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February 18, 2009

Killing That Little Monkey

Delonas NYPost Kill Monkey.jpg
1. The buck(shot) stops here?

Well obviously it likens Obama to a monkey, playing on a long-standing African-American racist slur.

2. The cartoon is tying three things together (a real dying economy, a real monkey that ran amok in Connecticut the other day, and the racist stereotype of animalistic tendencies in blacks) to anticipate a recession-driven increase in crime and the need (paging Giuliani!) for some good old right-wing law-and-order. Yeah, two white cops. (Of course, this would have nothing to do with Eric Holder taking over the Justice Department and, among other things, bringing a critical eye to the prison-industrial complex, or more simply, the incarceration of black males for minor drug offenses.) …Economy in meltdown (perpetrated by white guys on Wall Street)? Play the fear card

3. What we have here, on the part of the NY Post, is a repeat of what Hillary Clinton did late in the primaries. Frustrated the contest was slipping away, she drew a connection between Obama’s nomination and the assassination of Robert Kennedy. (See BNN’s: Killing The Electricity.) In that case, she was trolling for votes by way of the scare tactic that Obama’s charisma, paired with his race, made him a less likely bet in terms of his “durability.” In this case, The Post is flat out playing on hate, taking aim at Obama (and blacks in general, as the monkey is black) by way of GOP hostility to the stimulus bill.

4. To the extent Bush was widely and broadly identified with the chimp (1, 2, 3, etc.), not to mention the historic destruction of the American economy, one very insidious thing the image does — in proposing/swapping Obama for The Chimpster — is to start to unravel the association
.
And then, I’m sure the readership has a lot more to say…
.

(h/t: Curt) (edited out one point – 11:33 pm)

(cartoon: Delonas for Wednesday February 18, 2009. NY Post)

  • Annie Oakley

    Frustrated that the politics weren’t going her way, she drew a connection between Obama’s nomination and the assassination of Robert Kennedy.
    That’s bullshit. Hillary cited history because ppl were trying to get her to pull out of the race prematurely. The racist bend was pushed by the Obama camp that sent out memos to journalists nationwide.
    Now THIS cartoon is really racist. It horrifies me and I’m glad people are outraged.
    But leave Hillary alone. She and Bill were never racists. The race card was used by the Obama camp repeatedly to silence and detract from threats and critics.

  • Annie Oakley

    correction, typo: racist bent

  • http://motherrr.blogspot.com mcmama

    I thought the image was incredibly tone-deaf if not outright racist. Idiots.

  • stevelaudig

    a lynching would be a bit more traditional. How did they miss using that image?

  • stevelaudig

    oh right…. that image is saved for the Clarence Thomas’s of the world

  • HtH

    this has been driving me crazy all day, especially seeing it on so many sites that i regularly read and almost always agree with. this is ridiculous. If the Chimp is supposed to be Obama, then Obama was calling Palin a pig whenhe used his lipstickon a pig line. Both are equally absurd.

  • http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2009/02/08/opinion/08richlarge.jpg yg

    i didn’t know giuliani was a cartoonist. idiot misses the irony that the stimulus bill included grants to help prevent cops from getting laid off.
    remember the guy who went on a shooting spree after reading “100 liberals who screwed up america”? this is yet another dangerous provocation.

  • http://www.errolmorris.com/content/interview/stopsmiling0306.html yg

    this was about the same time frame when hillary presented herself as the champion of “hard working white americans.”
    you don’t have to be racist to attempt to opportunisticly exploit other people’s racism for personal gain.

