Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary

June 2, 2014

A Note Or Two On The South African Clowns Cartoon


A cartoon by the South African team of Dr. Jack and Curtis depicting members of the ANC and the electorate that put them into office as clowns has hit enough of a nerve through accusations of racism to kind of roll back and force across that country's political landscape like an undulating wave through a concrete and suspension bridge. You can see the cartoon up at the cartoonists' site here, as well as the reason it was put back up after being taken down -- I am supportive of even the most offensive cartoons being reposted when their content becomes news, not matter how much that content may dismay. There are a bunch of summary articles like this one here. There was a small protest. In addition to just having the voting bloc -- most of whom are black -- depicted as clowns, the way they're depicted as dark and the misspelling involved in their caption seems to be driving the complaints. The cartoonists involved appear to be white.

The esteemed political cartoonist of that area of the world, Zapiro, doesn't like the cartoon either but issued a warning over moving too far in the other direction so as to cede control of expression in the press to the ANC or other political parties. Given how he has suffered criticism and legal action, I would say that's a legitimate concern for him to express. One interesting aspect to this I noticed, and this could have been just luck on my end, is that a lot of the articles don't mention the cartoon at all but talk about it being an expression of the media company involved.
posted 11:55 am PST | Permalink

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