Since adding an ‘e’ to anything is vogue nowadays, why should humour be excluded? So we have ‘e-humour’ in the form of trolls at the moment. The general notion about a troll is that it is solely meant for jest and time pass. Trolls on social media are the easiest way of ‘building’ humour without hinging on the creative labour that largely goes into the creation of cartoons or caricatures.
For trollers, the template is easily available in the form of image or visuals, whereas cartoons demand a supreme sense of visualization and sense of humour. The sensitivity of a cartoonist helps him respond to daily issues through his regular column. This kind of spontaneous reaction lacks in a troller. Cartoons pique our interest as they offer a space for registering one’s protest, emotion and perspectives.
The cartoons or caricatures by R.K. Laxman, K. Shankar, Abu Abraham, O.V. Vijayan, Yesudasan and Toms et al transcend time, owing to their impeccable imagination and thought-provoking portrayals of issues. What trolls miss in a big way is this vital quality as they mainly rely on sarcasm and slapstick comedy. There is humour in trolls but the wit is seldom to come by.
Do not forget, our greatest cartoonists had humongous observation skills and reading habits. Just like an actor, who is forced to come out of his comfort zone, they dabbed their hands in all subjects, ranging from politics, sports and films to science and human follies. As a result, their creations have surpassed the humour level and reached the pinnacle of comedy – wit, which we seldom find in trolls. When a mere caricature conveys multiple levels of emotions, a troll exposes its limitations through the image or visual. The former is a personalized endeavour while the latter is a group activity.
Of course, there is creativity among trollers but they are confined to the swathes of slapstick comedy, and fail to elevate the premise of the topic as a cartoon does. However, though trolls cannot be considered as an e-version of cartoons, the popularity they get in the modern era is amazing.
Advancement in the technology enables everyone to become individual trollers. They will trample as well as extol celebrities, politicians and even creatures. While creating a troll, the task is to find matching words to the images that are already available. But cartoons demand more smart tasks to make the topic riveting and appealing. The way the cartoonist conceives an issue makes it immortal and the representation fails to expunge from our memory.
I remember a cartoon that appeared in a vernacular newspaper when yesteryear actor Adoor Bhasi died. The cartoon shows that Adoor Bhasi is about to climb onto a cloud where actor Prem Nazir is sitting. Bhasi asks: “Kaathirunnu mushinjo Nazir sir?”(Are you tired of waiting for me?) Albeit the fact that this cartoon has a black humour element, it announces how a cartoon can be simple and imaginative to portray the demise of a favourite comedian by sprinkling a tinge of moist in our eyes.
Yes, now I realize my attempt to draw a comparison between trolls and cartoons is puerile. But my premonition is that, with the dwindling of our newspaper reading habits, cartoon columns may move into oblivion and innovative mode of laughter-evoking tools may usurp this art. Whoever survives, ultimately the genuine humour that keeps us pondering on would be the real winner.