  • tanker t

    this is more about the conservative worldview then racism. they really think that people hate the stimulus bill and view it as an abomination and a disaster. thus the cartoonist thinks people will get the joke that this thing must’ve been written by a crazed chimp. get it? of course not, because the vast majority of people view the stimulus bill as at least a mainstream idea, if not perfect. to most of us, the joke doesn’t make sense, so we immediately assume the chimp is obama. i think this just shows that the cartoonist failed utterly because he’s a biased wingnust and sucks at his job, no that he’s racist

  • Quincy Scott

    This is nitpicking, but chimps are apes, not monkeys.
    That aside, I am amazed that this cartoon was drawn (poorly) by the artist, submitted to an editor, checked by numerous other people along the way. None of them had a problem with this? Either they are, all of them, clueless about the implications of an ape writing the bill, which I find nearly impossible to believe unless the entire paper is run by twenty-year-olds, or all of them produced a racist cartoon not unlike something you might read in a newspaper printed in 1938.
    Incompetence, or villainy? Frankly, I’m not sure I even care which it is. Like W., if you are sincerely incompetent enough you become indistinguishable from a villain. Intentional or otherwise, this cartoon taps into American racism. It’s racist, and the Post should be called to task.

  • http://solarray.blogspot.com gmoke

    Monkeys typing Shakespeare?
    Advocating the assassination of a President?

  • Amy

    The cartoon is abominable. And I’m sure if it generated the sort of hysteria it deserves, Barack Obama would plead for calm. But it won’t generate the sort of hysteria it deserves because the big right-wing news outfits are not even reporting it!
    The fact that it is not currently linked on Drudge makes me furious.
    And did anyone catch the panel discussion on Anderson Cooper tonight with David Gergen and Ron Christie? It was unbelievable. David Gergen said the cartoon was “dripping with racism” and Ron Christie -African American Ron Christie- DEFENDED it!
    My god – does no one on the right have a CONSCIENCE?? Are NONE OF THEM bothered by the fact that have completely sold out their humanity for the sake of their sinking ship of a party?
    Here’s the simple truth: I hate these people. I know it’s not cool to say it, and I really don’t enjoy feeling it, but it’s the truth. I despise them. And I would like to be able to let this hatred dissipate and eventually grow to forgive them – but they WON’T STOP ACTING LIKE ASSHOLES LONG ENOUGH FOR THE PROCESS TO OCCUR!

  • Joe Thomas

    I’m kind of curious about the drawing of the cops. Why do they look like they’re shocked and maybe even disturbed by what they’ve just done? It’s tempting to chalk it up to the cartoonist not being very good, but I think what a commenter above said is partly true:
    “this is more about the conservative worldview then racism. they really think that people hate the stimulus bill and view it as an abomination and a disaster.”
    I think the racism is still pretty clear, but not necessarily right at the forefront of the brain; hence not having happy/satisfied/sadistic cops (as would be dictated by a conscious and intentional depiction of white cops protecting the innocent from the crazed black/ape menace). The racism is so subconscious that it’s possible to both demonstrate it and (apparently) contradict it.

  • d

    I agree with Tanker that it’s more about the conservative worldview then overt racism. (and with Joe that there’s more percolating up from the conservative subconscious.) And I agree with Amy’s fury in a more general sense.
    But even if this cartoon WERE about overt racism, I would offer a different context, that might be helpful.
    I study racist imagery, and especially racist imagery of blacks, for a living. (yes, I’m really fun at parties, let me tell you…)
    The thing that makes racist imagery, whether cartoons, advertising, film, whatever, so incredibly damaging is the power imbalance behind it. It serves as a cultural mechanism for enforcing/policing social inequalities. For centuries, racist stereotypes and caricatures were circulated through white-owned media to white audiences–but in full visibility of blacks–validating the racist system, making it seem natural and right. (“Why would you want to give negroes the vote? Didn’t you see last night’s minstrel show/episode of Starsky and Hutch? Blacks are all foolish.”) And when African-Americans are on the rise (as with Obama in the election), these racist ideas, images, and memes just flow out of the countless hidden nooks and crannies of our collective culture… undermining legitimacy through stereotyping, because that was one of the social roles that racist imagery filled, historically. (It’s also fun–for whites–because it conveys a public, pleasurable sense of power and entitlement.)
    But…
    President Obama is a whole different situation, and I encourage us all to really take that fact in. (because it’s so new.) He’s not an intelligent black man trying to get his foot in the door, fight of the nibbling rats of racism. He’s one of the single most powerful men in the world. He can have the staff of the New York Post rendited to the Balkans for “questioning.” (though, as a man of character, he would not.) He’s not in a position where a racist caricature can function in the same way. Quite frankly, he doesn’t need our outrage.
    I looked at this, and I didn’t see a powerful president laid low by a stupid cartoon. I saw a old, out of touch angry white guy who does not understand that the rules of the game have changed.
    To this pathetic cartoonist I have four words: enjoy your IRS audit.

