“Laura! Laura! Wake up”
The concepts of intertextuality and appropriation have been of great use, since their introduction by Bakhtin and Kristeva, in a wide range of disciplines. Although the distinction between them remains elusive, both refer to citations – explicit and otherwise; direct or indirect – of texts in other texts. This paper discusses the social and political functions of such references, including, when successful, the achievement of cultural cohesion, but, when unsuccessful, the reverse. Several examples are discussed briefly, and two political cartoons from American popular publications during the 2008 presidential election, one successful and the other not, are analyzed at length and compared and contrasted.