I tried to call the Post to ask whether the cartoon in fact refers to Obama. The surly phone attendent switched me to a surly editor who said that I need to write a letter to voice my concern. “I’m just asking a question,” I said. Moment of silence. “You need to write a letter,” he said.
I guess the monkey could represent Nancy Pelosi, although the history of using chimps to refer to women is rather non-existent. Harry Reid? Haven’t seen a lot of chimps that refer to old white men, either. But black men? Especially uppity black men who’ve climbed above their station? God, the examples are legion.
You know the shooting of a pet chimp was just a big item in the news, and the metaphor of chimps pounding away on typewriters has been around a while, and Obama didn’t really write the bill, so I’m guessing it’s not a racial dig.
I’m thinking the artist is implying the stimulus bill is so haphazard/slapdash/bad/incompetent it must have been written by chimps. Look how much screeching and arguing and poo-flinging went on in the last few weeks over what bits should be included and what should be cut. Obama didn’t write it himself, and neither did any one single Congressperson.
It’s not a very good cartoon and is way too open to misinterpretation.
Do recall, in your outrage, that Obama did NOT write the stimulous bill - Congress did. Most people actually know this. So, just maybe, the cartoonist is saying that the chimp is smarter than Congress…?
Naaaaah. No cartoonist would ever suggest that Congress is staffed by sub-simian intelligences. No, of course not.
It doesn’t seem racist to me. But it does seem stupid.
Is the artist just busting on an opinion that the bill makes no sense so it must have been written by a chimpanzee? If so, dragging in this blip-on-the-radar pop news item to make his point seems a little strident.
I think the Rev. Sharpton is right this time. (He’s not always so lucky). Obama is identified in the public mind with the stimulus package, not Congress, so the cartoonist is identifying him with a chimpanzee.
The gag about legislation being drafted by chimpanzees is a familiar cliche, and IMO there’s nothing racist about it.
I hadn’t heard of the recent cop-shoots-pet-chimp news story, so that part of the cartoon reminded me a bit of notorious police shootings of unarmed black people in recent years (Amadou Diallo, Sean Bell), which I thought was a distasteful association. But now that I know the cartoon setup was probably a reference to the pet-chimp incident, I’m not as bothered by it.
And by the way, I don’t think any conservative who hollered “racism” about the Oliphant Condoleezza-Rice-as-a-parrot cartoon (remember that one?) has even a smidgen of room to complain about Sharpton’s racial offensensitivity in this case:
Eh, I’ll believe the cartoonist just was going for stimulus bill=stupid=written by chimps, but you’d think he has to run the comic by a few people before publishing it, and someone would’ve called attention to the fact that the racist interpetation is pretty obviously going to occur to a lot of people.
In any case, I think we can agree that the comic is really unfunny. The “lets stick to random news stories togeather and pretend its a joke” genre killed political comics.
Do you have an example? Googling chimp+written+law doesn’t give anything like that in the first few pages.
The cliche about random monkeys typing nonsense is established and the story about the chimp being shot by the cops is current, so I think the cartoon is based on these and not racism. Sometimes a chimp is just a chimp.
So would it be OK to compare Obama with a chimp as long as it was clear he’s the only one, and that the chimp doesn’t represent African-Americans as a whole? Just trying to figure out where the line is in your mind.
But for the record, I don’t really see it as referring to Obama at all since he didn’t write the stimulus bill.