  • Progressive Mom

    The Chimp is unarmed.
    What is the cartoonist saying — without realizing it — about two white NYC cops….?

  • cenoxo

    (Somebody needs to kill the runaway italics in this thread, not to mention the runaway speculation.)
    The runaway chimp is Washington politics as usual, and the dog in this fight is the Stimulus Bill itself. I’m surprised the cartoonist didn’t also include a pig to represent the pork.
    FWIW, NY Post Defends Cartoon, Slams Al Sharpton:

    The New York Post has issued a statement defending its stimulus/chimp cartoon and slamming Rev. Al Sharpton for protesting the piece.
    Here’s the full statement by Col Allan, editor-in-chief of the Post:
    “The cartoon is a clear parody of a current news event, to wit the shooting of a violent chimpanzee in Connecticut. It broadly mocks Washington’s efforts to revive the economy. Again, Al Sharpton reveals himself as nothing more than a publicity opportunist.”

    Hard to believe that even the NY Post — that bastion of propriety and intellectual thought — would let something like this through in today’s news environment if it referred to Obama.

  • bystander

    Cenoxo, I’m going to speculate that there is an unclosed italics tag at the end of Annie Oakley’s bent.
    I dunno, d … I think I’d probably find you fascinating at a party. Thanks for your insights.
    Stuff like this cartoon, the magic negro song, and other manifestations of race/class anxiety makes me think it’s going to be a very long 4-8 years. You almost hope that the people who find this amusing might get it out of their systems (individually or collectively) by the time Obama campaigns for his second term. I suspect that is pure, unsubstantiated optimism on my part.

  • http://alovelypromise.blogspot.com Nell

    this would have nothing to do with Eric Holder taking over the Justice Department and, among other things, bringing a critical eye to the prison-industrial complex, or more simply, the incarceration of black males for minor drug offenses.
    Could you cite any indication whatsoever (speech, article, press statement) that gives even the slightest hint that Holder or Obama have any intention of looking at the mass incarceration crisis and the drug sentences / mandatory minimums / legal aid shortages that fuel it?
    As far as I’m aware, the only member of the Congress or new administration other than a few members of the Congressional Black Caucus who’s said or done anything on the subject is Sen. Jim Webb.
    The subject is a political ‘third rail’ exactly because it generates doomsday screeching from fearful and racist whites of the kind shown in the disgusting cartoon above. I have no expectation whatsoever that Obama and Holder will address it in Obama’s first term.

  • http://someoldguy.wordpress.com/ Phil Sheehan

    d:
    Like bystander, I think you’re probably fascinating at a party. (Or maybe that tells you what kinds of parties I wind up at.) It’s a pleasure to find serious and thought-provoking observations buried at the bottom of the pile like this. You must post other places, or have your own site…?

  • Angellight

    The Republicans who refuse to take Recovery Money for their states and for their people, are like the “Grinch” who stole Christmas. The Party of No and endless negativity! They fail to see the great good the stimulus will accomplish but rather concentrate and speak on imaginary wrongs and evils, Invoking that old fear god, evil portents of tales which might never happen. Clearly, a death wish for them.

  • nightbird

    Excellent contribution to this discussion. There are few posts that make me perk up and pay attention because I might learn something. Thank you.

  • Jackmormon

    I don’t even understand what the cartoon was supposed to be about. Was the message anything other than “Obama is a primate, and I’d like to kill him”?

  • Susan

    bent bent

  • Ferry Fey

    It’s been pointed out elsewhere that on a street where the cars are parked in spaces (as these are), the customary sign would be “Curb your dog,” not “beware of dog.”
    Observe the ear formed by the smoke of the officer’s gun, and the unusual depiction of the wheel well. A clue that readers should listen to the message?

