Friday, March 27, 2009

When cartoonists attack

It's not just the Korea Times cartoonist who some folks think is a "jerkoff" with bad taste. The Simon Wiesenthal Center is denouncing the cartoon below, drawn by Pulitzer Prize-winning American political cartoonist Pat Oliphant (whose recent cartoons can be found here).

Given the sheer enormity of Nazi destruction of the Jewish diaspora in Europe, it's easy to understand why comparisons with Nazi imagery (like a goose-stepping soldier) would make people uneasy or even angry. On the other hand, the treatment of Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank easily invite comparisons of South African Apartheid, US treatment of Native Americans, or the Nazi-enforced European ghettos of World War II.

Pat Oliphant is no stranger to controversy over what some describe as racial/ethnic caricature. In 2001, at the height of tensions between Beijing and Washington over the crash landing of a US spy plane on Hainan Island, after which the crew (all of whom survived) were detained, Oliphant drew a cartoon that the Asian American Journalists Association said "crossed the line from acerbic depiction to racial caricature." Among other things, it depicted a mad Chinese man screaming "Lotten Amellican!" Ah, good times.

Well, in the end I suppose it's all good. Freedom of speech for the press means freedom of speech for the public to complain.

1 comment:

  1. i actually think the korea times' editorial cartoons are pretty brilliant, esp. when they're at their most misanthropic.


Share your thoughts, but please be kind and respectful. My mom reads this blog.