A Tosa resident since 1991, Christine walks the dog, cooks but avoids housework, writes and reads, and enjoys the company of friends and strangers. Her job takes her around the state, learning about people's health. A Quaker (no, they don't wear blue hats or sell oatmeal or motor oil), she has been known to stand on both sides of the political and philosophic fence at the same time, which is very uncomfortable when you think about it. She writes about pretty much whatever stops in to visit her busy mind at the moment. One reader described her as "incredibly opinionated but not judgmental." That sounds like a good thing to strive for!
Wednesday the New York Post published a cartoon that's drawing lots of outrage. From the Reverend Al Sharpton to the Huffington Post, people are saying that portraying President Obama as a chimpanzee, and an assassinated one at that, is ugly and racist.
The cartoon follows. But in case you've been in a no-news lock-down (and really, that's a good idea), you've heard the story of Travis, chimp resident of toney Stamford, Connecticut, who went berserk over his owner's friend's new hair style and attempted to remove it. Police officers shot Travis to end his rampage, which was a lot more serious than I made it sound.
I'm not going to comment on the race element or the "Beware the Dog" sign on the light post. I'm not going to mention the chilling reminder that there are people out there who long to see a bullet--or in this case, bullets--in our elected leader. But I'll comment on the cartoon in general: it's just not a good political cartoon.
A good political cartoon comes so close to a recognizable truth that we wince while we laugh. The only thing recognizable here is the longing of some for authority figures to get rid of perceived threats. And that's way too esoteric for a rag like the Post.
This cartoon might have worked if Obama had been, say, an Arnold Schwartznegger sort. Beefy and strong physically, and sort of vigorous in mucking about with the political machinery of his state. But Obama is a slender, graceful man. He's deliberate and thoughtful. Whatever you think about him or the stimulus plan, for that matter, he's just not a chattering, overweight, foaming-at-the-mouth maniac.
In an era when papers are getting rid of political cartoonists right and left -- in Milwaukee, we've lost the fine Stuart Carlson -- it's sort of odd that mediocre ones survive. Here's an example of Carlson's work, which we used to enjoy regularly in the Journal Sentinel:
But these days, I guess you just need to appeal to the lowest impulse: hate, not thought.