  • d

    Phil (and bystander),
    thanks for the kudos! I don’t post much on teh intertubes… I’m old skool media (finishing up a book), and only come post at BagNews when I’m procrastinating.
    (’cause this site is cool.)
    To bystander: I agree it’s going to be a long 8 years (I’m a realistic optimist) in some ways… but I think that the Republicans are in for a hard realization. They have their own commercialized echo chamber, of course. (Anyone go to the NY Post and notice how it links to all the other Murdoch papers, including, bizarrely, the WSJ ? And how none of these outlets carried the cartoon story?.)
    But hyper-aggressive rhetoric, coupled with defensive “how dare you call our racism racist!?” faux-outrage, can only get you so far when facing a popular populist. Obama’s the Democrat’s Reagan, and the Republicans, while they will fume–and in the process toss out many racist gems–are eventually going to have to come back to the table to get their share of the pie.
    It’s tough to sing your “magic negro” song, then have go to the White House the next day to beg for tax breaks for your corporate buddies.
    My guess is, fewer and fewer Republicans will be singing that song…

  • http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2008/10/23/fact-check-does-obama-oppose-mandatory-prison-sentences-for-violent-criminals-and-drug-dealers/ yg

    during the campaign, obama came out opposing mandatory minimums. from cnn factchecker:
    During a debate as a senatorial candidate in October 2003, Obama was asked whether he’d vote to abolish mandatory-minimum sentences. “I would vote to abolish mandatory minimum sentences,” he said. “One of the things that I’ve done in the state Senate has been to try to reform the capital justice system …, trying to make sure that our criminal justice system is in fact just. … (W)e need to do the same thing at the federal level; the mandatory minimums take too much discretion away from judges.” Obama did not specifically mention sex offenders, drug dealers and murderers.
    Speaking at Howard University in Washington, D.C., almost four years later, on September 28, 2007, Obama gave a more detailed answer to a similar question. “I think it’s time we also took a hard look at the wisdom of locking up some first-time, non-violent drug users for decades. Someone once said that ‘…long minimum sentences for first-time users may not be the best way to occupy jail space and-or heal people from their disease.’ That someone was George W. Bush — six years ago. I don’t say this very often, but I agree with the president. The difference is, he hasn’t done anything about it.” Obama said that, as president, he’d work to “reduce the blind and counterproductive warehousing of
    nonviolent offenders.”
    A page on Obama’s campaign Web site says he “will immediately review these sentences to see where we can be smarter on crime and reduce the ineffective warehousing of nonviolent offenders.” According to a CNN review, no direct votes on mandatory minimums have come before the Senate since Obama has been a member.
    Many judges and judges’ organizations are against mandatory-minimum sentences — saying they take away a judge’s ability to deal with cases that may have special circumstances. “This would require one-size-fits-all justice,” said U.S. District Judge Paul G. Cassell, chairman of the Criminal Law Committee of the Judicial Conference, the judicial branch’s policy-making body. He was speaking in June 2007, when the Bush administration was pushing to reinstate mandatory minimums after they’d been thrown out by the Supreme Court. “Judges are the ones who look the defendants in the eyes. They hear from the victims. They hear from the prosecutors,” Cassell said.

  • http://www.americablog.com/2009/02/anger-rises-over-ny-post-cartoon-that.html yg

    oh please, the post has a long history of being vile:
    from americablog:
    And after you read the “excuse” given by the newspaper’s editor for the dead monkey cartoon about Obama’s economic stimulus package, you really need to check out the same cartoonist’s other cartoons, including depicting gays as people who screw sheep, and a cartoon showing Al Qaeda celebrating the Democrats’ electoral victory in 2006. This guy really exemplifies what’s become of the conservative movement.

  • http://thinkonthesethings.wordpress.com/2007/06/13/obamas-voting-record-in-the-illinois-state-senate/ yg
  • http://www.errolmorris.com/content/interview/stopsmiling0306.html yg

    rising hegemon pointed out it spells “bewar.”
    the e is missing.
    be war?

