There’s a whole lotta hoo-ha over this cartoon from the New York Post.
The allegations are that the cartoon is racist; that the monkey is representative of Obama and that it calls into play issues of police violence against black men and a history in this country of referring to blacks as monkeys.
I get all that – I really do – but I DON’T see this as a pointed attack on Obama. Sure, I don’t think it’s a great leap to see the comic as having racist undertones, but taken with some modicum of thought, the comic comes off as decidedly unremarkable, not particularly funny or ironic, and certainly not worthy of all the attention being paid to it.
If you get enough monkeys in a room full of typewriters, the theory goes, one of ’em’s going to come up with Shakespeare (or, you know, a stimulus package). Bush was blatantly compared to monkeys all the time. I’ve heard Congress referred to as a bunch of baboons more than once. I seriously doubt the artist intended the comic to be racist (though, of course, not knowing the artist, I can’t say with any authority WHAT s/he was thinking) but, as a consumer of this comic, I can say for sure that “racist” wasn’t the first place I went with it.
*Edited to include: Okay, I’ve been doing some reading. While I still don’t think that the cartoon deserves the vehemence it’s receiving, this helped me to understand a bit better what the discussion is really about….