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View Diary: In Defense Of the Vulnerable (306 comments)

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  •  Agreed. (13+ / 0-)

    Trust, but verify. - Reagan
    Vote, but Occupy. - commonmass

    When the rich have tripled their share of the income and wealth yet again, Republicans will still blame the poor and 3rd Way Democrats will still negotiate.

    by Words In Action on Mon Dec 02, 2013 at 01:41:14 PM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  I was among those who found Ted's caricature (16+ / 0-)

      of Mr. Obama cringe-inducing and discussed it with him weeks ago. I made it clear that to me the issue was one of perception, NOT of conscious or even unconscious racism. These discussions were comradely and I think, if the point had been repeated often enough, by enough progressive Kossacks, they might have led to a modest-but-crucial modification in Ted's drawing style.

      Of course we'll never know now... and of course, many of Ted's critics didn't want him to change. They wanted him gone.

      I would take the criticism of Rall's intent much more seriously, if he were the ONLY cartoonist criticized here that way. Of course, that's not the case at all. Several other DKos cartoonists have also been assailed as "racist" for their caricatures of the President. One DKos featured cartoonist--Matt Bors--was briefly bojoed by repeated HRs from HIS critics... until markos was forced to grant him infinite mojo to prevent a recurrence.

      I think this pattern: caricature = "racism," if the target is Barack Obama, speaks for itself quite eloquently and clearly.

      When you triangulate everything, you can't even roll downhill...

      by PhilJD on Mon Dec 02, 2013 at 02:34:30 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The issue of the reasonable limits (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        PhilJD, Kombema, JayRaye, Words In Action

        of portraying minorities and women who have reached positions of great power is really just now arising. People with power have almost always been white men. It is likely the the Democratic nominee in 2016 will be a woman. The same issues about sexism will come up. In fact they did briefly during the 2008 primaries. This is not a matter that is going to get conclusively resolved any time soon.

        •  I agree. Personally, I would very much welcome (7+ / 0-)

          a free-wheeling and good-faith discussion of that; a discussion without a litmus test or pre-ordained outcome.

          I don't have links handy, but corvo has made some excellent comments lately, addressing this precise issue.

          When you triangulate everything, you can't even roll downhill...

          by PhilJD on Mon Dec 02, 2013 at 02:51:22 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  As I have been following this debate (3+ / 0-)

            I keep thinking about the cartoons that Steve Bell at The Guardian did of Bush as a chimp. Bell is IMO a far better cartoonist than Rall. Of course since Bush is white nobody claimed that they were racist, but I am sure that Bush supporters found them very unpleasant. Personally I enjoyed them.

            We are not going to be able to get any broad consensus that Bell's efforts are fair practice of political satire and that Rall's are not.

            •  Rall said that his depiction of Obama ended up (11+ / 0-)

              expressing his contempt for the man. I don't like that, but it seems a valid technique for a cartoonist (and one that's been visible through centuries of caricatures).

              Daily Kos has had a lot of discussion of Rall's Obama, and most people who weighed in felt his Obama was simian. I agree.

              The problem is twofold: racism, and accurate skewering of a man's essence. To portray a black man who doesn't look like an ape/monkey in a simian manner is unacceptable, because of the history of hate this draws on.

              Furthermore, Bush was very chimplike - he really was an alpha chimp, from the frat to the White House. He preferred strutting in borrowed flight-plumage to thinking about difficult problems like Katrina. Obama has very little ape/monkey in his personality - that we've ever seen, anyway. It might work to portray him as a big-eared beanpole, blowing in the wind. But Rall's Obama doesn't draw from his eye, but from his mind.

              People say Rall draws everyone that way - but when Rall spends so much time skewering Obama, he needs to put a little effort into drawing a foil that works.

              I don't think Rall's Obama portrays anything about Barack; it just expresses Rall's contempt for him, with a meme our culture has long used to show hate and disdain towards blacks with.

              "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

              by Brecht on Mon Dec 02, 2013 at 03:54:40 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I think that Rall is a very crude (5+ / 0-)

                cartoonist. While I am generally in the same pew in terms of politics, I don't think that he is effective. If I were going to do cartoons of Obama I would look for images that portray his personal image at the expense of people who were hoping for someone who would actually make a difference. A peacock might be a good starting point.

                •  Agreed. (0+ / 0-)

                  The drawing is not his strength, and his blunt-weapon messages resonate with a narrow audience. Because he is radical, his work cuts the grain of most readers, especially those who are not alienated by mainstream culture or the establishment which forces it, or who are particularly concerned about being polite no matter what the circumstances or stakes.

                  Trust, but verify. - Reagan
                  Vote, but Occupy. - commonmass

                  When the rich have tripled their share of the income and wealth yet again, Republicans will still blame the poor and 3rd Way Democrats will still negotiate.

                  by Words In Action on Mon Dec 02, 2013 at 08:21:15 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  simpsons (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Words In Action

                    I worked with a youngster who was enthralled with the simpsons. He lent me a bunch of dvds he'd bought. (I'm 62 yrs old) I'm very tolerant of most everything so it wasn't too difficult to ignore in my opinion the awful caricatures. I mean there's nothing artful about them and the voices are very harsh sounding to me. I figure my age has something to do with it. My wife and a lot of my peers can't get past all that. However after all is said and done I found the show to be hysterical and very pointed in its sarcasm an ironies. Really good social commentary. My wife can't stand how much a jerk Homer is and doesn't get that the producers are skewering the universal jerk in a very high brow way. So people obsessed with the optics miss the bigger issues.

