[Image] Don’t Bother To Think 4. Computer as beneficial tool. This theme is, of course, the primary justification for the existence of the computer. Cartoons decorate this point by showing many idiosyncratic ways of putting the computer to work: as prophet, as fortune teller, as Santa's helper, as fishing expert, and so forth. One could surmise that man is coming to rely too heavily upon the computer. 5. The Tool Evolves into Threatening Master. Extreme reliance on any technology has its disadvantages. An appropriate metaphor for the theme in this area is the servant turned master. Heavy dependence on computers as pervasive tools may lead to obedience to the computer as an authority. This dilemma is depicted in a 1964 (June 3) Punch cartoon where an onlooking scientist observes another scientist bowing down in front of the computer saying, "I think Smith’s on to something pretty big!" 6. The dependent computer. In a crucial way computers depend on human intervention for data and programs. Perhaps the most interesting idea which the cartoons elaborate on is that no matter how complex a computer may be, its operation is still subject to the whims and sporatic moods of people. The act of "pulling the plug" so that the computer goes down is reinterpreted as an act of self-actualization. 7. Computer people and insider jokes. The technical magazines tend to emphasize this area. Some humor resides with the computer itself and such problems as high cost, miniaturization, and hardware change. The more interesting cartoons focus upon computer people and popular images of this unique breed of specialist. Often the computerman is a superman, but more often he (she) is struggling to solve huge problems while on the brink of personal disaster. [Image] AH HA! A POCKET MINI-COMPUTER FOR ONLY 500! GOOD DEAL. I GUESS I’D BETTER GET A READER,PRINTER AND BASIC COMPILER. IF I DON’T GET A SERVICE CONTRACT, IT’LL PROBABLY BREAK DOWN AT TAX TIME. I’VE GOT AN IDEA! I’LL ASK IT HOW I CAN BUDGET FOR ALL THE EXTRAS. WHAT’S THIS?!”…TRADE GIRLFRIEND IN ON FLOPPY DISK.” Conclusion Skimming through these cartoons and associated themes uncovers humor which quite blatantly raises social issues, e.g., impersonalization and unemployment. Other cartoons are more subtle in their message but nonetheless function as consciousness raising devices. They serve to sensitize the reader to the role of the computer in society. Computer cartoons also offer us a creative, human way of coping with a technology that is sometimes frightening, sometimes boring, and sometimes incomprehensible. Cartoons provide us with a delightful route to think and feel about the most fantastic of man's machines.