Sunday, February 22, 2009

Sunday morning toons: Special "Alabama Bound!" Edition

Still no Bob Geiger. When we know, you'll know.

Daryl Cagle isn't letting the impending collapse of everything slow him down, though, lucky for us. This week's round-up covers the range from Illinois' newest Senator to the government's newest plan for a bailout.

p3 Picks of the Week: Pat Bagley, John Darkow, Jimmy Margulies, Michael Ramirez, Jerry Holbert, Steve Sack, and Adam Zyglis.

p3 World Toon Review: Brian Adcock (Scotland), Arcadio Esquivel (Costa Rica), and Hasan Bleibel (Lebanon).

I keep waiting for more political toonists to catch up with the story of California's likely return to the Iron Age, but perhaps it's still tagged as a local/regional story, rather than one that has a clear message for the rest of the country. Maybe it's a sign of how many bigger troubles are distracting us, but the sight of Der Ah-nolt, who got into office with a plurality in a booby-prize election after Gray Davis was run out of office for raising car registration fees, presiding over the complete economic meltdown of the Golden State should be bigger news than it is. Anyway, the plight of Oregon's neighbor to the south has not escaped the notice of Daryl Cagle, Lalo Alcaraz, Steve Breen, and Gordon Campbell.

Ann Telnaes celebrates the arrival--at long last--of bipartisan enthusiasm in our nation's capital.

Last Wednesday, the Murdoch-owned NYPost achieved a distinction, of sorts: It may have became the first newspaper I'm aware of to run an editorial cartoon seeming to suggest that it would be okay for police to shoot Obama because he is, after all, just a chimpanzee. Stay classy, Post!

I've talked a couple of people who read it differently. A friend says he thought it was supposed to be a reference to the old saw about the thousand monkeys seated at the thousand typewriters who eventually, by the laws of large numbers and dumb luck, manage to write Hamlet. The stimulus bill, by this reading, was basically a garbled attempt by Monkey #751--not Hamlet,, but not a document you'd want to pin the hopes of our economy on, either. (The leap from there to the cops who shot the chimp-gone-rogue is another matter.)

My friend didn't think that his reading made the toon particularly funny either, but its un-funniness, he maintained, derived from a lame-ass treatment of the comparatively harmless "thousand monkeys" joke, rather than a lame-ass treatment of the racist "blacks as sub-human" joke.

For those people familiar with the case who don't believe the artist in question is somehow being misunderstood or inappropriately taken out of context, a big reason why is the guy's impressive list of prior bad acts as well as samples from his portfolio.

(By the way, Gawker, the site that provided both of those links to Delonas' record, was listed among the "top 5 overrated blogs" by Time, which ought to tell you a lot about the value of old media's opinion about new media.

And following the ThinkProgress post, also linked above, is a list of "related posts" that's worth reviewing, just in case you'd forgotten how right-wing politics and racist taunting go hand in hand.)

In a somewhat uncharacteristic move, the Post has issued an apology for the cartoon in question.

Well, sort of an apology:

It was meant to mock an ineptly written federal stimulus bill.


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.

There. I'm sure we all feel much better now. But, without feeling much urge to rise to the Post's defense, it's still tricky business (see below).

Guest toons: Getting over your feelings of relief that Bush, et al., are out of office, but starting to find that the gap between Bush's policies and Obama's isn't always as wide as you'd hoped? Tom Tomorrow says you may be suffering from OWS.

Portland homeboy Jack Ohman salutes the US auto industry for its transparency.

"Record Carrot Crop in Alabama?" Well, I'm Alabama bound! We at p3 dedicate "Southern Fried Rabbit," this 1953 Looney Toons directed by Fritz Freleng, to Alabama Senator Richard Shelby, who was last seen trying to resurrect the long-debunked rumor that Obama isn't an American citizen. (Hat-tip to Doctor TV.)

One of the interesting perversities of the Web as a culture is that its denizens consider it a special point of pride to provide excruciatingly complete information--even when you'd prefer not to have it. As a case in point: "Southern Fried Rabbit," created 12 years before Jim Crow laws were overturned in the South, rarely if ever appeared on television in its uncensored form. (Below is the uncensored version; you'll know the reason why when you see it. It starts at 2:50 and runs for about 40 seconds.) I searched for quite a while to find the edited version because, although I get the joke and it's actually hard to say who's more the butt of it, the scene in question offends me and I was happy to let my purist sensibilities take a back seat to other values on this one. But you can't find the cut version online! Even if you're looking for it! In fact, almost every copy that's been uploaded at YouTube makes a point of specifically promising that it's the uncut version.

p3 Bonus Toon: Waiting to find out when you get your cut? Jesse Springer charts the course of stimulus money as it works its way through the Oregon system. (Click to enlarge.)

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