Thursday, February 26, 2009

NY Post Cartoon

Actual Insensitivity
If anything was in bad taste, if anything was insensitive, it was using an animal which brutally maimed a woman as part of a lighthearted cartoon joke. While the left gaze at their navels and fraught their grievances: I've not seen a word about the pain the cartoon must have created in the woman's family.

Defining the Cartoon
In the cartoon, one officer says
"They'll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill."
The left argue that Barack is heavily identified with the stimulus(he is), and therefore the cartoon is racist or insensitive or in bad taste.  Yet, the joke =
the stimulus is so bad that an enraged animal must have written it.
The joke plainly is not about who is most identified with the stimulus.  

Being Sensitive About Misinterpretation: Where to draw the line?
Some will inevitably misinterpret and assume the chimp represents Barack.  In the name of racial sensitivity; in the name of good taste:
How much ought any of us be protected from free speech which we might misinterpret in an upsetting way?  
If taste and sensitivity dictate protecting us:
Where should the line be drawn?  Where does good taste call out for the NY Post to censor itself?

Crediting Readers With Being Intelligent, Shrewd, Clued In
If anything, the NY Post cartoonist and editors were crediting their readers with having the shrewdness and intellect to properly understand the cartoon. If the cartoonist and editors were racists who believed black readers were stupid, then they would not have risked the cartoon at all - for they would’ve been confident the cartoon would be misunderstood, and thence create a backlash against the newspaper, the cartoonist, and the editors. Publishing that cartoon amounted to an acknowledgment that black Americans are smart and shrewd and clued in to events.

Is Al Sharpton attempting to disprove the working thesis that black Americans are largely smart and shrewd and clued in? 

What, really, are white people saying if we protest that the cartoon is insensitive? Are we not saying that black people are too unsmart and unshrewd to understand what the cartoon was clearly saying, i.e. the bill is so bad it could've been written by an out of control ape.

What is the Mission of NY Post?
Maybe the more proper perspective:
Isn’t it proper for the NY Post to be mostly concerned about their readers, and to be mostly unconcerned about what their non readers might misinterpret?
I suspect the people who pay for the newspaper - whether black, white, or whatever - vastly understood the reference, and vastly did not misinterpret.  

NY Post Publisher Apologizes:
The publisher of the NY Post, Rupert Murdoch, issued an apology for the cartoon. Excerpt:
[T]he only intent of that cartoon was to mock a badly written piece of legislation.
I promise you that we will seek to be more attuned to the sensitivities of our community.
Rupert Murdoch is apologizing for NY Post having failed to dumb down the newspaper to accommodate the moving target which is the new acceptable level of intelligence, shrewdness, and clued-in-ness. That level is, at any moment, two levels:
1) what the left says it is for the left, and
2) what the left says it is for the right[NY Post and Rupert Murdoch are considered to be on the right].

Dancing To An Enemy's Tune Does Not Work
If Murdoch were going to apologize, then - rather than seeking to be more attuned to community sensitivities - Murdoch ought to have apologized for NY Post having failed to live up to its own standards of taste and sensitivity.  Ultimately, NY Post must publish what NY Post personnel are proud of, then let the chips fall where they may.  Any other operating principle is destined for failure.  NY Post will not be able to constantly accommodate a moving target of community standards which are declared by enemies of the NY Post.  

This is especially true when NY Post is pre-convicted on the basis of being a rightwing newspaper; especially true when "leaders" of the community are looking for evidence to confirm to the public what those leaders already know:  NY Post is racist.  Such is plainly evident to the leaders by virtue of NY Post being on the right.  The leaders are looking for ways to make it plainly evident to all.  


Webutante said...

Think this whole gorilla cartoon thing is classic mountain out of a molehill making. I nonetheless an saddened by the maimed woman's plight, but goodness gracious, how far can we take this politically correct things?

gcotharn said...

We Americans are silly fools. Suddenly, I can't believe I spent time writing this post. Can you imagine some future anthropologist or historian noticing what we spend our time thinking about?

I get frustrated about the horse manure, instead of just letting it slide on off... At least I have this blog as an outlet. So maybe writing the post was okay, so long as I write fast and furious! :)