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February 19, 2009

Follow-Up On Delonas Chimp Cartoon

Since posting yesterday on Sean Delonas' chimp/stimulus mash-up, news and opinion articles have swollen from four to over a thousand, most of which are nearly as depressing as the cartoon itself. I'm not even sure what to do with responses like this article at Editor & Publisher, which notes that Delonas was accused of plagiarizing a cartoon last year, which has about as much to do with this cartoon as reporting he has bad breath or kicked his dog once. Pretty typical was this Newsday blog posting that called the whole affair a sad joke, and invoked Al Sharpton's involvement as a sign this was a media ploy on the part of the complainers.

If you just have a minute or so, Poynter Online has an effective wrap-up. I agree with Ted Rall's general opinion as expressed in that article. Delonas' cartoon is not to my mind overtly racist in a way that it allows us to see into the cartoonist's heart and state with conviction what's there. His history of making cartoons seemingly designed to upset gay people might influence you to lean one way over another when ascribing motivations to this one, but nothing's certain. I think with a lot more clarity you can see this effort as a cartoon of dubious value that allows us to question the cartoonist's decision-making process. The decision to publish it enables us to ask additional questions, this time of Delonas' employers, who seemed to think entirely in terms of "those guys that wrote the stimulus bill must be chimps" and never in terms of "whoa, did he just compare the first black president to a chimpanzee?" This fairly boggles the mind, and I don't understand why the first response when people complained isn't "Really? Yikes. Yeah, I probably should have seen that."

If you have a little more time, I thought that Darrin Bell and Cory Thomas had smart things to say on this Daily Cartoonist thread. Mike Lester, not so much.
posted 7:05 am PST | Permalink

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