Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
E-mail Michael  |  On Facebook: Comic Riffs  |  On Twitter: Comic Riffs  |  RSS Feeds RSS Feed
Posted at 8:00 AM ET, 02/24/2009

An Open Letter to NY Post Cartoonist: Time to Do the Right Thing

By Michael Cavna

As an artist who myself, when under fire, has reflexively assumed the Official Editorial Cartoonist's Defensive Crouch, I feel compelled to reach out to the New York Post's controversial political cartoonist to advise -- nay, implore -- him with seven simple words before it's too late. Words that Sean "It's Friggin' Ridiculous" Delonas might embrace:

"Dude, it's time to apologize. No -- seriously."

The media circus may or may not pull out of the station soon, perhaps with Al Sharpton as ringmaster, but that's not the issue, Mr. Delonas. The self-respecting professional cartoonist -- and I sincerely hope that's what you purport, or strive, to be -- knows that the cardinal rule has nothing to do with offending readers (many political cartoonists, in fact, are wired so as to take a certain glee in that).

No, the cardinal rule is not to offend readers for unintended reasons. Out of miscommunication, not mis-conviction. When the villagers show up with pitchforks, your job is to make sure their fury is burning for the right white-hot motives.

In other words: You owe readers a sincere apology for your lack of clarity regarding your infamous chimp cartoon, because clarity of message is Job One. And when you haven't accomplished that -- yet your newspaper offers only an extremely qualified partial apology -- Job Two becomes: Be a bigger person than those who drafted your newspaper's apology.
[UPDATE--THIS JUST IN: Owner Rupert Murdoch is now apologizing for the cartoon, too -- a response that jibes with more than half the respondents in the Comic Riffs poll over the weekend, as well as the roughly 5,000 of you who characterized the cartoon as racist. (Were Murdoch's moles checking in?) So now this step of personal apology, Mr. Delonas, has just been made easier.]

In saying this, of course, I am -- for the purposes of this advice -- choosing to take you at your word regarding your overt intent. Call it suspended benefit of the doubt. But when roughly 2 out of every 3 readers (depending on who's poll you care to point to) believes you intended to invoke President Obama, and you insist that interpretation is "friggin' ridiculous," then you yourself must admit that if nothing else, you've haven't done your job. Simply put: Don't hide behind a muddled metaphor.

Now, I also realize you might view such an apology as a sign of weakness, but consider it quite the opposite: It's a show of strength, of respect for your readers. Because for you, this isn't just about a single cartoon. This is about your career. This moment on the national stage -- and how you respond to it -- may well be how you're best remembered.

Your career, I might add, is noted for its frequency of cartoons that some call "downright tasteless." And that's coming from some commentators on your side of the political aisle -- folks who share your dim view of the stimulus bill. Yet I also know a fellow comics blogger who attended a book signing of yours and spoke fairly glowingly of you. And that gives me hope.

That book, co-created with your young son, delivered the morale: Be careful what you wish for. In failing to offer a bolder, noble apology than your newspaper's, Mr. Delonas, be careful what you reap. Every political cartoonist of any length of service sows some hate. But let that hate be based on the courage of your convictions, not the obfuscation of your opinions.

Your career is now forever checkered by an infamous chimp. But an apology would mean a few less folk would think you the unchangeable chump.

AND SPEAKING OF 'THAT TOON'...

Cartoonist/blogger Rob Tornoe (Cagle.com) has published his reaction to the chimp-toon controversy...



As has New York cartoonist Justin Bilicki:



Are you amused or angered by either of these cartoons? The floor is now yours.

By Michael Cavna  | February 24, 2009; 8:00 AM ET
Categories:  The Political Cartoon  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Lessons of a Fiery--and Fired--Cartoonist
Next: Mark Trail: One-Man Stimulus Plan

Comments

The first one takes a little head scratching, but I get the point. The second is downright HI-larious.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 24, 2009 11:48 AM | Report abuse

I don't agree with the killing in cartoon 2.
Just use a taser.

Posted by: edlharris | February 24, 2009 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Apologizing is a waste of time. Al Sharpton is not interested in apologies. He is only in it to keep his name and face in the news. He will hound this guy to the ends of the earth until he is either fired or quits.

In Sharpton's world nothing matters but his self-aggrandizement. Accepting apologies does not send the message that he is a man of significance.

