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Not Even a Close Call

herb the verb's picture

Regarding this:

Jon Keller is right:

"I don't think it's even a close call - this vile New York Post cartoon is racist and deplorable, as is the fact that the Post's alleged editors thought it was OK to print and are defending that decision instead of abjectly apologizing."

Just remove the "I don't think" qualifier; IOW of course it was racist. It isn't by any stretch a close call. And no, this cartoon was not only racist in effect, but also in intent. Cutesy "equivalency" arguments notwithstanding.

Maybe this is as good a place as any to start the conversation Holder was asking for from us cowards? Certainly we could hope for a more focused* conversation than found in other recent posts/threads.

*in the sense of tackling one dragon at a time.

UPDATE: Minor readability and tweaking to "tweak" less.

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Aeryl's picture
Submitted by Aeryl on

The image is still clearly racist.

Sure the artist is only trying to imply that the stimulus bill was written by monkeys.

But that cannot be divorced from the historical context of the degradation of black men as primates.

herb the verb's picture
Submitted by herb the verb on

It's not a good one.

There isn't one person in one hundred thousand who would have the thought process to follow what is supposedly (and given retroactively) as the intent:

1) Dead monkey shot by cop in the news leads to:
2) A hundred monkeys writing on typewriters for a hundred years or something like that (because all there is is one dead perp/monkey, no typewriter and the image has no cues to anything like that).
3) This could have been the monkey that wrote the stimulus package, because a monkey wrote it.
4) Gotta get "someone esle", not another monkey, a someone.

It doesn't pass the smell test.

If it had been crafted completely differently, for instance the scene is a dead monkey is surrounded by a hundred typewriters and a hundred monkeys and the cop is saying "uh, oh, I think I got the one that wrote the stimulus package.", THEN it would be a marginal case. In absolutely poor taste, but you could argue it isn't targeting Obama. But not in New York, and not this cartoonist (who if you follow the links has a history of this sort of thing), and not this newspaper which has a history too.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

Just like John Kerry's "botched joke" wasn't a good one. Just like Rachel Maddow's comments on Obama's rhythm and dancing skills were, rather, "unfortunate," or would have been if she weren't protected by a bubble of PC support.

herb the verb's picture
Submitted by herb the verb on

Clean and articulate too!

But I think a dead monkey at the end of a cop's gun is taking it just a little bit further!

Davidson's picture
Submitted by Davidson on

Obviously, the cartoonist attempted an "infinite monkey theorem" joke (which is actually quite popular), but people assumed that anything remotely related to Washington must include Obama at its center and, thus, the image of a shot monkey morphed into a racist attack. I honestly didn't believe people would run with it, but here we are.

And, yes, I must note that these are the same people who laughed at the Fravreau and Friend groping of Clinton in effigy bit.

Davidson's picture
Submitted by Davidson on

Whenever a monkey is used as a writer it invariably brings up that metaphor. Again, the author of the bill was Congress, not Obama. It was, thus, directed at them, not Obama, a single individual.

Do you honestly think Obama was the author of the bill?

I didn't ask a question with regards to Favreau and this cartoon. I noted that I found it odd that this one is a stretch and yet it's made into an overt, clear display of bigotry and yet another clear incident of bigotry was treated as funny by the very same people. That one form of bigotry is taken seriously while another is not.

Submitted by lambert on

It's now being cast as his victory, and it would have been cast his defeat.

There are plenty of stock images that the cartoonist could have used to convey Congress, should they have wished to do so. A monkey is not on that list.

Are you serious that this isn't a racist cartoon, and that the target isn't Obama?

Sure, I agree that the Favreau thing wasn't taken seriously by misogynist OFBs. And so what?

Both are wrong, and at least some of us are calling that out.

Davidson's picture
Submitted by Davidson on

That's why I immediately saw it as a lame slam against Congress, not a racist hit against Obama. I don't know what else to tell you: Congress is what I immediately thought of, not Obama, especially since the stimulus is presented as a mess and Congress, not Obama, is strongly associated with fucking things up.

So, no, I didn't see it the way you did simply because I was thinking of who was seen as creating this mess. Obama was the prime mover of the bill, but polls showed that the majority of Americans didn't see him as the cause of the stimulus meltdown, but instead as someone trying to get things done, "bipartisan," while Congress was held in low esteem (as usual).

herb the verb's picture
Submitted by herb the verb on

Professional political cartoonists typically splash a name on the objects to clear up these "confusions". F'rinstance, the chimp would have "Congress" spelled on it. The cop would have "America" spelled on him, etc.. These are common conventions. They weren't used in this case. Maybe having a dead monkey with "Obama" spelled on it was a mite too shocking?

