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Michael Shaw

Michael Shaw

Posted February 19, 2009 | 05:09 AM (EST)

Reading The Pictures: Killing That Little Monkey



Delonas NYPost Kill Monkey.jpg

1. The buck(shot) stops here? Well obviously it likens Obama to a monkey, playing on a long-standing African-American racist slur.

2. The cartoon is tying three things together (a real dying economy, a real monkey that ran amok in Connecticut the other day, and the racist stereotype of animalistic tendencies in blacks) to anticipate a recession-driven increase in crime and the need (paging Giuliani!) for some good old right-wing law-and-order. Yeah, two white cops. (Of course, this would have nothing to do with Eric Holder taking over the Justice Department and, among other things, bringing a critical eye to the prison-industrial complex, or more simply, the incarceration of black males for minor drug offenses.) ...Economy in meltdown (perpetrated by white guys on Wall Street)? Play the fear card.

3. To the extent Bush was widely and broadly identified with the chimp (1, 2, 3, etc.), not to mention his role in the historic destruction of the American economy, another insidious thing the image does -- in proposing/swapping Obama for The Chimpster -- is to start to undo the Bush association.

4. And then, from a different angle, there is this from a reader of mine ID'd as "tanker":


"This is more about the conservative worldview then racism. They really think that people hate the stimulus bill and view it as an abomination and a disaster. thus the cartoonist thinks people will get the joke that this thing must've been written by a crazed chimp. Get it? Of course not, because the vast majority of people view the stimulus bill as at least a mainstream idea, if not perfect. To most of us, the joke doesn't make sense, so we immediately assume the chimp is obama. I think this just shows that the cartoonist failed utterly because he's a biased wingnust and sucks at his job, not that he's racist."


For more visual politics, visit BAGnewsNotes.com (and BAGnewsNotes @Twitter).

(cartoon: Delonas for Wednesday February 18, 2009. NY Post)