Posted by: kcghost | February 24, 2009 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Well, for the first one, I stand by it, due to Mr. Holder stating himself, we are cowards when it comes to discussing race issues in this country. "Moving forward on Race", can't be done, especially if we haven't even dealt with the past.

As for the second, you can't compare a KKK klansmen and a chimpanzee, only because the chimpanzee has no prejudice.

I just find it hard to believe that a smart, college educated, articulate and along with the ethics of "true" jounalism, can't find it within his soul to step forward and simply state "it was tasteless" but not intended to be racist and for those that are/were offended, my apologies.

You can not imagine the response-

Thanks

Posted by: weaverf | February 24, 2009 1:06 PM | Report abuse

As a rabid liberal who hated Bush with a passion, loves Obama and everything he stands for, and a former cartoonist who understands sensitivity about racial matters, and who thought the New Yorker cover of the Obamas-as-terrorists lacked context of the joke, I'm having a hard time getting worked up about the Post cartoon. I mean, for years, there were all sorts of "bush vs. chimp" photo montages (http://www.bushorchimp.com/ for example) that had no racial connotations to them. And there was nothing in this cartoon to imply the chimp was a representation of Obama. Why is comparing Bush to a chimp perfectly fine, but a cartoon saying that the stimulus plan was ill-written (which I don't agree with at all, but I understood the point of the cartoon) has deep racial undercurrents? Perhaps I'm not sensitive enough to this issue, but perhaps others are WAY WAY over-sensitive?

Posted by: Dr_Bob | February 24, 2009 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Cavna - It seems like you're just trying to whip up racial sentiments. I fail to understand how you can say that the cartoon with the chimp was rascist, given that President Obama did not write the stimulus bill. Ms. Pelosi and Mr. Reed did.

The inference you and others are drawing - that the chimp was intended to represent Mr. Obama - is completely illogical in the context of the cartoon. If Mr. Obama had written the bill, the inference would be arguably reasonable. But he did not, and therefore the chimp cannot have been intended to represent Mr. Obama. Clearly the chimp was intended to represent the legislators who wrote the bill.

This whole debate is friggin' ridiculous.

Posted by: JOHNSMOST | February 24, 2009 1:50 PM | Report abuse

I just read this piece over at the New York Times....Murdoch apologized for the comic. You can view it on their website. An interesting note, though, is while he admits to being the person solely responsible for letting pieces go to print, he never once says "He" made the mistake - rather, "We" (the entire Post) made the mistake.

The master of owning up to it/passing the buck!

Posted by: mattbonaguide | February 24, 2009 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Until we learn to bypass these non issues due to racial oversensitivity, we will never be able to discuss the real issues of racism.

Posted by: smirkman | February 24, 2009 2:00 PM | Report abuse

I agree with Ed Harris.

Posted by: SarahBB | February 24, 2009 2:12 PM | Report abuse

I just wish Bilicki had somehow credited me! Oh, well, I ripped off Delonas, so fair is fair...
http://jumpersbloghouse.blogspot.com/2009/02/turnabout-is-fair-play.html

Posted by: Jumper1 | February 24, 2009 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Jumper 1 -

Who are you? What did you do that Bilicki should credit? How did you you rip off Delonas?

Your comment is way to cryptic to make any sense, except perhaps to those who know you.

-- John

Posted by: JOHNSMOST | February 24, 2009 2:25 PM | Report abuse

I’m not one who looks for racism under every rock. I’m very critical of such people, and this controversy demonstrates why. When we always accuse people of being racist, even under the most innocent and routine circumstances, when a genuinely racist issue like this cartoon comes up, no one will take us seriously.

While this cartoon is clearly racist, there are some people who are livid in their defense of this cartoonist. Personally, I don’t think many of these people are racist. I think they’re just tired of hearing people being accused of racism for even the most innocent slip of the tongue.

So I hope we learn something from this controversy about the downside of always crying wolf. This controversy should clearly demonstrate, as does the fairytale, that always crying wolf leaves us vulnerable when the wolf really does show up at our door.

Posted by: wattree | February 24, 2009 2:34 PM | Report abuse

The NY Post cartoon was so unfunny.
It was a lousy cartoon on any level.

Now the second cartoon above is FUNNY.

