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Posted at 11:10 AM ET, 01/31/2010

READER PUZZLE: Why is a nude Obama ogling an iPad?

By Michael Cavna

Perhaps it's because I don't speak Romanian. Or Aramaic. Or Sssnake.

Whatever the reason, I confess: I absolutely do not get this cartoon by
Romanian cartoonist Pavel Constantin. And I make a professional living out of "getting" cartoons -- even the wildly miscalculating ones.

The Constantin cartoon quite obviously combines two of the bigger news stories of last week -- in that, the artist had a wealth of journalistic company. Indeed, there was plenty of temptation to be found in the creatively fruitful merging of President Obama's State of the Union address and Apple commander-in-chief Steve Jobs's State of the iPad address. And setting the exploits of Apple in the Garden of Eden is far from a fresh metaphorical tactic.

But this? Comic Riffs is the dim dummy here, so please help us translate.

Let's see: Obama, as "Adam," is being tempted into partaking of the forbidden fruit that is the Apple (iPad). But then who is the Serpent supposed to be: Steve Jobs? Technology? Corporate America -- which might make tenuous sense if Obama had supported the Supreme Court's recent relevant decision in his SOTU. (Never mind, by the way, that the figures are fig-leafed apparently prior to the First Shame; artistically, it's either that or the more common Strategic Placement Behind the Topiary.)

Or, if we don't know who the Hades the Serpent is, then at least: Who's "Eve" in this little scenario. (Clearly not the first lady.) Who is the technological "temptress" in Constantin's garden of good and Apple. (At least it's mildly amusing that she appears to be checking Obama out, haha.)

We can hear some of you say: You're trying too hard, looking too deeply -- it's just a simple cartoon. Fine. But then help me with this, before I cast out this cartoon forever: What does it mean on the most elemental of cartoon-metaphor levels? Bottom line: What is the cartoon trying to say? Because I ain't exactly bustin' a rib with laughter over here.

Now, if the object of Obama's techno-fruited temptation were a BlackBerry, I wouldn't be in this paradise lost and stymied. But Apple? If you can, 'Riffs reader, please help heal the mentally lame. Namely, me. And when you do: Thanks for helping me look upon this cartoon and see that it was good.

pavel.jpg Pavel Constantin / Romania /

By Michael Cavna  | January 31, 2010; 11:10 AM ET
Categories:  The Political Cartoon  | Tags:  Apple iPad, Barack Obama, Pavel Constantin  
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(shaking and scratching my head) of the two of them, only "Eve" would have need for a pad.

Posted by: jimbo1949 | January 31, 2010 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Maybe Constantin drew Adam as Obama because in Romania they've forgotten what Al Gore looks like?

Posted by: seismic-2 | January 31, 2010 3:33 PM | Report abuse

HahaHA -- now *those* two jokes, I get...


Posted by: cavnam | January 31, 2010 3:44 PM | Report abuse

I agree that the biggest tech news of the week would be Apple's iPad device, but I think the cartoon is showing Apple's stand-alone desktop computer - the iMac. Beyond that, this is very puzzling. Obama is lusting after the success of Apple's marketing genius? (and plans to take them over?) Who is this 'Eve'? Is she upset that his thoughts are for the device and not her? Wow, this one makes no sense.

Posted by: WTM1950 | January 31, 2010 4:18 PM | Report abuse

anything related to this cartoon would be stretch...

The point is that Obama is easily distracted from what he says is his first priority (Jobs, Jobs, Jobs) and easily seduced by the newest of the shiny new objects (health care reform, peace in the Middle East, Georgetown basketball, whatever).

Posted by: soccermutha | January 31, 2010 5:13 PM | Report abuse

>> soccermutha:

That reading is a thing of beauty.


Posted by: cavnam | January 31, 2010 6:44 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps it's a comment on him wanting internet access in the Oval Office. By the way, that's a cartoon drawing of an iMac, not an iPad, Note the black border and the stand. The dimensions don't work for an iPad.


Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | January 31, 2010 7:07 PM | Report abuse

I thought that was an iMac, too, yet Constantin had filed this cartoon under "iPad Cartoons" online. Hm. Perhaps it's a real baffler because: Pavel is just "repurposing"...


Posted by: cavnam | January 31, 2010 7:15 PM | Report abuse

Hmm… now I'M confused. Speaking of funny images, there's one out there with Jobs and an iPad that consists of 4 iPhones taped together.


Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | January 31, 2010 10:34 PM | Report abuse

Hehehe. You're probably referring to the same one that I found very funny, too:


Posted by: cavnam | February 1, 2010 12:40 AM | Report abuse

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