                    That said I do think we need to listen to people who are sensitive to things that most of us aren't. These people can gently educate us and change our awareness. Our own Reservn has changed how I speak about transgender people. I now know that to talk how the hideous Ann  Coulter looks like a man is hurtful to some folks and I don't want to be hurtful to others. That works so much better than outrage and name calling etc... It usually leads to people just digging in and we all lose.

                    music- the universal language

                    by daveygodigaditch on Mon Dec 02, 2013 at 09:04:06 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

              •  And this (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Brecht, Diogenes2008, churchylafemme
                I don't think Rall's Obama portrays anything about Barack; it just expresses Rall's contempt for him, with a meme our culture has long used to show hate and disdain towards blacks with.
                Is exactly it in a nutshell, and why it's so damned offensive.

                He doesn't like Obama, so he is in essence tossing out racial epithets at him in pictures.

            •  It's really not that complicated (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Diogenes2008, churchylafemme

              There is no historical basis for white people as a race in this country being dehumanized and brutalized as a rule of law and/or practice.

              Portraying African Americans as "subhuman", "savages", "animals", "jungle jumpers", "spear chuckers", "apes" and "monkeys", has a very long history - a history as a tool of oppression.

              That's why there should be no tolerance for portraying Obama with ape like features.  That's why those emails that went around with Obama with the bone through his nose was not funny - the same reason why Rall's little doodles of Obama all hairy, big nosed and small eared is not funny.

              If he wanted to draw Obama with gigantic ears, big enough to fly away, that would be political caricature. This clearly is NOT.

              I frankly don't understand what's so hard for people to understand.

      •  Well said. (9+ / 0-)

        To that my diary basically adds the notion that I have difficulty taking people seriously that the vulnerable concern them when they support the neoliberalism crushing them.

        Trust, but verify. - Reagan
        Vote, but Occupy. - commonmass

        When the rich have tripled their share of the income and wealth yet again, Republicans will still blame the poor and 3rd Way Democrats will still negotiate.

        by Words In Action on Mon Dec 02, 2013 at 03:10:55 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Crushing, excellent choice of words. (6+ / 0-)

          The so-called middle class is getting beat down, and has been for many many years, but our poor brother and sisters are being absolutely crushed. And they are disproportionately people of color.

          Yet we have these lawyers, and college professors, and web site owner, living comfortable lives. And what are they most upset about? A cartoon.

          Talk about your privileged viewpoint...

          God spare me the Heart to fight them... I'll fight the Pirates forever. -Mother Jones

          by JayRaye on Mon Dec 02, 2013 at 06:34:17 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yes! Exactly, JayRaye. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JayRaye, Lady Libertine

            Trust, but verify. - Reagan
            Vote, but Occupy. - commonmass

            When the rich have tripled their share of the income and wealth yet again, Republicans will still blame the poor and 3rd Way Democrats will still negotiate.

            by Words In Action on Mon Dec 02, 2013 at 07:38:30 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Actually you don't get it (3+ / 0-)

            One of the reasons "our poor brothers and sisters" are being crushed is because of perceptions.

            Perceptions that black and brown people are lazy, uncivilized, violent, animals at their core.

            That perception is used all of the time by politicians to push their harmful agendas through. Perceptions are the basis for the dog whistle,  "Welfare queens eating lobster", "Mexicans sneaking over our borders", etc etc.  These types of sentiments have their very roots in images like that cartoon.  Images like that REINFORCE the belief that black and brown people are less than, and therefore it's okay if they don't have health care or jobs, or safety, equal pay or rights, etc.

            That's why yes, this stupid cartoon is important and should not just pass with a shrug.

            As a black woman, I don't have a privileged view of this, because no matter what I do, or how much money I make, in the eyes of many I'm still just a monkey.  Pretty much how many see our president, no?

            •  Poor women of all races (0+ / 0-)

              are more concerned with feeding their children and keeping a roof over their heads. We are all viewed as slovenly sluts.

              Perhaps you don't get that.

              God spare me the Heart to fight them... I'll fight the Pirates forever. -Mother Jones

              by JayRaye on Tue Dec 03, 2013 at 09:04:53 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  Sigh (3+ / 0-)

        I find several things offensive about this topic:

        The liberal application of pretzel logic to excuse the very obvious resemblance of the drawing of Obama to traditional racist cartoons.

        The liberal use of TJ to draw attention away from the matter at hand, the offensive cartoon. This was NOT a discussion of Obama's policies, just of that stupid racist cartoon.

        The condescension of those defending the cartoon as appropriate.

        I know very well what political caricatures look like, and this is NOT it.  That thing in the comic does not resemble Obama in any way.  Obama with giant ears?  Ok.  Super skinny Obama with a big head?  Ok.  A hairy "person" with a giant nose, tiny ears, and facial hair? No.  Just no.  People who don't see it for what it is are just willing themselves blind.

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