Results 1 to 2 of 2

Thread: Defenders of controversial chimp cartoon walk familiar, if dubious, line

  1. #1
    Elite Member celeb_2006's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    13,467

    Default Defenders of controversial chimp cartoon walk familiar, if dubious, line

    Monkey business / Defenders of controversial chimp cartoon walk familiar, if dubious, line


    "The cartoon, in the unlikely case you missed it, plays off the story of the pet chimpanzee that was shot by police after savagely attacking its owner's friend. A caption has one officer saying to his smoking-gun-wielding partner: "They'll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill."
    Given the context -- a large picture of Obama signing the current stimulus bill appears in the paper on the page immediately preceding it -- the furor among some African American groups regarding the cartoon's putatively racist "black man/ape" pairing is understandable.

    But what's really interesting is the posturing by those seeking to defend the Post. Their futile spin-doctoring demonstrates what I call the "Jackie Chan clock-tower stunt" school of rationalization.

    In his classic film "Project A," Chan plummets from a five-story clock tower, ripping through a series of cloth canopies before smashing painfully into the ground. Similarly, the cascade of justifications for the "Stimulus Chimp" cartoon has followed a consistent pattern:

    Canopy #1: Deny it. "We weren't being racist. Aren't you racist for suggesting we were?"
    Canopy #2: Diminish it. "It's just a joke. Can't you take a joke?"
    Canopy #3: Offer up false context. "It's meant to be subversive. Don't you get it? "
    Canopy #4: Hide behind the First Amendment. "People have a right to say what they want. Are you against free speech?"

    Most attempts to defend racially questionable actions end up tumbling through these rhetorical canopies, which collectively seek to turn the tables and cast victims as thin-skinned, humorless, unsophisticated and censorious.

    Consider this comment dismissing those offended by the "Stimulus Chimp" cartoon in response to a HuffingtonPost.com op-ed: "I am sorry that some of you [who are offended] do not have a basic understanding of how the government works. I am sorry that the education system failed to teach you ... I also apologize for your deep racism ... Oh yeah, I am also sorry that you lack a sense of humor."

    It's Not Me, It's You

    Statements like these ignore the fact that speech, even satirical speech, never takes place in a vacuum -- that meaning is shaped by context. So while some of the cartoon's defenders have pointed out that chimp imagery was used frequently to ridicule President Bush, this parallel ignores the troubling history of monkey-imagery in unapologetically racist depictions of blacks.

    "There's a long, abhorrent tradition of racial propaganda, of old monographs that showed pictures of Africans alongside apes and implied black people are closer to beasts than humans," says Gwen Sharp, assistant professor of sociology at Nevada State College and co-proprietor of the blog Sociological Images. "These had real consequences. They were used to rationalize policies like colonialism, even slavery. And that gives the invocation of these images a very different context—whether or not that invocation is intended."

    Perhaps intent is beside the point, says Helle Rytkonen, who teaches a seminar on humor, class, race and gender at Stanford University. "If you have the privilege of expressing yourself in public discourse, you also have the moral obligation to consider the perspective of your audience. If you aren't aware that there's a charged cultural backdrop to what you're saying, you're the one at fault."

  2. #2
    Elite Member kingcap72's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    10 miles from Pootie Tang
    Posts
    21,909

    Default

    "I am sorry that some of you [who are offended] do not have a basic understanding of how the government works. I am sorry that the education system failed to teach you ... I also apologize for your deep racism ... Oh yeah, I am also sorry that you lack a sense of humor."
    That's stupid and condescending at the same time.

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Similar Threads

  1. Replies: 127
    Last Post: February 21st, 2009, 11:05 AM
  2. Walk the Line
    By haggard in forum Television and Movies
    Replies: 32
    Last Post: June 9th, 2006, 10:16 AM
  3. Anne Hathaway @ Walk the Line NYC premiere 11/13
    By SVZ in forum Photo Archive
    Replies: 20
    Last Post: November 23rd, 2005, 11:54 AM
  4. Reese & Ryan @ Walk the Line premiere
    By SVZ in forum Photo Archive
    Replies: 21
    Last Post: November 7th, 2005, 12:09 PM
  5. Joaquin Phoenix @ Walk the Line premiere
    By SVZ in forum Photo Archive
    Replies: 13
    Last Post: November 6th, 2005, 05:17 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •