Vox Populi: The O'Shaughnessy Files

By William O’Shaughnessy | Go to book overview

THE post CARTOON

You’re reading this commentary for the first time. I held
this piece because I didn’t want to add to the
misunderstanding about a controversial cartoon in the
New York Post that many thought likened the president to a
monkey. I’m absolutely convinced there was no malice involved.
Fortunately, others agreed and cooler heads prevailed. The Post
is a valuable and important voice in the lives of all New
Yorkers. Its independence and irreverence are worthy of our
respect, protection, and encouragement. Here is the commentary
we broadcast on March 4, 2009.

The contretemps over the Sean Delonas cartoon in the New York Post is winding down. It’s about time.

The whole thing is bewildering to those who never actually saw the correlation between the poor, crazed ape who was put out of his misery last week up in Connecticut and the geniuses who hastily assembled the stimulus package in Washington.

It was suggested by one of our listeners that maybe, just maybe, the cartoonist was trying to illustrate the ancient concept of inevitability or “randomness,” as reflected in the timeworn notion that if you put one thousand monkeys in a room and give them IBM typewriters, sooner or later they’ll produce the entire works of Shakespeare.

I don’t know who came up with that novel idea in the first place. But perhaps, just maybe, the illustrator had something akin to that in the back of his mind as he sat over his drawing board.

Anyway, it didn’t work. Call it a misunderstanding. Call it a misfire. The cartoon was wide of the mark. And it wasn’t funny.

It may even have been somewhat stupid. But it sure wasn’t racist. It is one hell of a stretch to suggest that it was an attack on President Obama, or designed to insult any African American, for that matter.

A cartoon is meant as social commentary to poke fun at our foibles, to tilt at windmills, and to illustrate our posturing and pretensions with wit and humor.

-106-

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