To follow up on my "Animal + Crackers" post on Saturday, the one aspect of the whole ugly chimp story that I didn't touch upon, of course, was the whole ugly New York Sun cartoon that followed, and has been the subject of liberal outrage all week long.
So, what I want to know is: is it really racism or just a cynical ploy to get enough people talking so that the paper doesn't go the way of the Philadelphia Inquirer?
Probably a little bit of both, frankly. Certainly, it is racially tinged. Frankly, all of the arguments I've heard claiming that the cartoon isn't racist have fallen flatter than a souffle baked by a drunken Julia Child on a five-o'clock-in-the-morning bender.
I mean, come on. Yes, the stimulus bill wasn't written by Obama, but he's more closely associated to that package than John Holmes was associated with his package.
That's all well and good, but then the question becomes: should there be prohibitions against this sort of hatespeak?
In my mind, the answer is, naturally, of course not! This is a country founded on free speech, after all, and although the appearance of smoking guns used to "kill the monkey" in the cartoon is a bit unsettling, I do think it's a bit of a stretch to suggest that the author's intent was to encourage an act of violence against the President.
Besides, frankly, I tend to look at it as a sort of desperate last gasp on the part of conservative white Americans who harbor resentment toward the fact that "that man" is in the White House. A decade from now, when Obama's presidency is being viewed from the rear view mirror, this sort of idiocy will have long been forgotten.
Here's why I say this: when Obama was running for the Democratic nomination, all I heard from a small faction of friends was, "He'll never be nominated, because too many white people are secretly racist, especially in the South, and they'll vote for Hillary."
Then, when he became the Democratic presidential nominee, I heard, "He'll never become president, because too many white people are secretly racist, especially in the South, and they'll vote for McCain."
Then, when he became President, by an incredibly large majority of voters, I heard people say, "Well, he'll never see through his term, because something bad's going to happen to him."
All of those predictions have been, and will be, proven false. And the question I've asked myself, on more than one occasion is, why, from some seemingly very open-minded friends of mine, did I hear such dire predictions? My friends aren't usually from the right, so why are these liberal-leaning folks so sure they know the darkness that's apparently in the white man's heart?
Clearly, they didn't give the American Everyman enough credit. And if they weren't, imagine how the right must feel.
So, what's left? Pathetic last gasps such as the one seen in this New York Post cartoon. There may be more to come.
That's all it is, however...grumblings from the acidy stomach of nasty small-minded conservatives.
My best recommendation is to simply ignore it, and it will go away. Don't worry, it'll pass. The wicked witch will disappear with a splash and a hiss.
Making too much of a big deal about things such as this is exactly what "those kind" want. It's what this cartoonist wants, because it means he's being seen. It's what Ann Coulter wants, because it helps to call attention to her. It's what Rush Limbaugh wants, because it means ratings.
Nah, America's too smart for that, now. Best to simply move on, and focus on something else. Their time has passed.