Friday, February 20, 2009

"The New York Post" Just Doesn't Get It

On Wednesday, The New York Post printed this cartoon on page 6:


This morning, The Post printed this half-assed apology and offered an explanation of what they think they meant to say:
Wednesday's Page Six cartoon - caricaturing Monday's police shooting of a chimpanzee in Connecticut - has created considerable controversy.

It shows two police officers standing over the chimp's body: "They'll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill," one officer says.

It was meant to mock an ineptly written federal stimulus bill.


But it has been taken as something else - as a depiction of President Obama, as a thinly veiled expression of racism.

This most certainly was not its intent; to those who were offended by the image, we apologize.

However, there are some in the media and in public life who have had differences with The Post in the past - and they see the incident as an opportunity for payback.

To them, no apology is due.
But lest there is any ambiguity about what they did, let us be absolutely clear:

1. Two white policemen, suggesting powerful people who are WHITE people,
2. Shooting (assassination is something I think all of us who love Obama deeply fear)
3. a chimpanzee (an historically dehumanizing racial epithet)
4. while suggesting in the caption that the monkey is the President
5. and implicitly suggesting that killing the monkey is some kind of solution to an ambiguously defined problem.

This is the sort of calumny that existed in Jim Crow days. The reversion to overt expression of this kind of psychological imagery at the beginning of the 21st century is incredibly disturbing.


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