Thursday, February 02, 2006

The WaPo Cartoon 
Several people have emailed me asking for my take on the Washington Post cartoon that prompted a written protest from all the members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Sorry, gang, but I just can't bring myself to muster a lot of outrage here.

Sure, it was tasteless. And that tastelessness is compounded by the fact that the WaPo is the hometown newspaper for a lot of military people, and the hometown paper to Walter Reed Medical Center.

I don't think it was anywhere near as tasteless as some of Ted Rall's stuff - and while I agree with Rumsfeld concerning the overall state of the Army, I thought the subject matter was a legitimate point for satire.

More broadly, I think any political humorist should be willing to alienate or offend anybody at any time. Our wounded warriors deserve to be treated with respect - and all human beings ought to be able to feel some empathy. And yes, the Post crossed the line.

But political cartoonists ought to be edgy. I'd rather they were edgy - and even offended me once in a while - than boring.

It's ironic to note that the Malkinites and the rest of the right wing of the blogosphere are simultaneously up in arms about this cartoon and the protests over the likeness of Mohammad depicted in a cartoon in Denmark - and take precisely the opposite position on each one.

Mohammed is not a sacred cow. And neither are amputees.

I myself have had fun at the expense of amputees on this very forum. More than once. I've been deliberately provocative many times, particularly in the Countercolumn News Ticker. I expected reams of hate mail. But I never got any. The response was overwhelmingly positive.

For me to go off in a rage over Tom Toles' cartoon after I've run fake headlines about how nobody at the Quadriplegic Veterans Association of America seems to be picking up the phone, and how their board meetings "descend into acrimony, stump-pointing" would simply be hypocritical.

And I did so for cheap laughs! I can't lay claim to illustrating some larger truth about readiness - at least in those headlines.

Tom Toles went over the line, maybe.

I forgive him.

Once in a while, you gotta cut people a little slack.

And with that I'll get off my stump.

Splash, out



With all possible respect: You sick bastard!


STG2(SW) Lasswell
I pretty much agree. There's such a heightened watchdog sensitivity right now in the blogosphere that even crappy cartoons make the radar and the attackers start shooting bugs with missiles.

Also, being an artist, I have no qualms with people displaying shitty art, including shitty political cartoons. I think most soldiers are secure enough in themselves to dismiss this particular cartoon.

However, like you, I feel Ted Rall is probably the worst.
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