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Posted at 6:00 AM ET, 01/23/2009

Obama Talk: 'Boondocks' Creator Disgusted With 'Gutter News'

By Michael Cavna

It's enough to cause Aaron McGruder to consider going silent. At least when he's amid the media.

Aaron McGruder (AP/Sony)Enlarge Comic

"I don't have much of a stomach for this kind of thing anymore," the creator of "The Boondocks" tells Comic Riffs.

By "this kind of thing," McGruder is referring to controversy that he says arises out of misinterpretation. Misquoting. And sometimes, just plain missing the point.

This week, McGruder spoke to about 700 people at Earlham College in Richmond, Ind. It was Martin Luther King Day, as well as the day before President Obama's inauguration, and the conversation naturally turned to the intersection of race and politics.

McGruder says he was commenting on the "endless stream of black pundits on TV pontificating about the significance of President Obama's election -- many of them making reference to the 3/5th's clause in the constitution regarding slaves." McGruder added in a statement Wednesday: "The point I was making is that this is not an accurate comparison."

In covering the event, however, the Richmond Palladium-Item newspaper quoted McGruder as saying: "The person who is one of us in the White House is Michelle Obama and her momma." The article also included the sentence: "McGruder said that to him, Obama is not black because he is not a descendant of a slave."

In response, McGruder's office posted a statement on blogs including Comic Riffs. Calls and an e-mail to the Palladium-Item for comment were not returned.

"It was a simple conversation about the differences between race, ethnicity, nationality, and trying to draw distinctions that most of the media and public seemed to be casually ignoring," McGruder tells Comic Riffs. "That somehow became me calling someone who is obviously black not black -- and there's very little I can do about it."

McGruder goes on to say: "Sadly, it no longer matters how carefully you choose your words -- you said what the dumbest person in the audience said you said. I've certainly had my share of criticism for the 'legit' media -- in fact, I largely stopped doing press because I hate being misquoted or misinterpreted by journalists -- but this new kind of 'gutter news' from sites ... [is] going to make it extremely difficult to engage in any sort of intelligent discourse.

"The only way to avoid this kind of thing would literally be to stop talking," the cartoonist added, "something I may have to consider."

As an insult-to-injury kicker, he notes that the article says he was clad in a "Boondocks" shirt.

Says McGruder: "I wasn't even wearing a 'Boondocks' T-shirt."

By Michael Cavna  | January 23, 2009; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  General, Interviews With Cartoonists  
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Ok, I get it. He said something and it was twisted around and used against him. I guess he doesn't get out much...

So in his "reply" he brought up the old "military industrial complex" bit. I think he's a bit young to have heard Eisenhower in 1961, so where is that being preached today?

Posted by: MSchafer | January 23, 2009 11:19 AM | Report abuse

"...As an insult-to-injury kicker, he notes that the article says he was clad in a "Boondocks" shirt. Says McGruder: "I wasn't even wearing a 'Boondocks' T-shirt."

If this is true, then the problem is larger than mis-quoting. Who did the reporter mistake for McGruder? I'm sorry the Indiana paper didn't respond with a statement.

I'd love to hear their side of the story.

Posted by: aoscruggs | January 23, 2009 12:06 PM | Report abuse

McGruder's being a publicity hound, and this is just a second bite at the apple.

Posted by: tomtildrum | January 23, 2009 12:23 PM | Report abuse

I can only hope that McGruder takes his threat seriously and STOPS talking.

Posted by: jbullard1 | January 23, 2009 1:59 PM | Report abuse

In the 21st century no one should claim he was misquoted without offering proof. Buy a tape recorder. Use it. Prove you were misquoted. No good journalist will deny your right to record your interview or your speech. Some people claim they were misquoted because it is difficult to admit they said something stupid.

Posted by: DoctorJD | January 23, 2009 2:10 PM | Report abuse

It says "Enlarge Comic" but it's a picture, not a comic...

Posted by: subwayguy | January 23, 2009 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Take a look at this gem from Aaron:

"Republicans do what psychotic, power- hungry megalomaniacs are supposed to do," McGruder said, with what sounded almost like grudging admiration.

"The Republicans play the political game the way it's supposed to be played — dirty, underhanded and messy, and violent," he said.

How bad are they? They killed Minnesota Democratic Sen. Paul Wellstone, he insisted.

Bloomington (Indiana) Herald-Times, 2/21/2003

Maybe it's something in the Indiana water McGruder isn't used to.

Posted by: Reagan1984 | January 24, 2009 2:17 AM | Report abuse

The sad thing about about this issue is, it was so unneccesary for mcgruder to make such a distinction about Obama on the eve of his Inauguration. Mcgruder displays the 'crab in the barrel'l mentality which does what it can to bring another black man down as he reaches the top. His excuses for being misquoted are just as bad as the quotes attributed to him.
The fact of the matter is blacks are decendants of slaves all over the world. The racism that we all experience is metered out consistently and Obama is aware of this experience and will do what he can to improve our lives. So shut up, vote for Palin when you get a chance and go back to writing your worthless kiddie toons that white folk support and realize that few care about your attempts at intellectualism or your house mentality.
Lastly, look in the mirror, Mr. High-Yella, before you identify who is black or not because you are not an authority on the subject.

Posted by: dredgarvey | January 24, 2009 12:09 PM | Report abuse

It's Aaron McGruder.

He long ago lumped himself in--voluntarily, I may add--with such perpetually ticked-off hacks as Ted Rall. There's no possibility of pleasing him, no matter what happens.

In other words, why should I give a rat's posterior what the heck he thinks?

Posted by: LNER4472 | January 26, 2009 9:53 PM | Report abuse

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