is saying that this change is not understandable since we don’t have all the details and it was totally unexpected. If you were talking to a friend about this, you might ask, “What do you make of Sarah Palin’s sudden resignation?”

The next political cartoon is by Bruce Plante of The Chattanooga Times Free Press in Chattanooga, Tennessee from 7 July 2009.

Here the cartoonist is critical of Sarah Palin of quitting the governorship a little more than a year before the end of her term. Speculation from the political left and right is running rampant. In the cartoon, Mr. Plante uses a famous proverb:

1. "When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” – This is a popular proverb meaning that when life become difficult, the strong rise to the challenge and fight to survive. In other words, you shouldn’t give up when things get difficult.

2. the going – This word is used to talk about how fast or easily you’re making progress. For example, imagine you are hiking in the mountains along a difficult path. You might say, “This is hard going!”

3. tough / the tough – In the proverb, this word is used as both an adjective and then as a plural noun. As an adjective, it means difficult or hard. As a noun it is often used in the plural as in the proverb; it is treated like the plural ‘people.’ Look at this philosophical statement: “The tough are the ones who are convinced that a path without obstacles leads to nowhere.”

4. to get going – This idiomatic expression means to start taking action, to start doing something. At the end of a break at work, your boss might tell you and your colleagues, “It’s time to get going!” to signal that break time is over and it’s time to get back to work. However, there is a play on words in this cartoon because to get going can also mean to leave! Imagine you and your family want to see a film at the cinema which starts at 8pm and it takes 15 minutes to get there and you also need to buy your tickets; it’s now 7:30pm and so you tell your family, “It’s time to get going if we don’t want to miss the start of the film!”

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