Magazine article Editor & Publisher

UPDATED: Cartoonists Not Fond of Obama Art on 'New Yorker' Cover

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

UPDATED: Cartoonists Not Fond of Obama Art on 'New Yorker' Cover

Article excerpt

Barry Blitt's satirical July 21 New Yorker magazine cover showing a Muslim Barack Obama and a gun-toting Michelle Obama is not getting rave reviews from other artists contacted by E&P.

Association of American Editorial Cartoonists President (AAEC) Nick Anderson said he understood what Blitt was trying to do (show how the Obamas are perceived by some people, not as they really are). But he noted that the cartoon was done "clumsily."

The Houston Chronicle/Washington Post Writers Group (WPWG) creator added that it would have helped if the cover art had a title such as "The Politics of Fear," or showed enemies of Obama painting or imagining the picture.

AAEC President-Elect Ted Rall said "everyone with two brain cells to rub together gets" Blitt's cartoon, but the drawing is "shallow and non-contextual."

"If The New Yorker wants to get into the political cartoon business, it ought to hire some political cartoonists," added Rall. "Until they hire some smart editors, The New Yorker ought to stick to what they do well: gag panels about Upper East Siders at cocktail parties."

The Universal Press Syndicate cartoonist also criticized the "dull, Taliban-like humorlessness" of the Obama and McCain campaigns, which both decried Blitt's cover. "Will the two candidates ban sarcasm if they win?," quipped Rall, who's also acquisition and development editor at United Media.

Philadelphia Daily News/WPWG editorial cartoonist Signe Wilkinson's first reaction to E&P's query was: "If you're spending time on this, it must be summer!" Then Wilkinson, who also does the "Family Tree" comic for United, added: "After the obligatory 'tasteless and offensive' huffing and puffing, Obama strategist David Axelrod said they weren't going to be spending a lot of time on it. I would recommend that the rest of the media do as David Axelrod does. It's satire."

Ann Telnaes, whose work includes animated political cartoons for, said: "I think people need to get a grip. The cover was meant to be a satirical comment on the rumors about Obama's religion and so-called lack of patriotism."

She added that there are more important things to get outraged about. "Just this morning I read a Wall Street Journal article about the Dutch cartoonist who was jailed and his computer and sketchbooks confiscated because his work was considered offensive by the government," Telnaes noted by way of example.

Scott Stantis -- who does editorial cartoons for The Birmingham (Ala. …

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