  • http://reciprocity-failure.blogspot.com Stan B.

    Strike up another for Ignorance and Arrogance (what a great Republican slogan!). Just the most recent excuse (in a long history of such) to conveniently disguise a contemporary incident with the latest example of hate inspired imagery aimed at that most feared and reviled of all time American stereotypes.

  • Dusty

    “Lipstick on a pig” is a standard expression that lots of politicians, including John McCain, use. In context, Obama was referring to the McCain campaign’s efforts to rebrand themselves as agents of change, following up the “lipstick” bit with “You can wrap an old fish in a piece of paper called change. It’s still gonna stink.” Is McCain an “old fish”? Of course not.
    Portraying African-Americans as apes, chimps, monkeys is also a standard device that a lot of racists use. At the very least, it was thoughtless and utterly pointless to juxtapose the chimp story with the stimulus. It just doesn’t really make much of a point.

  • http://www.seajane.blogspot.com seajane

    The Bush / Chimp comparisons didn’t include settling politial disagreements with violence and death. This is getting scary.

  • g

    Closing tag?
    The violence of this is what disturbs me the most, I think. The puddle of blood, the bullet holes in this chimp’s body and the tongue lolling out. For some reason I am reminded of the Michael Ramirez cartoon that imitated the Viet Cong shooting, with Bush being the victim and (IIRC) the Democrats being the shooter. It depicts something that is patently taboo – the assisination of another (symbolic – only humans write legislation) human being, and the President to boot. I can’t think of another recent cartoon example of bloody, graphic human death – this is not the conventional “X’s for eyes” euphemism.
    The graphic violence ratchets up the offensiveness of an image that is already consistent with offensive racist stereotypes.

  • http://justbetweenstrangers.blogspot.com/ acm

    trying to see if I can close your italic… (that’s bleeding into all the other posts)

  • http://justbetweenstrangers.blogspot.com/ acm

    color me appropriately offended. however, had I seen the cartoon on a wall, I would have (1) been totally perplexed as to its intended meaning, and (2) have settled on the “10,000 monkeys at typewriters” explanation. however, it wasn’t that many years ago that somebody called in to mayoral-candidate Washington in Chicago to ask if he intended to swing from vines in the mayor’s mansion, so it’s probably just as crude as the readers here conclude.
    sigh.

  • Dusty

    I think there was a “beware” of dog sign in one of the videos I saw of the chimp attack. So the use of “beware” instead of “curb” is factual, although I don’t know what happened to the “e” in “beware.” And, obviously, the cartoonist could have left the sign out altogether.

  • http://www.correntewire.com lambert strether

    You write:

    Frustrated the contest was slipping away, [Hillary] drew a connection between Obama’s nomination and the assassination of Robert Kennedy.

    Carefully crafted though that statement may be, it’s not true — especially to anyone who paid attention during the campaign. If you can’t hear that from me, maybe you can hear it from Bob Somerby:
    http://www.dailyhowler.com/dh052708.shtml
    http://www.dailyhowler.com/dh052808.shtm
    http://www.dailyhowler.com/dh052908.shtml
    http://www.dailyhowler.com/dh053008.shtml

  • MS

    Don’t miss the DailyKos diary with more than 800 responses as to whether or not this image is ‘racist’ (in addition to being disgustingly insulting.
    It’s an interesting conversation!

  • http://www.errolmorris.com/content/interview/stopsmiling0306.html yg

    war dog?

  • http://www.correntewire.com vastleft

    Some things are at least as “obvious” as your interpretation of the cartoon.

  • cenoxo

    The NY Post’s latest explanation (or excuse, if you prefer) about That Cartoon:

    Wednesday’s Page Six cartoon – caricaturing Monday’s police shooting of a chimpanzee in Connecticut – has created considerable controversy.
    It shows two police officers standing over the chimp’s body: “They’ll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill,” one officer says.
    It was meant to mock an ineptly written federal stimulus bill.
    Period.
    But it has been taken as something else – as a depiction of President Obama, as a thinly veiled expression of racism.
    This most certainly was not its intent; to those who were offended by the image, we apologize.
    However, there are some in the media and in public life who have had differences with The Post in the past – and they see the incident as an opportunity for payback.
    To them, no apology is due.
    Sometimes a cartoon is just a cartoon – even as the opportunists seek to make it something else.

