Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Newsflash...the monkey wasn't Obama...

A friend emailed about this cartoon earlier today, and I've been reading some of the controversy that has arisen over this cartoon from the New York Post

Apparently some people were not aware of the recent news story involving a chimpanzee that police shot and killed:
Doctors say a Connecticut woman mauled by a 200-pound chimpanzee is making slight progress after more than seven hours of surgery by four teams of surgeons. Dr. Kevin Miller of Stamford Hospital says 55-year-old Charla Nash suffered extensive facial and hand injuries when she was attacked Monday. He says stabilizing her condition took more than seven hours of surgery.

Nash was attended by hand specialists, plastic surgeons and specialists in orthopedics, ophthalmology and trauma.

Miller says it's good that Nash has made some progress, but she has a long way to go.

Nash was attacked by a 14-year-old domesticated chimpanzee owned by her friend, Sandra Herold of Stamford. Police shot and killed the chimp.

Al Sharpton had stated that this cartoon was racially biased...He's quoted as stating:
"The cartoon in today's New York Post is troubling at best given the historic racist attacks of African-Americans as being synonymous with monkeys. One has to question whether the cartoonist is making a less than casual reference to this when in the cartoon they have police saying after shooting a chimpanzee that "Now they will have to find someone else to write the stimulus bill."

Evidently Sharpton forgot about this type of thing, which if the cartoon chimp was Obama, which it doesn't appear it was in this case, why is it okay to compare one president to a monkey and not the other? If it's wrong, then it's wrong, but considering the news of the Connecticut woman, it's hard to argue this was racially motivated.

Let's not monkey around with this one...


Cyberseaer said...

Sharpton is just happy that he has something that will get headlines for him again. This proves that he is just a media whore and is a disgrace of the orginal intent of Dr. King's noble message.

J. Rowsey said...

I was watching CNN a little last night after my night class and all they were talking about was this stupid cartoon. They are always looking for a scandal, or better yet creating them, when one does not exist. Good post!

The News Writer said...

Hey Lisa, guess I've got that Southern thing going again ... the reason some see this cartoon as racist is pervailing opinion in the past -- and a not uncommon one now -- that black folk are just one step away from apes. I was just looking at a drawing from a "medical" study of the 1890s that showed the "similarities" in African skulls with ape skulls and how different caucasian skulls are.

The first thing I thought of when I saw the cartoon was the Connecticut chimp story. But the next thing was the implication in the cartoon than an ape wrote the stimulus bill. And then -- black=ape is an old, old racial stereotype in this country, one that's very much alive in some circles.

It's not about comparing a president to a monkey. And I can't recall a supposedly reputable newspaper ever making a Bush-chimp comparison anyway (although I admit I could be wrong).

It's about comparing a black guy to a monkey.

Honestly, The Post, owned by Rupert Murdoch, is smart enough to know that folks would make that connection. It's awfully cynical of them to say that it was just about the chimp attack story.

Cyberseaer said...

From a business stand point, Murdoch is smart in that this cartoon we stir things up and then more people will buy the Post to see if there is anything else that will be contaverisal. It will be a short gain profit, because after a week, people will see that the New York Post is just a rag of a paper.

Lisa Renee said...

Delonas told CNN this afternoon that the controversy was "absolutely friggin' ridiculous."

"Do you really think I'm saying Obama should be shot? I didn't see that in the cartoon," Delonas said. "It's about the economic stimulus bill. If you're going to make that about anybody, it would be [House Speaker Nancy] Pelosi, which it's not."

There have been cartoons of President Bush drawn as a monkey in newspapers. One such cartoon, this one back from 2001 actually won the political cartoonist an award.

I predicted this back when there was outrage over the sock monkey Obama doll and some of the past cartoons, this was going to be a problem with the whole sensitivity factor. Now, if the chimp would have been drawn in a way that even resembled Obama? It could be a larger issue but the reality is this monkey comparison has been done with our last President.

Lawrence Moore said...

Interesting cartoon. Most political cartoons are, unless of course you're the butt of the joke. Still, I fail to see the point of this one if indeed it was not intended to draw a connection between President Obama and the dead chimp. Whatever the agenda of the Post, printing this was just plain creepy. I wonder if the victim of the attack thinks it's funny?

As for having been "done before" I disagree... unless of course someone can point me to a political cartoon of a chimp lying dead on the ground and captioned, "Well, I guess we get to come home from Iraq now."

The News Writer said...

Thanks Lisa ... as I said, I didn't recall a Bush-chimp in a newspaper, but that didn't mean it didn't happen.

But again, the point isn't comparing the president to a chimp. The point is comparing a black guy to a chimp.

It's also not about "saying Obama should be shot. I get the whole connection to the Connecticut chimp (although that's a whole nother story, if you ask me -- people should not be keeping wild animals, even "domesticated" ones, as pets -- especially if they're going to allow them to gain as much weight as Travis did AND feed him Xanax), so I don't have a problem at all with the chimp being shot by the cop.

I do think it was a stupid cartoon and not really funny. But it's especially not funny with the very ingrained racial slur attached. Even if you don't intend that to be part of the "joke," a respectable media outlet should avoid even the appearance of making it so. And that's a big part of what makes it so stupid.

But then, we are talking about the Post, and using "respectable" in the same sentence with the Post ... well, you know.

Lisa Renee said...

Now the Post has apologized, well kidn of.

I understand the whole racial argument related to monkey's. Here in Toledo a few years ago our Mayor compared the Fire Chief to King Kong, he meant it because the man was big and strong and nothing stopped him, since he was black, it became a huge racially charged issue.

That said, we have a black president now, well half black if we are going to be accurate, and there is very little sensitivity in the world of political cartooning, there should not be a double standard of behavior. If this was really about Obama which it clearly wasn't directed at him, but if it was, or if one is in the future, what is appropriate to do to one or what is inappropriate to do to one, should be consistent.

Else, we really haven't even come close to accomplishing equality...

Lisa Renee said...

That was of course, "kind of"