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October 2, 2014

Boston Herald Apologizes For Ludicrous, Idiotic Cartoon


This may be the ultimate "there it is" news story of recent vintage, as I have no idea how to approach it in a serious fashion except to point at it and stare at it and marvel at the dumbassery of its existence.

The newspaper has apologized for the publication of a cartoon about the recent lapses in presidential personal security that included a reference to watermelon-flavored toothpaste. The cartoonist, Jerry Holbert, has protested that it was meant in completely innocent fashion.

This kind of thing does happen. I was in a play once with a child actor who improvised a line about red lights in the window without knowing the "red light district" connotation. But you know what? That was a child. The thought that a grown man doesn't know this connotation boggles the mind, and the thought that a newspaper run by people that traffic in information are so bereft of basic cultural knowledge -- we knew of this insult when I was in elementary school, and it's been back in currency as a thing to avoid since Tiger Woods first won the Masters -- that they also had no idea about this further baffles. The only thing more ridiculous is the thought that someone might think they could take a blunt, racist shot without any blowback, so a kind of privileged cultural aphasia is what's left.

It's also important because there's definitely a racist element to the presidential protection story, in that there's a significant level of distrust that President Obama receives the same protection as past, white presidents. I can't imagine that to be true, but I know it's a thought that folks have. This means an editorial or editorial cartoon on this topic should have been screened with racist connotation in mind.

I would like to see more cringing in horror at the unlikely accident of circumstances than protestations of innocence, but maybe that's just me.

Entertainer and longtime devoted fan of the cartooning arts Whoopi Goldberg gave the artist the benefit of the doubt.
posted 11:55 pm PST | Permalink

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