This is the first (and, hopefully, last) installment of Art Critic, in which we attempt a negative definition of art by excluding everything in Santa Barbara.
Steve Greenberg is widely thought to be a cartoonist, but there has historically been little evidence supporting that claim. This week, however, the Santa Barbara View threw their weight behind the credibility of rumors that Greenberg in fact draws pictures, accompanied with text, that aim to provide humorous commentary on current political affairs. By reprinting his piece “Housing Bubble 2”, which first appeared in the Ventura Star last month, the suggestion is that the work meets enough of the criteria listed above to be considered a “political cartoon”.
What first captures the viewer’s attention is this man in the bottom left. He is labeled “SPECULATORS”, implying that he represents multiple speculators. But which speculators?
The second large element of “Housing Bubble 2” makes it clear that our topic is housing speculators, who attempt to leverage fluctuations in real estate prices in order to make money quickly. This practice can artificially “inflate” house prices and create a housing “bubble”—represented above by the house inside a bubble. The house, inside the bubble, rising up in the air, represents the rising house prices.
As a result of the “bubble”, lower- and middle-class individuals may find themselves no longer able to afford to purchase a house.
The “2” at the end of “Housing Bubble 2” (which is also the title of the drawing) is supposed to inform us that this is the second housing bubble that has occurred. Another housing bubble happened a while ago.
In conclusion, the Santa Barbara View is correct. This is a cartoon, it’s a good cartoon, and it is funny. It’s funny because it’s funny to imagine a grown man blowing a bubble wand, and a house floating in the air. Considered alongside his last drawing, which was funny because some places have a larger property tax base than others, there is little doubt that Steve Greenberg is a very funny political cartoonist.