May 25, 2016
Zapiro Slammed For Monkey Grinder Cartoon; Tells Press That The Depiction Was A Mistake
I sort of get why editorial cartoonists remain attracted to the monkey grinder metaphor. It's visually odd, and the message is clear: this person is in service to the other person in a crass way. It thus can be used in a way that's critical of the monkey, critical of the grinder and/or critical of the entire monkey-grinder enterprise of pulling money from pockets via base appeal.
It's also, by general cultural agreement, deeply fucked up to depict anyone as a monkey, a billion times more so when that person is black, as is the case with political appointee Shaun Abrahams
. It's hard for me to fathom that someone that is as generally astute and knowledgeable about the savage elements of visual metaphor as South African's institution of a cartoonist Zapiro
could do this, or that any editor of an African newspaper wouldn't jump into the presses to stop it coming out. Zapiro concedes it's a mistake, which, um, yeah
. My cursory reading of the backlash is that this so completely dunderheaded there's little chance that the cartoonist tried to slip one by or get it out there in a way that a retraction would cover his ass once that point was made (the way a TV lawyer might slip out banned information in front of a jury and then withdraw). Zapiro's own explanation seems to promote artistic hubris as the cause.
It's always seemed to me that Zapiro has a significant amount of goodwill built up with his readers, which has enabled him to pound on certain political issues in a way that would be difficult for others to pull off. I imagine this has a chance of wiping out vast reserves of it with a lot of people. At this point, the only things to do are listen and learn.
posted 11:25 pm PST
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