    Whatever the intent, the NYP couldn’t have bought a better eyeball-gathering opportunity, and that’s what the tabloid biz is all about. The National Enquirer must be green with envy.
    >> This guy really exemplifies what’s become of the conservative movement.
    Wait, I thought this guy did:

    We wouldn’t want anyone to feel left out, don’t cha know?

  • cenoxo

    Unlike the NYP’s Stimulus-as-chimp cartoon, there’s no ambiguity at all about the identity of Ramirez’ subject…

    …but remember that editorial cartoons are exaggerated political caricatures, not prophetic visions. We can see what the cartoonist is aiming at without pulling any real triggers.

  • http://www.correntewire.com lambert strether

    Since my original comment seems to have gotten lost, I’ll repost the substance of it:
    * * *
    The post says:

    Frustrated the contest was slipping away, [Hillary] drew a connection between Obama’s nomination and the assassination of Robert Kennedy.

    That’s not true, for anybody who followed the primaries. If you can’t hear that from me, then read Somerby.
    Frustrated the contest was slipping away, she drew a connection between Obama’s nomination and the assassination of Robert Kennedy.
    http://www.dailyhowler.com/dh052708.shtml
    http://www.dailyhowler.com/dh052808.shtml
    http://www.dailyhowler.com/dh052908.shtml
    http://www.dailyhowler.com/dh053008.shtml

  • yg

    a favored tactic by the right is to frame the aggressor as the victim. see the cops up above.

  • http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2009/02/08/opinion/08richlarge.jpg yg

    to quote another:
    Implying Obama is a monkey is racist. Implying Bush is a monkey is misunderestimation. There’s a difference.

  • http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2009/02/08/opinion/08richlarge.jpg yg

    i cut aravosis’ quote too short:
    The best argument they can make about how to proceed in the face of our economic crisis is a racist joke about the assassination of our first black president.

  • http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2009/02/08/opinion/08richlarge.jpg yg

    via buzzflash, if this what the cartoonist looks like?
    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2009/2/18/115424/882/790/698908
    (4 graphs down)

  • http://www.errolmorris.com/content/interview/stopsmiling0306.html yg

    where is their apology for equating gays to sheep effers?

    Whatever the intent, the NYP couldn’t have bought a better eyeball-gathering opportunity, and that’s what the tabloid biz is all about. The National Enquirer must be green with envy.

    uh huh, by that logic varying depths of depravity could be sanctioned because it attracted “eye balls.” in fact, the post should specialize in it and become known as the bigoted, racist tabloid. it’ll be a sure win business model.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/bagnews Michael Shaw (The BAG)

    I’m sorry about the italics-mania. Turns out I’m unable to edit comments using this new comment module, TypePad Connect, or else I would have gone in and closed that tag. I have a message in to Typepad about it. (For some reason, the thread looks fine with Safari.) Apologies, also, for my chimp/monkey confusion.
    If you’re a Corrente reader, by the way, I should add that I have not deleted any comments from the discussion thread and I didn’t intend to suggest Hillary was racist. Beyond saying that, I believe my analogy is valid.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/bagnews Michael Shaw (The BAG)

    Lambert,
    I understand my Hillary analogy has you and others upset. As mentioned below, however, I have not removed any comments from this thread as intimated in the discussion over at Corrente.

  • g

    There are scores of examples over a hundred or more years of US history of cartoons that show African Americans as apes or ape-like. The message was quite clearly racist then, and I would find it hard to believe that the author of this cartoon is so naive as he think his image wouldn’t be read as racists.

