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Cartoon Controversy Makes Monkeys of Both Sides

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Even a monkey could understand why so many are offended by Sean Delonas' cartoon in the New York Post depicting a chimpanzee shot by police. In the cartoon, one officer says to the other, “They'll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill."

Claims of racism specifically aimed at President Obama have been flatly denied by the Post and just as flatly apologized for. (Seriously, when are people going to stop pegging the bullshit meter by apologizing for how someone else feels rather than for what they’ve done? Shining the light of your “regret” on the feelings of others instead of what you did just adds you to the list of all the other passive-aggressive douchebags to ever plague our planet.)

It would have been just as lazy, unfunny, and offensive if the policeman had been shown saying the same thing after shooting a Muslim television CEO. And why wasn’t that the depiction? Would it have been offensive to the CEO's victim? Or has not enough time passed since the Muslim cartoon debacle?

C’mon, you remember what that was all about, right? Americans went high and to the right to defend the cartoonist. Maybe that’s because the majority of those he offended weren’t American, and none of them were laid up in a hospital hoping for a face transplant and incapable of saying, “What the fuck?!”

The historically racist comparison of a black man to a primate is so blatant it’s simply impossible to believe the cartoonist (and his editor) didn’t realize it would be taken that way. It’s not just offensive, it’s insulting that the Post could expect it would be taken as anything else. A pot shot at the poorly-written stimulus bill and not the person who helped write it? What-freakin’-ever.

It’s never funny to insinuate the assassination of a president, but if that’s where we’re at then we should have been privy to a cartoon of a weasel getting shot in the Oval Office a year ago. (True, no one had been attacked by a weasel, but my god, is that really necessary to make it “funny”?) Denying the intention behind using a primate to satirize President Obama is the only laughable thing about the cartoon.

There is still the unbelievably tasteless and under-addressed issue of using one woman’s ungodly suffering as a joke. The only other person I know of who has even mentioned this is cartoonist Chip Bok. (Don’t remember him? Funny, since I already mentioned him in passing. You’re not going to remember Delonas in a few years, either.)

Bok said, "A woman was terribly mauled and almost killed. That's really the only grounds by which [my editors] would throw out a cartoon. When it involves somebody's life like that, I would tend to stay away from it." Bok drew the 2006 cartoon of the prophet Mohammed with a bomb crafted out of his turban. It was published in the Akron Beacon Journal.

Citing editors and the post-9/11 climate for having dumbed down cartoon satire to the point that all we have left to choose from are piles of unimaginative tripe is as thinly veiled an attempt around the controversy as was the thinly veiled shot at Obama.

Finally, Delonas’ cartoon was just stupid. It should have offended anyone with a sense of humor. Why no stampede of America’s comedians? Slackers.

It must be noted, for those who have forgotten, that Americans have the right to express themselves however they want as long as it doesn’t impede anyone else’s right to the same. Delonas’ cartoon impeded no one and neither did his editor by giving the go-ahead, evidenced by the uproar and outrage of those offended by it.

Delonas and his editor did, however, once again illustrate one of the advantages of a free society: precise identification of a racist asswipe. Worse than losing any job, that’s a professional tattoo he’ll have to wear for the rest of his life.

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About Diana Hartman

Diana is a USMC (ret.) spouse, mother of three and a Wichita, Kansas native. She is back in the United States after 10 years in Germany. She is a contributing author to Holiday Writes. She hates liver & motivational speakers. She loves science & naps.
  • Lee

    I am so tired of people that are continuously “offended”! Anyone but the most immature and chronically “offended” buffoon, or some political hack with an ax to grind or the feeling there is some money or power to be had understands that the cartoon simply is saying that the “bailout” bill is so bad it must have been written by someone or something less than a genius! Since our congress and not our president wrote it, it simply ties one tragic current event with another with a little humor! You continually offended make me crazy! I could scream!

  • Miss Diana- I question your premise that we should all be censoring ourselves based on the worst way that anyone could decide to take what we write or draw. Then you jump from there to simply declaring Delonas a “racist.” That’s a pretty damned rough charge to be laying on someone over this bit of nothing.

    Not that details or nuance will mean anything to people who are pre-determined to be offended, but a couple of little bitty points regarding the cartoon. 1)The chimp looked nothing like Obama. He could have at least given him big ears or something if that was the intended representation. 2)Obama famously did not write the stimulus bill, but left that up to Democrats in Congress. So by rights, the chimp would represent Pelosi and Reid.

    It’s entirely possible and seems likely Delonas thinking went out of control chimp = out of control spending bill. Then it might likely occur that someone could decide to make a racial thing out of it, but chose to disregard that as not his intent and not wanting to be cowed by the PC police.

    I mean, what the hell good is a PC political cartoonist who’s afraid of the possibility of offending anyone?

  • It only takes a look at Delonas’s other cartoons to get a pretty good idea of his world view.

    None of his cartoons are the least bit funny. There are plenty of sick, harsh jokes and cartoons that really are funny, but that requires wit, and Delonas is singularly witless.

    You could change your evaluation of the racial intent of the cartoon from “obviously racist” to “maybe, maybe not” — and it would still be a hateful piece of garbage. But the racial and homophobic intent of his earlier drawings is not in the least ambiguous.

    No one is calling for censorship. But he has certainly earned every ounce of the scorn and ridicule he is receiving.

  • I notice that Miss Diana is equally ridiculing Chip Bok for a drawing of Mohammud with a bomb in the turban. I’m not familiar with that one, but the famous one was by Kurt Westergaard – one of the famous Danish cartoons which resulted in riots and murders by members of the Religion of Peace for suggesting that their religion was somehow relatd to crazy violence.

    I don’t know that Delonas is anything particularly special as an artist, nor would I claim that his chimp cartoon was particularly clever and insightful. But the Westergaard drawing in particular was exactly right and needed to be said, and needs to be said a thousand different ways.

  • Al, that wasn’t why they rioted. They rioted simply because someone had the temerity to make a depiction of the Prophet and worse still, did it mockingly in the form of a cartoon.

  • HJ

    “it’s simply impossible to believe the cartoonist (and his editor) didn’t realize it would be taken that way”

    What?! It’s simply impossible to believe that they DID know it would be taken that way!

    Would they knowingly bring this kind of wrath down on themselves? Would they knowingly throw their careers down the toilet? Why the heck would they do that? Do you know how many editors must have given the cartoon a pass? Certainly more than one.

    You are not thinking clearly. It’s a little amazing no one considered the racist interpretation, but it’s also obvious that that’s exactly what happened.

  • Cindy

    Would they knowingly bring this kind of wrath down on themselves?

    Indubitably. The Post and the cartoonist both have a history of doing this.

    It’s often dangerous to just make presumptions.

  • This cartoon was at best a poorly executed bad idea. I suppose it’s all been said. The damn thing just has no particular redeeming value.

    It’s not funny. It has all kinds of associations that damn well should have been obvious to both the cartoonist and his editor(s).

    The Post has always been a veritable rats nest of poor taste and repeated editorial ineptitude.

    And, yes, to take what was a tragic and horrific event so soon after and attempt to make something humorous out of it is not just insensitive, but stupid. We certainly didn’t see any cartoons depicting people jumping from the WTC in the days following 9/11 – at least not in the MSM. It’s not simply a question of what is or isn’t PC. It is a question of what is appropriate. Delonas’ cartoon was not.