Posted by: mtobias1 | February 24, 2009 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Dear Wattree - You say the cartoon is "clearly rascist," but don't offer any reason why. The chimp cannot be President Obama because he didn't write the bill. No one needs to apologize. The fact that some people have thus far felt compelled to apologize is a sad testament to how many people in this country do look for rascism under every rock. When Sharpton cries "rascism," people should examine the charge with heightened scrutiny. The charge is completely illogical, given the context of the cartoon.

Posted by: JOHNSMOST | February 24, 2009 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Racist? Comparing the President? Huh? I believe that the congress wrote the stimulus bill - not President Obama. Why is it that the national socialists think the Monkey is referring to Obama? Now that is racist. I thought the cartoon referred to the monkeys in congress that wrote the so-called stimulus bill. Personally, I think the apology should be to the chimps because comparing the congress to a chimp insults not only chimps, in general, but other lower primates as well. The fact that chimps can't read either doesn't mean that we should insult lower primates by comparing them to the U.S. Congress. I demand an apology to all the lower primates.

Posted by: Darb | February 24, 2009 2:56 PM | Report abuse

This is what I don't get, why is this about Al Sharpton? Would this cartoon be any less offensive if Sharpton was dead?

I find it amazing that "anyone" would want to defend the NY Post on this, period.

I think the first cartoon is a diversion, again with Mr. Sharpton and the second is a reminder of what's wrong with some segments of America were hate is alive and well!

What's sad is that of all the smart people at the NY Post, this thing got published...or maybe that is exactly the point col Allen was trying to make...he's the editor and he will publish whatever he wants.

Posted by: magic3400 | February 24, 2009 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Dear Magic3400 -- You and so many others have commented that the cartoon is rascist, but none of you says why this is so. How can it be? The chimp represents the writer of the bill - that is, certain members of Congress, not Obama.

Does any cartoon with a chimp in it meet your definition of rascist? Are there any other animals that may not be depicted in cartoons, in your view of the world?

Posted by: JOHNSMOST | February 24, 2009 3:06 PM | Report abuse

I think that people tying the chimp to Obama says more about their jump to conclusions on race then it does about the writer.

America is cowards on race and people like Sharpton are the posterchildren. Perfect example in this thread about how intimidated people are by PC and how it has turned into its own racism campaign. OMG the 2nd cartoon is funny!

Posted by: Cryos | February 24, 2009 3:11 PM | Report abuse

We will never have MLK's colorblind society when people continue to inject race into everything they see. The cartoon is not racist. Sorry if some absurdly oversensitive people think any mention of a monkey is racist but we aren't responsible for your mental problems. Get therapy and stop reading into things that aren't there.

Posted by: darkknight0072004 | February 24, 2009 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Until we learn to bypass these non issues due to racial oversensitivity, we will never be able to discuss the real issues of racism.

Posted by: smirkman | February 24, 2009 2:00 PM
==============
Exactly. When you have the president of the United States in his campaign pre-emptively accusing anyone not voting for him doing so out of racism you know the country has taken steps backwards not forwards in regards to race.

ACKNOWLEDGE THE PAST AND MOVE ON DON'T DWELL ON THE PAST. If we continue endorsing "reverse racism" we just show we're every bit as ignorant as every civilization in past history. All of our ancestors have likely been slaves at one time or another. Grow up and move on and actually show that the HUMAN RACE can learn something from history and isn't doomed to repeat it over and over and over and over.

Posted by: Cryos | February 24, 2009 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Dear JOHNSMOST-
With all respect, the claim that the chimp is Nancy Pelosi or Harry Reid really doesn't make sense. No one looking at that dead chimp would think that it represents a nearly 70-year old white woman. And who would think of Harry Reid when there is an African American in the White House; Africans and African Americans have historically been symbolized as apes by many in this country, especially those partial to Fox News and the Post; and Fox/Rush/BillO, etc., were calling this Obama's stimulus bill non-stop? Surely this won't convince you, but I hope that you see that your logic about Harry Reid or Nancy Pelosi is certainly more of a stretch.

Posted by: joelindley | February 24, 2009 3:15 PM | Report abuse

This incident is just one more example of the insanity that is inevitable when there are no standards to guide opinion other than the self-determined "enlightenment" of the moment.

"Acceptable" then becomes whatever the the current perception of the masses is, as manipulated by the same forces determined to keep even would-be satirists from exercising the freedom and courage to express a view they don't approve of.