I'm only speculating, but despite Nooners.....

herb the verb's picture
Submitted by herb the verb on

"I noted that I found it odd that this one is a stretch and yet it's made into an overt, clear display of bigotry and yet another clear incident of bigotry was treated as funny by the very same people. That one form of bigotry is taken seriously while another is not.

Reverse polarity?

herb the verb's picture
Submitted by herb the verb on

Where's Mr. Subliminal when you need him!

<[snark>Plus, speaking as a rabid Hillarian dead-ender, who worships at the feet of the racist St. Billary (HAR!), I've finally learned my racist codes/cliches, which I pass on Yoda-like to the not-fully-formed Hillarian pod peoples.<|/snark>*

*tags added because you never know when Rumproast is going to show up on their training wheels.

Submitted by lambert on

And to anybody who remembers the incidents where the NYPD has shot down black people, that's an added bonus!

And as soon as you tie it it the stimulus bill, of course it's about Obama.

You don't have to be an Obama supporter to see that -- just conscious. Like nobody knows "monkey" can be a racist slur? What are you trying to say, Davidson?

Davidson's picture
Submitted by Davidson on

Monkey is a racist slur when directed at a black person, but this was directed at Congress. They, not Obama, fucked it up supremely. Congress has been strongly associated--and in a negative way--with the stimulus bill. That was the (attempted) target of this cartoon. Obama, if anything, was seen as above it all.

Damon's picture
Submitted by Damon on

That's how I took it, on sight. At least, in my mind, Congress wrote the the bill, so the monkey in the cartoon was Congress, that is, unless the cartoonist has some history of attacking minorities in his cartoons.

herb the verb's picture
Submitted by herb the verb on

Ask and ye shall receive.

These from Gawker, they focus on the gay-bashing, but if you look at the cartoons they are an over-flowing cornucopia of bigotry. Archie Bunker would be embarrassed.

Damon's picture
Submitted by Damon on

Thanks. That changes quite a bit about my opinion, then. He's really into the bed theme, huh? Jeeze. Definitely a winger, then. I'd never heard of the guy.

Damon's picture
Submitted by Damon on

Incredibly careless, but my mind, too, instantly followed the intent, which was to criticize the bill as aimless and nebulous. Al's got this one wrong, this time, though, this is exactly the time to remind society the stupidity of the image and historical contexts.

A Don Imus moment this is not.

BTW, since we're talking about the stimulus, of which there has been many jokes on, I've always wondered when the idea was first mentioned, when it first hit the media, and who it was proposed by? It seems that a lot of folks, in general, never know who exactly to aim the criticism of the bill at, because no one quite seems to ever reveal who came up with the idea and who initiated it.

Submitted by lambert on

I'm having a hard time getting a critique of "aimless and nebulous" out of that image. Where does that come from? The blood? The two shots to the chest?

Elucidate, please -- and before we wander off into the weeds on the stimpack.

herb the verb's picture
Submitted by herb the verb on

The closest I could come to a reasonable excuse/figuring out how this slipped through the editorial cracks* is this comment at BAG News (and thank you Lambert for picking up on this):

"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"

That takes it 90% there, but it's the "because he's a biased wingnust (sic) and sucks at his job, no (sic) that he's racist" part where I part company. First because you can't be unaware of the connotation of including a monkey killed by NY cops unless you ARE racist, and two, because I've never heard of a "crazed chimp" writing anything, that connection would even need to be explained to people with a conservative worldview.

Truly, this is fodder for Holder's desire for a discussion about race (that I link to above).

I'm glad we aren't cowards! (heh....)

*if that is indeed what happened.

pie's picture
Submitted by pie on

will be getting a visit from the Secret Service then, if he hasn't already.

What are the chances this cartoon would have been drawn no matter who the dem president was?

I never had the impression this was Obama's bill, which is why I disagree with some of you. Whatever. Let's move on to the next more important issue, which for me, is the post about banks sucking up part of people's unemployment benefits. That's certainly deserves the outrage!!!

Obama will get much worse before this economic crisis is over if things don't start to improve. His skin color is and will be irrelevant.