Bishops, Boozers, Brethren and Burkas: Towards a Cartoon History of Religion in New Zealand

  • Mike Grimshaw

Abstract

In his 1941 centennial survey of New Zealand, Oliver Duff observed, 'We are not Puritan enough to take our pleasures sadly, but we take them very seriously'. Duff's comments offer a useful starting point for the investigation of cartoons in New Zealand history. Cartoons - that is, editorial cartoons - are a serious pleasure, a type of puritanical corruption of a Protestant sensibility. They are an act of protest, commonplace in the main, but expressed in such a manner as to make the commonplace interesting. Ingvild Saelifd Gilhus, in her study on laughter in the history of religion, refers to Bakhtin's description of carnival laughter as virtually an alternative to religion. Carnival laughter is 'cathartic and salvific, an expression of rebellion aimed at the religious authorities and their institutions, past and present'. This essay seeks to explore the ways that the carnivalistic humour of the cartoon has represented religion in New Zealand over the past 150 years, aiming to lay the ground work for developing a cartoon history of religion in our society.

Author Biography

Mike Grimshaw
Mike Grimshaw is a Senior Lecturer in Religious Studies in the School of Social and Political Sciences, University of Canterbury.
Published
2010-05-01
How to Cite
GRIMSHAW, Mike. Bishops, Boozers, Brethren and Burkas: Towards a Cartoon History of Religion in New Zealand. The Journal of New Zealand Studies, [S.l.], n. 9, may 2010. ISSN 2324-3740. Available at: <https://ojs.victoria.ac.nz/jnzs/article/view/117>. Date accessed: 06 dec. 2019. doi: https://doi.org/10.26686/jnzs.v0i9.117.