The term "journalism" is dead in terms of it's former purpose of a commitment to honesty and objectivity. It has been redefined and is now nothing more than a tool of the Liberal/Socialist movement, just has the "Documentary" film genre.

Posted by: PsychosisRules | February 24, 2009 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Why would anyone suppose that a chimp represents a black person? And if it does, why is that offensive? After all, no one complains if a white person is called a monkey, so why would blacks complain? I don't get it. Why is it so offensive?

Posted by: tylerkent | February 24, 2009 3:20 PM | Report abuse

Dear JOHNSMOST-
With all respect, the claim that the chimp is Nancy Pelosi or Harry Reid really doesn't make sense. No one looking at that dead chimp would think that it represents a nearly 70-year old white woman.
=========================
Some people don't look for visual comparisons with everything it is rather a comparison to the "monkeys in congress." Obviously you are looking for a race issue first.

I suppose Bill Clinton saying "fairy tale" was racist too right? If so I have two words; grow up.

Even if this was targeted at Obama why would it be any worse than all the Bush/chimp comparisons? Sorry I don't let a small pool of racists ruin the english language for me maybe you should learn to do the same.

Posted by: Cryos | February 24, 2009 3:22 PM | Report abuse

The term "journalism" is dead in terms of it's former purpose of a commitment to honesty and objectivity. It has been redefined and is now nothing more than a tool of the Liberal/Socialist movement, just has the "Documentary" film genre.

Posted by: PsychosisRules | February 24, 2009 3:16 PM
=====================
Yep agreed. If there was any doubt in this the 2008 election was the final nail in the coffin.

Mainstream american media lost all credibility in the 2008 elections.

Posted by: Cryos | February 24, 2009 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Whatever one's opinion of the racial intent and content of the cartoon, it was in pointless, poor taste. That dead chimp was involved in two horrendous tragedies -- the maiming of an innocent women, and the animal's own unnecessary death. There's no possible context in which the dead chimp could be seen as humorous or symbolic.

Posted by: jackson251 | February 24, 2009 3:24 PM | Report abuse

At the Presidents Inagugural a racist black man posing as a Reverend can spew racist hatred at whites and that is A OK. But, a cartoonist makes a racist (and yes it's obviously racist) cartoon and it's the end of the world.

What a joke all these Liberals are.

Posted by: Tom22 | February 24, 2009 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Do you think that he is relly sorry, Hell to the No he is not, he goes after anybody no matter how the other erson fells , he has no feeling for other people, and the |Post should have known better than to let him publish such a article, and articles like this, The Post and him knew what they were doing, and it's Not Going to stop.
Like committing a crime the only thing that they are sorry for is getting caught.

Posted by: onesugar1 | February 24, 2009 3:29 PM | Report abuse

President Obama is in charge, and he doesn't need Al Sharpton or any other hypocrites running interference for him.
Too bad the critics of the cartoon that so offended Post readers didn't look closely: the dead chimp was female, not male. It depicted Nancy Pelosi, who wrote the stimulus package, not our President, who is an alpha male. He delegates drudge work to dimwits!
As long as President Bush was depicted as a monkey, it was OK. Perhaps Post cartoonists must adopt a symbol, like Doonesbury's feather, to sooth placate black racists struggling with their inferiority complexes. I suggest a bowl of grits. Grits goes with everything.

Posted by: cccoughlin | February 24, 2009 3:30 PM | Report abuse

The term "journalism" is dead in terms of it's former purpose of a commitment to honesty and objectivity. It has been redefined and is now nothing more than a tool of the Liberal/Socialist movement, just has the "Documentary" film genre.

Posted by: PsychosisRules | February 24, 2009 3:16 PM

I agree 100%. Even though I think the cartoon was racist I think that's nothing compared to the Attorney General calling us a "nation of cowards" and Obama's latest Racist Reverend at the inauguration spewing racism at Whites. The liberals are such hypocrites - they don't complain about that - but pounce on a cartoonist.

Posted by: Tom22 | February 24, 2009 3:30 PM | Report abuse

What the folks who claim the cartoon is not racist are missing is the HISTORY. The NY Post has a history of this type of nonsense. The opposition to Obama has a history of it as well, with their Curious George T-shirts and Obama waffles. Add to this, the history of this country and I don't think its a stretch to find racism in the cartoon. Considering all this history, at the very least the cartoon is a stupid, inappropriate gaffe, at the very worst it is racist garbage. Considering, we now have our first black leader, when referencing Pesident Obama or the congress or whomever was the intended party, the cartoonist and the editors of the Post should have considered history and known better. Thus, they need to apologize for being stupid, racist or both. Personally, I'm inclined to believe its both.

