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typing monkey

Well that's rare...

I rarely find myself agreeing with something the NY Post writes, but I think they have a point in the whole monkey cartoon thing.

Given that even this morning's CNN front page still has information about the chimp attack side-by-side w/ the brouhaha over the cartoon I really do think people are trying way too hard to be offended over it.

If one of the big news events was how cops shot a minority person of some type and the Post had a cartoon about the shooting of a chimp, then you might be able to make that leap. If the cartoon was about how a chimp was beaten up by another chimp over something trivial (alluding to the Chris Brown/Rihanna debacle) then, sure you could make the case that it was racist, but if one of the big stories of the day actually involved a real chimp going nuts and having to be shot by cops then a cartoon explaining a) why he went nuts (he was driven insane working with politicians as he wrote the stimulus bill) and b) commenting on the quality of the bill itself (it was written by a chimp) doesn't seem unreasonable by any stretch.

Does this mean that for the next 4-8 years we won't be able to draw or chuckle over any cartoons about chimps for fear that we'll be labeled racists? Seriously, WTF?

I would argue that being unable (or unwilling) to properly parse a political cartoon in light of actual current events is a serious form of intellectual dishonesty and I'm highly disappointed at folks like Sharpton et al. who seem determined to intentionally blind themselves to realistic alternate explanations about the things they take offense to.

It's one thing to say "you can't take a joke" without any substantiating evidence (something I find very annoying), but in this case it seems very plausible (in fact highly likely IMO) that the cartoon was not racist in any way. The Post has explained what it meant by the cartoon and any further bitching about it is just trying to make something out of nothing.


I'm kinda confused why it's suddenly a big deal to compare the President to a chimp after ~8 years of people doing so. I'd think there'd be more interesting things to report on than such old news. . .
It's a big deal because as a society we tend to think that it's ok to criticize and mock someone on the basis of their actual abilities (especially if those abilities are far less impressive than the person believes them to be). However, comparing Obama to a chimp has nothing to do with a legitimate critique or commentary on his abilities or even his ability to perform his job, it would be a purely racist and baseless attack that really has no place in legitimate political discussion.

That's not to say I think that's what happened this time, but I do see why there are some things that should be avoided because they don't bring any actual content to the discussion. There are plenty of sexist, racist, and other completely useful insults that we should bringing into the political discussion.

Basically, at this point in time, if you compare Bush to a chimp it's because he's an idiot, if you compare Obama to a chimp it's most likely because he's black and it's a racist comment that has nothing to do with him as a person or his abilities as president.

Edited at 2009-02-20 05:52 pm (UTC)
Just because you and I don't think that Obama is an idiot doesn't mean there aren't plenty of people who do. Is their opinion of his abilities invalid because of his race?
Their opinion of his abilities is invalid if the sum total of their commentary is "Obama is a monkey, heh-heh, heh-heh"

I'm not saying you can't make fun of him. John Stewart did great bit a week or so ago where he took all of his pauses in a speech and strung them together so it looked like he was just hemming and hawing through some tough questions before finally admitting he didn't have an answer.

epilady linked to a discussion about the chimp thing and one of the posters had this comment which sums it up much more succinctly than I ever would:

"Comparing a white man to a monkey for doing stupid shit is pretty fucking different from comparing a black man to a monkey (for any reason), thanks to that pesky historical context."
OK, that makes sense. I hadn't grokked that pesky historical context before - it's similar to how my reaction to women being forced to sit in the back of the bus in Israel affected me way more strongly than it probably would affect someone who isn't American.