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February 26, 2014

Distressing Mark Zuckerberg Cartoon Draws Criticism For Anti-Semitic Elements; Cartoonist Apologizes

imageKate Lyons at the Daily Mail has a very good write-up here on the German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung running a cartoon of Mark Zuckerberg last week with two alarming elements: a caricature that included a giant nose for a person that doesn't have a giant nose but was raised Jewish, where a giant nose is ugly caricature shorthand, a concept that had Zuckerberg's Facebook take the form of an octopus, which is an historical depiction of Jewish control. The cartoonist Burkhard Mohr apologized and created a strange, facelss cartoon. Lyons smartly notes that the paper ran a distressing-in-the-same-way cartoon recently and that the octopus image does indeed have a wide application as a metaphor for business or political entities believed to be out of control or otherwise having their hands on various elements of society and culture.

The distressing thing with stories like this isn't the gotcha aspect but the team element of the publication of such things, that there wasn't one person in the course of events from the news story being portrayed to the publication of the cartoon sensitive to such broad issues of portrayal that might question the wisdom of a Jewish person being depicted as a big-nosed octopus in a German newspaper. That kind of systemic failure seems way more important and frightening than the kind of blurting of something dumb on twitter or in an interview that drives a lot of moral outrage these days.
posted 2:15 am PST | Permalink

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