Posted by: brock2005 | February 24, 2009 3:34 PM | Report abuse

I thought when I saw it that the monkey represented congress gone wild, like the chimp did. My wife when I showed it to her saw it as racist. but she is not so up on things as I am. She sees Obama as the 'head' so it's his bill. Sharpton, in my opinion, is playing one ignorance against another.

Posted by: poliltimmy | February 24, 2009 3:37 PM | Report abuse

lol this issue is dead on arrival, nice try muckrakers, but cartoonists have been portraying BUSH as a CHIMP for years. (example below). To draw distinctions between one president and another based on race....IS racist. Cartoonist carrying on in the president/idiotic chimp tradition? not racist. guy writing article trying to point out skin colors: RACIST. good night nurse :)

http://www.cartoonstock.com/newscartoons/cartoonists/kni/lowres/knin305l.jpg

Posted by: Metallicatz2795 | February 24, 2009 3:38 PM | Report abuse

I agree, jackson251. I think that the lack of judgment the cartoonist showed in using that horrible story to make his point was what initially made me wonder about him and what he was getting at.

Obama presented the legislation to Congress, so he is the original author. A search on "Obama's stimulus" turns up 2,000,000 hits. "Pelosi's stimulus" 25,000. "Congress' stimulus" 60,000. And we also know that 3 presidents have been assassinated in this country, along with a Presidential candidate and a very prominent civil rights activist. The fact that comparing black Americans to primates is a long-used racial slur can't be seriously debated. So all the pieces are certainly there.

But even with all that, I think what really convinces me he is not the political satirist he claims to be is that picking that incident to illustrate whatever point he was making was just creepy.

Posted by: DCDenizen2 | February 24, 2009 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Everyone knows: the stimulus plan was Obama's baby. Everyone also knows: that "monkey" has been a racialized term for decades.

The public outcry on this is not the story. The story is that a cartoonist for a major paper was bold enough to create a cartoon with obvious racial overtones.

An assassinated monkey? You are telling me you don't see any connection??

This man should be fired. Not just because the cartoon is offensive. But because it is garbage.

Posted by: Polemarch | February 24, 2009 3:44 PM | Report abuse

I just want to know when black folks are going to stop thinking of themselves as monkeys?

Posted by: Ogman | February 24, 2009 3:48 PM | Report abuse

President Obama is in charge, and he doesn't need Al Sharpton or any other hypocrite running interference for him.
Too bad the critics of the cartoon that so offended Post readers didn't look closely: the dead chimp was female, not male. It depicted Nancy Pelosi, who wrote the stimulus package, not our President, who is an alpha male. He delegates drudge work to dimwits!
As long as President Bush was depicted as a monkey, it was OK. Perhaps Post cartoonists must adopt a symbol, like Doonesbury's feather, to placate black racists struggling with their inferiority complexes. I suggest a bowl of grits. Grits goes with everything.

Posted by: cccoughlin | February 24, 2009 3:49 PM | Report abuse

You know, one of the biggest problems with this country is that we all have forgotten how to laugh at ourselves. What a shame.

Posted by: BubbaRight | February 24, 2009 3:50 PM | Report abuse

I'm a black, liberal Democrat raised in Georgia. I voted for Obama and attended the inauguration. I even attended a couple of Louis Farrakhan speeches during my college days. And yet, I can't see how anyone who (1) saw the news story about the evil chimp, and (2) knows that the President didn't write the stimulus bill (or any other bill, hello?), could reasonably think the cartoonist intended the chimp to represent Obama. To believe that, you also have to believe that he really intended to make a cartoon depicting the President, portrayed as a monkey, being assassinated. And to believe that, you have to believe the guy is straight out of the Aryan Brotherhood, AND that his editors are too. Sorry, I just don't get it.

Posted by: windu111 | February 24, 2009 4:02 PM | Report abuse

This is a good example for the argument to combine American and African American history. African American history (which is huge untold part of American history) should not be an elective. The history of African Americans have played a major role in shaping the direction (not to mention assistance in literally building) this country in the early, critical, and fragile stages of existence. This would also take care of the famous I didn't know, wasn't aware, and had no idea response (traditional generic responses). There is a lot more to African American history than the snippet that is part of the mandatory American history class. Although African American history is a very in-depth subject, they need to at least consider updating/amending the inadequate information currently being taught in American history classes at the high school level.

