Thursday, February 19, 2009

like putting lipstick on a chimpanzee

A few months ago, conservatives claimed Obama's "lipstick on a pig" remark was a sexist slap at Sarah Palin. Liberals and people of common sense rose up as one to say, justifiably, that the claim was absurd; just because you mention lipstick and a pig in mocking John McCain's claims of bringing change to Washington does not mean you are attacking a woman.

Now those same liberals who decried McCain's attacks on the lipstick remark as transparent political posturing are up in arms over a cartoon in the New York Post in which a chimp is said to have authored the stimulus package. Notorious opportunist Al Sharpton claims that the cartoon is a racist attack on Obama, and the liberal media has fallen in lockstep behind him.

But no, it's not. It is no more racist than Obama's lipstick remark was sexist. The cartoon isn't funny, or clever, and The Post is a right wing piece of shit, but that doesn't make the cartoon racist.

People are looking for subtleties in a cartoon devoid of any. The cartoonist just took his cue from the recent shooting of a chimpanzee gone mad and clearly meant to suggest nothing more than that the stimulus bill was a mess.

The chimp is not made to look like Obama, even though some headlines are describing it as Obama portrayed as a chimp. On the other hand, there is an entire website devoted to comparing George W. Bush to primates, and a cartoonist for the British paper the Guardian frequently presented Bush as an ape.

I suspect you could find a wealth of political humor over the decades comparing presidents with monkeys; the monkey/chimp/ape is often used to reference a lack of intelligence. Are monkeys now verboten from political humor because someone has decided they are racist? I would say any cartoonist that drew Obama as a monkey would just be asking for trouble, but are we now in a place where no monkey can appear in any cartoon referencing the Democrats?

I am disgusted by the hypocrisy of people defending Obama's lipstick remark and then turning around and attacking the Post for something quite similar. If it's wrong for one side to play these opportunistic games, then it is just as wrong for the other side to do it.