Wednesday, March 25, 2009

I'm curious what the critics of Pat Oliphant's cartoon said about the Muhammad cartoons when they came out

That is, if they rushed out and said that these too should not be published because they were inflammatory and embodied racist stereotypes.

The Oliphant cartoon in question is this:



I'm well aware of the potential offensiveness of it, but it would strike me as rather odd if the ADL and folks associated with them took umbrage at it while remaining silent on the Danish cartoons. One of the charges that's been labeled against Jews by anti-semites is that they only care about their own interests and don't really give a damn about anyone else's. Let's hope that the folks who criticize this cartoon stick up for a universal conception of what's right or wrong for comics to contain and not fall into helping reinforce a bad stereotype.

Otherwise, they really would not have any credibility. Especially since this cartoon deals with the slaughter of over 1300 people in Gaza.

*on edit: a slaughter that miraculously ended several days before Obama assumed the Presidency. Funny how that happened.

*on edit 2: maybe I should explain myself more. One of the things that gives groups like the NAACP legitimacy is their moral stance on issues. They don't automatically approve of everything that their group does, or go to bat for anyone that has problems regardless of the cloudiness and ambiguity of the situation. If they did, they'd transform themselves from being civil rights organizations to being narrow lobbying groups like the National Association of Manufacturers, who are paid to put a good spin on anything that their members do, no matter what it is. Hopefully, the groups upset about this cartoon, which deals with over 1300 people being killed and the U.S.' silence on it, unique in the world, look at the conflict with a moral lens as well and don't just rubber stamp killings because the state connected to their interest group did them. If not, they shouldn't be regarded with any more consideration than the tobacco lobby. Which isn't to say that they should automatically come down on the Palestinian side, but to suggest that having no considered opinion about these things undermines their moral legitimacy in the extreme and also sheds doubt on the validity of things like their objections to this cartoon.

1 comment:

Peter said...

My chief objection that - and the one that I think is the essence of many people's objection to this cartoon - is the use of Nazi like imagery as a way of condemning Israeli actions in Gaza. The violence of the Israelis cannot be compared in numbers, brutality, or rationale to those of the Nazis. It is this perverse use of the imagery that is so galling. I know that Oliphant would probably say that this was intentional - but then i would question the lens through which he views history.