Anorak News | Taking Offence At The New Yorker Obama Cartoon

Taking Offence At The New Yorker Obama Cartoon

by | 17th, July 2008

THE New Yorker cartoon on Barack Obama – the one that only extremist Muslims would get angry about – causes cartoonists to comment:

STEVE Bell on that Barack Obama cartoon:

Irony is a difficult beast to control. Your intention as a cartoonist may be perfectly clear to you, but how some psycho in Toadsuck, Nebraska, is going to read your cartoon is anyone’s guess, and the psycho’s privilege, and you can never second guess a psycho, as was demonstrated in the Coen brothers’ film No Country for Old Men. Psychos tend to take things very literally and often carry around captive bolts powered by large canisters of compressed air, especially in the US.

So should we tread warily, lest we are misunderstood? Of course we should. Cartoonists are some of the most painstaking, careful, shy and sensitive people on earth, yet we do play with fire, toying with other people’s (and of course our own) most deeply held beliefs and most cherished illusions. Is it possible to go too far? Of course it is? Should we go too far? Of course we should. That’s what makes our job so interesting. There’s no better feeling than, having taken a risk in a drawing, seeing the thing in print and knowing it works. The converse is also true, which is why I work in a bunker on the south coast.


It succeeds in drawing international attention to the magazine. It succeeds in causing heated public debate with passionate arguments on both (or more) sides . Most interestingly though it succeeds in prompting a response from the Obama campaign team, which above anything else shows that they are genuinely concerned about the smears against him.

And Martin Rowson:

If I say you’ve said or drawn something offensive about me, it means that whatever you’ve produced is so beyond the boundaries of acceptable public discourse that you should never have done or said it in the first place. In other words, you must shut up and slink away in shame. I, therefore, win the argument, and that’s an end to it.

Touchiness is the modern malady…

Posted: 17th, July 2008 | In: Reviews Comment (1) | TrackBack | Permalink