[Foundation-l] Racism in Commons

Ray Saintonge saintonge at telus.net
Thu Dec 6 18:01:55 UTC 2007

Tony Wills wrote:
> The main POV pushing here is to call all these cartoons racist.  It would
> seem clear that the Ariel cartoons are on the face of it against Ariel
> Sharon and his policies/actions.  To see Ariel Sharon as being used as a
> proxy for the Israeli nation, or Jews is an interpretation that requires
> input from the viewers POV.
During his time he would be less a proxy for the Israeli nation or Jews 
in general than for the Israeli state.  The more thoughtful among us can 
often see that there is a big difference between the will of the state 
and the will of the general population.
> I would have thought the main problem with a lot of Bush and Sharon cartoons
> would be a question of defamation.  But then if you take the POV that they
> are actually about a whole nation or its peoples, then perhaps you can not
> argue that one ;-).
Being the head of a country changes the game.  What is acceptably said 
about a leader cannot be said about a private citizen.
> I would like to see the cartoons with useful descriptions putting them in
> context, when were they produced, in response to what news, actions etc.
> Looking at political cartoons in isolation makes no sense.
This is the most important point that you make.  Such cartoons tend to 
be meaningful only in a contemporary context. By the time the next 
generation comes along the allusions to historical events will be lost.  
While Hitler, like Napoleon, was endowed with a richly caricaturisable 
image and a long lasting impact, most of us would not recognize 
caricatures of Kaiser Wilhelm.  How many of us would recognize any 
political cartoons concerning the occupation of Mexico City by U.S. 
troops during the Polk administration?  Gulliver's Travels is now mostly 
a funny story, and the subjects of its parody are long forgotten.  Even 
with the recent Danish cartoons it would be difficult to know that 
Mohamed, rather than some generic Muslim, was being portrayed without 
being told so.


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