  • http://www.correntewire.com lambert strether

    Michael:
    Sorry I missed your note; I’m used to a flat stream of comments. I will correct my post in that regard (I’m going to delete the material, so it doesn’t show up in Google).
    To matters of substance:
    The remainder of your comment is off-point. Since I did not write that you claimed Hillary was racist, I don’t know what you’re responding to. I believe that the links to the Daily Howler that I supplied show your statement on the putative “connection” between Hillary and the RFK assassation is false, both on its own terms, and for what it implies for those who followed the primary. I can’t imagine why you would repeat it.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/bagnews Michael Shaw (The BAG)

    Lambert,
    In the larger scheme of things, my comment regarding Hillary is more than one step removed from the actual content of the image, which is where I (usually) bring the greatest value. I’ve been thinking that we have a more political than a factual difference here, but I will go through the links you’ve posted and re-read the thread here and at Corrente and contemplate it more deeply. Thanks for your thoughtfulness.

  • http://www.correntewire.com vastleft

    Michael, my apologies for my mistaken claim that our posts had been deleted. I refreshed a page, and our posts were no longer on it, so I took it that my post and Lambert’s had been removed, but I now realize it was my misunderstanding about how your comments system works.
    Your characterization that people are “upset” about your repetition of the zombie lie about Hillary’s RFK comment is an unfortunate choice of framing. People who critique the many misrepresentations made about Hillary Clinton during the campaign are routinely marginalized as “emotional,” “bitter,” “going through the stages of grief,” etc. I despise any and all political lying, no matter who the victim is. It so happened that Obama was the favorite of the blogosphere’s hipsters, so it was Hillary Clinton who bore the brunt of vastly more left-tolerated and -propagated lying during the campaign.
    Moreover, the notion that we “have a more political than a factual difference here” could not be more incorrect, unless one is comfortable with a discourse that unerringly takes the most generous view of certain Democrats and the most, well, cartoonishly negative view of others.
    We are in a world of sh*t, in no small part because we have a national political discourse founded on lies and the tribalistic biases of the Village media. When the left blogosphere proves no more immune to truthiness, our world gets that much sh*ttier.
    The smearing of the Clintons as racists during the campaign, and the acceptance of (and support for) it by most of the leftysphere, showed our enterprise as just as willing to eat convenient untruths as the MSM jerks we’re trying to leave in the low-road dust.

  • cenoxo

    It’s a poor cartoon, and a worse editorial decision to run it. Were no NYP editors on duty that day?
    A fiendishly clever cartoonist backed by a vast conservative conspiracy, perhaps? Controversy does sell more newspapers and gather more media eyeballs — look at how many comments are in this thread — but don’t ascribe to bigotry or racism what can be explained by neglect or stupidity.
    Viewed by itself, the cartoon is not implying that President Obama is the chimp, nor is it a crude racist joke that calls for his assassination. It’s the perception of the viewers (influenced by their personal beliefs about Obama) that create those associations.
    For example, let’s change two words in the cartoon’s text balloon so it mentions equally controversial legislation passed by the previous Administration. Since President Bush has been widely and openly portrayed as a chimpanzee, is there any misunderestimation as to who the chimp represents?
    Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
    Shot at 2009-02-21
    Conservatives would be equally as offended about such a portrayal of their Man, but their emotional reaction still wouldn’t prove any evil intent by the cartoonist or editors.
    I wonder, though, how many progressive thinkers would find the Patriot Act version more acceptable? Is a slur against another human being a slur no matter who it comes from?

  • cenoxo

    Apologies for that “Shot at 2009-02-21″ text immediately below the cartoon. That’s a leftover bit of ImageShack’s HTML tag for image of the revised cartoon.
    BagMan, is there any way to increase the width of the comments Preview window? It’s so small that it’s hard to catch everything?

  • http://www.rumproast.com/ Kevin K.

    “I despise any and all political lying, no matter who the victim is.”
    That’s really cheeky coming from a guy who, along with Lambert Strether 2.0, continued to push the bullshit smear at correntewire that Obama gave Hillary the finger after presented with irrefutable video and photographic evidence that he did no such thing.

