Thursday, February 19, 2009

Satire or Offensive?

I know I’m not the only one in the U.S. that sees something wrong with this and it really struck me this morning as I was watching the news that Americans really still think of black people like monkeys… What a sad thing… Even with a biracial president, we are still not as far as we should be. How embarrassing it is to live here sometimes… It’s no wonder that we Americans have such issues in this country if we can’t even get passed what is on the outside of people.. We’ll never reach deeper than that to figure out how people think, what’s in their minds, if we can never get passed the outside. The package someone is in does not make that person who they are. I guess with the hate that some people have, it does tend to have an influence if everything on the outside is constantly part of negative conversation.

The argument that was given this morning on the news was that the artist was trying to merge the killing of the monkey that I blogged about yesterday to the Stimulus Package. You and I both know that is not the truth. What in the hell does the monkey from yesterday’s post have to do with the Stimulus Package?

So I ask you your opinion on this… Satire or Offensive? You know my answer, what’s yours?


hollybeth75 said...

Okay I find the discussion of this cartoon to be very interesting. I think the artist wanted it to be confusing to people and get people worked up for the attention rather than participating in the racist element in it. Here's what's so have the history of people comparing black people to monkeys and that is unacceptable in this day and age. But I think this artist wanted to make an easy get-away by saying "that's not what I meant". Here's why I think that. First of all I do believe the monkey represents the stimulous package, and that most people associate the stimulous package with Obama. But in actuality, it was Pelosi who drafted the package. But nobody would accuse the cartoon of being sexist. And most people don't know who Pelosi is or that she drafted it. Then you have the history of George Bush being portrayed as a monkey and that was perfectly okay, so why can't Obama, right? I mean if you aren't racist and don't see color then you are treating one just like the other right? I just think the artist was doing something for attention, and certainly got it. It was a publicity stunt and it worked. I think his/her intention wasn't actually to be racist but to be clever and make the headlines. Everybody is talking about how horrible it is. Yes it's horrible to be racist and compare black people or any person at all for that matter to a monkey and who ever does that with ill intent should be ashamed of themselves. But honestly I don't think the New York Post would employ and publish someone like that. I think this person just wants 15 minutes of fame a cheap way.

glocha said...

Offensive, no matter what the intention.

You make an interesting point that George Bush was also compared to a monkey. Was this monkey also being shot in the comparison or just behaving like a monkey? I think the artist and most especially the paper knew that most people would connect the stimulus package to President Obama rather than Pelosi. The idea of an American president being shot is offensive for all Americans. The racial implication may be not one of intent, but there still should have been more thought put into the sensitive issue in this country. The history of racism and hate in this country is not that far off, and forgetting is not easy if not impossible. So the artist may have gotten his 15 minutes and the NY Post publicity, but did it have to be negative? The artist could have expressed his/her argument with the stimulus package in some other form, considering...

Tiki: said...

Open Letter to the New York Post from John Legend!

Dear Editor:

I'm trying to understand what possible motivation you may have had for publishing that vile cartoon depicting the shooting of the chimpanzee that went crazy. I guess you thought it would be funny to suggest that whomever was responsible for writing the Economic Recovery legislation must have the intelligence and judgment of a deranged, violent chimpanzee, and should be shot to protect the larger community. Really? Did it occur to you that this suggestion would imply a connection between President Barack Obama and the deranged chimpanzee? Did it occur to you that our President has been receiving death threats since early in his candidacy? Did it occur to you that blacks have historically been compared to various apes as a way of racist insult and mockery? Did you intend to invoke these painful themes when you printed the cartoon?

If that's not what you intended, then it was stupid and willfully ignorant of you not to connect these easily connectable dots. If it is what you intended, then you obviously wanted to be grossly provocative, racist and offensive to the sensibilities of most reasonable Americans. Either way, you should not have printed this cartoon, and the fact that you did is truly reprehensible. I can't imagine what possible justification you have for this. I've read your lame statement in response to the outrage you provoked. Shame on you for dodging the real issue and then using the letter as an opportunity to attack Rev. Sharpton. This is not about Rev. Sharpton. It's about the cartoon being blatantly racist and offensive.

I believe in freedom of speech, and you have every right to print what you want. But freedom of speech still comes with responsibilities and consequences. You are responsible for printing this cartoon, and I hope you experience some real consequences for it. I'm personally boycotting your paper and won't do any interviews with any of your reporters, and I encourage all of my colleagues in the entertainment business to do so as well. I implore your advertisers to seriously reconsider their business relationships with you as well.

You should print an apology in your paper acknowledging that this cartoon was ignorant, offensive and racist and should not have been printed.

I'm well aware of our country's history of racism and violence, but I truly believe we are better than this filth. As we attempt to rise above our difficult past and look toward a better future, we don't need the New York Post to resurrect the images of Jim Crow to deride the new administration and put black folks in our place. Please feel free to criticize and honestly evaluate our new President, but do so without the incendiary images and rhetoric.

John Legend

Tiki: said...

UPDATE: Rupert Murdoch Apologizes for Post Cartoon 2/24/09

Here is Rupert Murdoch’s statement on the Post Cartoon

As the Chairman of the New York Post, I am ultimately responsible for what is printed in its pages. The buck stops with me.

Last week, we made a mistake. We ran a cartoon that offended many people. Today I want to personally apologize to any reader who felt offended, and even insulted.

Over the past couple of days, I have spoken to a number of people and I now better understand the hurt this cartoon has caused. At the same time, I have had conversations with Post editors about the situation and I can assure you - without a doubt - that the only intent of that cartoon was to mock a badly written piece of legislation. It was not meant to be racist, but unfortunately, it was interpreted by many as such.

We all hold the readers of the New York Post in high regard and I promise you that we will seek to be more attuned to the sensitivities of our community.