Saturday, February 21, 2009

Obama offensive...

Well when is a chimp not a chimp? There was a story earlier this week about a 'pet' chimp savaging it's owners friend, somebody even started a thread on the BBC about it: [BBC R5L World News] (although the point of the post was to highlight very poor editing!)

Sean Delonas dead chimp cartoonCartoon by Sean Delonas of the New York Post.

OK, that's only a part of it. There has been growing outcry of that story depicted in a cartoon in the NY Post. Daryl Cagle, the daily editorial cartoonist for MSNBC (click on image for link to Daryl's blog and story), says, and I agree entirely - although I'm not a cartoonist!...just giving my tuppenny worth - "A standard, workday ritual that editorial cartoonists do is to list the major news stories of the day, and then think of how to combine two of the unrelated stories into a cartoon. Combining two unrelated things in a cartoon is funny. Monkeys are funny and the killer chimp was the big news one day along with the stimulus bill. Delonas is a staunch conservative who didn’t like the stimulus bill; this cartoon is a formulaic 'no-brainer.' I’m sure the reaction to the cartoon was a surprise to Delonas." Although the advice Daryl gives is to be aware that people are going to see certain things as alarming. However, I ask why all the hoohah? ...The NY Post has since apologised - NOT unreservedly - but some of the reaction is absurd (towards the bottom of THIS article). Also, despite the clear and obvious joke of a chimp having written the Stimulus Bill, the cartoonist persepective is reported in very different ways by other cartoonists: the founder of the UK's Political Cartoon Society, Tim Benson, reported by the BBC, says

" doesn't work unless the monkey is intended to be Obama. "At best it's confused, at worst racist,".

[Link] The power of the Cartoonist. What? You think he meant Obama was the monkey? Do you think ANYONE actually thinks Obama wrote the Stimulus Bill himself? Do you think he means Obama should be shot? Tim...resign, get a new job, you've clearly 'lost it'! He's not the only one though, as witnessed by the uproar: "demonstrators objecting to what they regarded as a racist depiction of President Barack Obama. " Funny that...can't imagine it being said about chimp images of evolution in SUPPORT of Obama...(image links to The Art of Obama)

Evolution to Obama Or happening with other US presidents (in support of Bankrupt Britain Brown!)...

David Seaton Blog

Maybe there's a reason for all this, as David Seaton put it last autumn on his blog: "Today, after eight years of George W. Bush; as the image and the brand and the reality of American power unravels, only a black man can be president of the United States . Why is this? Not because, as Andrew Sullivan suggests, a brown face in the White House will make [The USA] suddenly beloved in places like Pakistan... it wont, not at all, perhaps quite the contrary. But rather because nobody would dare to put a black person on a poster like the one advertising Oliver Stone's film, that's why. Political caricature is ill willed and cruel and after centuries of our cruelty it is taboo for civilized white people to ridicule a person of color." He gives, as an example, Steve Bell , cartoonist with the Guardian's drawing George W. Bush as a chimpanzee (image above), adding:

"Obviously if Bell drew Barack Obama as a chimpanzee he would be considered a vicious, racist beast."


Update...4 days later!! I see THIS from Mary Ellen Synon in The Mail...with another chimp, this time it's Gordon again. Mary Ellen ends with, "Meanwhile, I give you a recent cartoon by Peter Brookes from the Times, which aroused no such criticism. Gordon Brown is the chimp this time. It makes me recall what an old friend from Zambia once said: 'Get close to a chimp and push back his fur. You will see his skin is white.'"

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Paul said...

Last year I posted on your blog about the idea of art not working if it requires explanation. I think Delonas was a little naive if he really thought this would go un-noticed. Subversion works when the person or thing being subverted misses the point - remember George Bush and The Simpsons, the whole thing by passed him.

I'm not attacking freedom of thought, as Grant put it on the World News board this week we have gone back to the 1980 version of democracy and splintering of opinions into good and bad - the eighties were the worst time since the 1930's for polarisation of people's views - even today you know who crops up every day on the 5Live Boards. The mistake of any artist, in my view, is to be drawn into explanation - you should take what you can from art and leave the intellectual discussions to the coneheads.

Span Ows said...

Thanks Paul...I think there's a typo; you meant to end with "boneheads", right?

It strikes me that it's the liberals and the blacks making the most of they equate blacks with chimps? Are they that racist? To read all that 'it must be Obama' crap and calling for sackings and the paper to close etc etc...yet it is IMHO them that display the racism.

Span Ows said...

Sorry, forgot the 1st bit of your post...this doesn't need any expalnation: it is so obvious, the chimp attack was major US news and clearly everyone knows re the Stimulus Bill. I just needs boneheads to grow up. To read of "uproar" and "outrage" just makes me want to go over there and slap a few people

Paul said...

No it was coneheads - episode of Star Trek (original TV series) where alien life forms controlled people's thoughts and emotions - see I have to explain my art, therefore it doesn't work :-)

Although boneheads could equally apply and if you are giving them a slap they'll become slapheads!

Span said...

Ah, memeory of Star Trek is reasonable but not infallible...speaking of which (Star Trek) there is a new film out about the beginning etc...Krk and spok as children...trailer looked OK...

Back on topic...these coneheads > boneheads > slapheads, I guess many were named Richard


Paul said...

"Back on topic..."

Span - are you turning into your own moderator?

"I guess many were named Richard"

Oh what a Proustian moment - took me back to when my brother did some work for one of the London boroughs, free testing of electrical sockets not just for council tenants but homeowners. He gave up after a week said he couldn't believe so many people in that borough were called Richard Head, not wanting something for free which normally cost £100 or more.