Thursday, February 19, 2009

Delonas' Dead Chimp Cartoon: Who's Making A Monkee Out Of Whom?

This cartoon by Sean Delonas caused an uproar on Wednesday:

The Huffington Post seems representative of the general reaction:
A cartoon likening the author of the stimulus bill, perhaps President Barack Obama, with a rabid chimpanzee graced the pages of the New York Post on Wednesday.

The drawing, from famed cartoonist Sean Delonas, is rife with violent imagery and racial undertones. In it, two befuddled-looking police officers holding guns look over the dead and bleeding chimpanzee that attacked a woman in Stamford, Connecticut.
At least in the last paragraph, the more benign explanation is (begrudgingly) offered:
At its most benign, the cartoon suggests that the stimulus bill was so bad, monkeys may as well have written it.

This outcry is reminiscent of the (over)reaction to a comment made by Howard Cosell when, during a Monday Night Football telecast in September 1983, he said "look at that little monkey go", in reference to a play by black wide receiver Alvin Garrett of the Washington Redskins.

The Washington Post notes that there was less to Cosell's remark than meets the eye:
He said at the time he used the expression as a term of endearment, that he called his own grandchildren little monkeys all the time and had said it before on the air. In fact, in a 1972 telecast, he had also described Mike Adamle, a Caucasian running back for the Kansas City Chiefs, as a "little monkey" during the broadcast.
In both cases, the damage has already been done. Sharpton has jumped on board with a condemnation. Apparently, no one cares that it was Pelosi and not Obama who was behind the writing of the bill. More than that--Sharpton claims:
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.
If you want to go by history, both the Koran and the Nazis use the image of the monkey to diaparage others.

Apparently, people also don't care about all presidents who are compared to monkeys either.
I don't recall the outrage at the many cartoons, graphics and even teeshirts comparing President Bush to monkeys. 

Do you?

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