  • cenoxo

    I thought the cops shot the runaway chimp because it used tooth, claw, and superior strength to attack and injure a human being. Hard to see it as a victim, unless you’re referring to the idea that it shouldn’t have been kept as a pet in the first place (no argument there). Were its owners Republicans?
    You may already know about the circumstances surrounding Eddie Adams‘ famous photo that avowed Conservative Ramirez based his cartoon on. The shooting ‘victim’ was a Communist Viet Cong guerrilla captured on the streets of Saigon during the 1968 Tet Offensive, and shot by a South Vietnamese general.
    Ramirez used this sudden death meme to try and build political sympathy for Bush in 2003, but it backfired:

    When he was working for the L.A. Times in 2003, he drew President Bush with his hands tied behind his back being shot in the head by a figure labeled “politics” – a parody of a famous Vietnam War photo. Bush fans were outraged, missing the point that Ramirez thought the president’s reputation was being assassinated. “We were flooded with phone calls,” says Ramirez. “This guy called and said, ‘Are you Mike Ramirez? I’d like to see you.’ And I said, ‘You’ll have to stand in line.’ He said, ‘Well, I’m with the Secret Service.’ And I said, ‘How do I know that?’ And he said, ‘Because I’ve got a black suit, black sunglasses and a black tie.’ ” Ramirez didn’t meet with the deadpan agent – L.A. Times lawyers wouldn’t allow it – and the Times later cut him loose in a round of layoffs.

    Is the unwitting enemy of your enemy your friend?
    I don’t think the Right or the Left has any successful monopoly on visual tactics.

  • SqueakyRat

    Do you really imagine people are outraged because they think Obama’s feelings might be hurt? Think some more.

  • cenoxo

    President Obama is a whole different situation, and I encourage us all to really take that fact in. (because it’s so new.) He’s not an intelligent black man trying to get his foot in the door, fight of the nibbling rats of racism. He’s one of the single most powerful men in the world. He can have the staff of the New York Post rendited to the Balkans for “questioning.” (though, as a man of character, he would not.) He’s not in a position where a racist caricature can function in the same way. Quite frankly, he doesn’t need our outrage.
    I looked at this, and I didn’t see a powerful president laid low by a stupid cartoon. I saw a old, out of touch angry white guy who does not understand that the rules of the game have changed.
    To this pathetic cartoonist I have four words: enjoy your IRS audit.

    Well, d, I’m glad Eric Holder beat you out as President Obama’s choice for Attorney General.
    How Constitutionally comforting it is to know that a new, progressive, freely-elected Democratic President can use his power to threaten, arrest, punish, and secretly dispose of real (and imagined) domestic enemies if need be, just like the old Regime. Apparently the neocons taught their successors well, and the same extra-legal rules of the game really do remain on the table.
    Americans were hoping that an intelligent President would rise above such extra-legal tactics, but you make Obama sound even more like Bush (or Lincoln).
    Nothing new here — thanks for the heads-up.

  • http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2009/02/08/opinion/08richlarge.jpg yg

    I thought the cops shot the runaway chimp because it used tooth, claw, and superior strength to attack and injure a human being. Hard to see it as a victim
    oy. the cartoon is a m e t a p h o r. it isn’t meant to be read literally.
    i wasn’t calling the chimp (or it’s symbolic representative) a victim. i was pointing out how the cops were being framed as sympathetic and distraught even though they were the killers. don’t tell me you don’t know who the cops are supposed to represent.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/bagnews Michael Shaw (The BAG)

    bent

  • Dorothy, everything’s up-to-date in gitmo’s kitty, Uthink?

    hmm…a chimp is still a chimp…a rose by any other color would smell as sheep…

  • J Bellavita

    Out of line. To say that a political cartoon can “obviously” be one thing or another negates the idea that I am capable and experienced enough to interpret humor and cultural references on my own. You’re the one seeing a racist image, and so I suggest the problem is yours.
    Not to say there’s no racism in comedy, but with an actual monkey being shot to death that week, maybe you could lighten up a little. No reason to find symbols where there aren’t any.
    Thanks again.

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