Posted by: Lynn18 | February 24, 2009 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Nancy Pelosi, in a mean-spirited display of partisanship, proclaimed "we won the election, we wrote the [stimulus] bill." So there can be no doubt that Congress, and not Obama, wrote the bill. While the president certainly has the constitutional authority to submit proposed legislation to Congress, as he does every year with the federal budget, this is not one of those instances. In fact, it is the press which has in many instances inaccurately portrayed the stimulus bill as "Obama's," which I assume is because, in order for it to become law, Obama would have to sign it, and because he clearly supported it. But he did not write it. And Obama was criticized for publically touting the bill without divulging, if he even knew it, just how much pork was contained in the original house bill. Why the criticism if Obama had any hand in the drafting of the bill. Calling it Obama's is akin to how the press would say "Obama ran a masterful fundraising campaign." He got credit for it because, of course, he's the front man for the campaign. But he was out on the campaign trail, month after month. He wasn't running the fundraising, or any of the complex logistical efforts that made the campaign a success. Other people in the organization did that. But Obama got credit in the distorted presentations of the press. The monkey is "Congress gone wild, like the chimp did," as poliltimmy has pointed out.

Posted by: JOHNSMOST | February 24, 2009 4:20 PM | Report abuse

This cartoonist must go! Today! Why is a major newspaper still carrying him on their payroll? He stinks to high heavens. Is he a Republican? They LOVE to hate. I am disgusted with so-called literate, educated folk behaving in a fashion that's borderline insane. Why would this cartoonist create a cartoon attempting to defame someone? Because it is exactly how he feels. It is the way he was brought up. And, he sees nothing wrong with it. I bet he was born in a foreign country and raised here. Black Americans are a very intelligent group and they see where they are not being defended. The newspaper where this cartoonist is employed has sided with him. Intelligent Readers out there. Please take note of this! Shame, Shame, Shame!

Posted by: periodot | February 24, 2009 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Ogman, you're the monkey! And, thanks for letting us know!

Posted by: periodot | February 24, 2009 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Africans and African Americans have historically been symbolized as apes by many in this country, especially those partial to Fox News and the Post; and Fox/Rush/BillO, etc.,
Posted by: joelindley |
------------
Huh? The only metaphors I've seen recently about apes is the comparison of Bush to one. If you want proof just look at any number of posts in the WaPo comment sections and search for the word "chimpy".

Where is your proof, sir, that those partial to Fox, etc. consider African Americans apes? I mean where in the hell do you come off suggesting something like that? Proof, please?

Posted by: RambleOn | February 24, 2009 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Dear JOHNSMOST-
Cartoonists are into caricature. That's their stock in trade. Does the monkey look at all feminine, like Nancy Pelosi? Not one bit. Does it look at all like Harry Reid, e.g., a pasty white guy wearing glasses? Nope. Have Africans or African Americans been drawn as apes before? What do you think?

Posted by: joelindley | February 24, 2009 4:34 PM | Report abuse

Holder is right. This is a nation of cowards on race. The naysayers who insist that the chimp is not Obama are childishly and deliberately simplistic. They are willfully ignoring the concept of metaphors.

A donkey is not a Democrat, but if an editorial cartoonist draws a donkey or an elephant, we immediately know what he is referring to. If we see a drawing of an old man with a long white goatee, wearing a striped red/white/blue tuxedo and a tophat, we know it represents America, and it is not meant to literally represent simply an old man in a funny suit.

These nay-saying racists are deliberately ignoring the late 19th and early-mid 20th century practices of using grotesque images to represent black people. One of those leading negative images was simian in nature.

...

Posted by: osmor | February 24, 2009 4:42 PM | Report abuse

I don't think Murdoch owed an apology.

I think there's some savy politicians who represent lower class blacks who know they can score points with the folks back home by waving the bloody red shirt of racism.

I don't think there are very many white people who equate apes with black people.

I think there are still too many black people who either think most whites think of them as sub-human, or who themselves have an inferioruty complex and take any allusion to monkeys as a personal insult.

I think we've got a bunch of monkeys in Washington who make what that chimp did look sensible.

Posted by: johnnybgoode1 | February 24, 2009 4:45 PM | Report abuse

It goes back to the Copperheads calling the President "Ape Lincoln." But of course, if you are right - you can say anything and it is OK. So it was O to call President Bush a monkey. The poor cartoonist did not get the word that it was not OK for President Obama. But people working to deadlines have to take chances.

Posted by: gary4books | February 24, 2009 4:50 PM | Report abuse

"The liberals are such hypocrites - they don't complain about that - but pounce on a cartoonist."
Posted by: Tom22

Newsflash, poster: Free speech works BOTH ways. The Post can run whatever cartoon it wishes -- but if there's fallout, there's fallout. That goes for the WaPo, Al Sharpton, Rush Limbaugh, etc.
It's called democracy, get it?

Posted by: vegasgirl1 | February 24, 2009 4:51 PM | Report abuse

This entire thing is absurd. Had the chimp been intended to represent Obama, the cartoon would essentially have been a letter of resignation.

And the claim that the cartoonist is responsible because of his "lack of clarity" is ridiculous. Political cartoons are frequently ambiguous to some extent.

What's even worse is that practically NO ONE in the media really believes the cartoon was racially motivated, and yet they are allowing him to be sacrificed.

Posted by: timpac | February 24, 2009 5:09 PM | Report abuse

Exactly timpac.

That doesn't stop some polititians who represent some in the black community from saying "Hey, whitie's calling us monkeys!". The fact that this tactic seems to play so well is evidence (yeah, I know I really like that word) of where the last great bastions of racism in America lie.

Posted by: johnnybgoode1 | February 24, 2009 5:16 PM | Report abuse

While the cartoon may not have had the intent to appear racist, common sense should have told the Post that there was a risk of offending people. This is sort of like Mayor Williams' deputy several years ago who used the word "niggardly" during a speech to several black people. Sure, the word "niggardly" has nothing to do with race, but common sense should tell a white person not to say the word "niggardly" around a group of black people who may not know the meaning of the word.

Posted by: mrbookman_2000 | February 24, 2009 5:20 PM | Report abuse

Dear Joelindley -

I don't think the chimp looks any more like Pelosi than it looks like Obama. But you seem to be saying that the chimp can't represent Pelosi and Reed because it doesn't look like them, and to make your point, you criticize Reed's "pasty white" looks which, of course, are characteristics of his Caucasian race.

So, if the chimp can't be Reid and Pelosi, because in your view it doesn't look like them, then are you saying it therefore must represent Obama? If so, why? Certainly not because of authorship of the stimulus bill.

Apparently visual similarity is the only satirical technique you recognize. What about behavioral similarity? Could not a spastic chimp that went haywire represent a spastic House that passed an irresponsible stimulus package, loaded with pork, that the Senate had to rein in? That was the point of the cartoon.

As long as the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution remains on the books, I hope cartoonists will always be able to depict chimps as a form of political expression, free from absurd accusations of rascism.

Posted by: JOHNSMOST | February 24, 2009 5:28 PM | Report abuse

There are very good reasons why they are called "loony":

Remember how hysterically violent muslims got about cartoons of their Mohammed?

Same thing happens with the loony-left liberals and cartoons of their Messiah.

Lighten-up, loonies.

Posted by: LoonyLeft | February 24, 2009 5:54 PM | Report abuse

It's not being "loony". It's calling out all you racist bazturds who keep insisting that a simian caricature is not Obama.

Keep on making fools of yourselves. Your party leaders already did and you are now witnessing the results. The Repub party is going down the drain, fast becoming the last bastion of Southern, redneck xenophobes. Thoughtful conservatives have abandoned the party in its' current form and may not come back if ya'll keep on business as usual, and not seeing the writing on the wall.

Put that in your sock and smell it!!

....

Posted by: osmor | February 24, 2009 7:34 PM | Report abuse

Cavna is right that Delonas owes an apology if his cartoon "lacks clarity." But does it? Absolutely not. The chimp obviously refers to the writers of the stimulus bill, not Obama.

To apologize now for drawing a cartoon the oh-so-righteous race bean counters deem a sinful effort would be to capitulate to the worst kind of high-minded, stupid political correctness. Don't make Murdoch's mistake, Sean. You don't owe anybody an apology.

Posted by: Carl16 | February 24, 2009 8:26 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2011 The Washington Post Company