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Smart Politics in Pictures and Words
Updated: 53 min 17 sec ago
I’ve been drawing Obama pretty much the same way since 2009. Interestingly, no one said boo until last week, when my usual cartoons about Obama’s lies — this one about his reneging on his pledge to pull all US troops out of Afghanistan by 2014 — hit a little too close to home for Daily Kos, a website run for the benefit of the Democratic Party.
A rabid subset of DNC Obamabots used Kos to spearhead a campaign smearing me as “racist” for drawing the president like a “monkey” or “gorilla” or “ape” or “simian.” Never mind that most people can’t see it because, after all, it isn’t true. They censored my cartoons anyway.
Fellow cartoonist Eric Millikin suggested that I find a drawing of how I actually draw monkeys so people could see for themselves that my Obama, though not pretty, is also no monkey.
This cartoon from 2009 is a riff on my MAD magazine comic strip Fantabulaman, which mocks the superhero format by positing a superhero who really does have no weaknesses — and is thus boring. MAD did an all-monkey issue, and this was my entry.
Note, the humans come off as less attractive than our simian cousins.
This should settle the matter once and for all — but I doubt it will. When haters wanna hate, they hate.
My new smiley-face version of Obama is leaving me with a sick feeling in my stomach. I’ve never given into censorship before, and I wonder if I’m making a mistake, even though it does make Obama look ridiculous — which he deserves. So I’m turning to you, my readers, to help me decide what to do.How Should Ted Rall Draw President Obama?Like beforeAs a smiley faceUsing his usual style, but uglierUsing his usual style, but more flatteringOther pollcode.com free polls
So I got this email from Adbusters Magazine this morning:
What made this crass attempt to commercialize the crashed-and-burned OWS movement even ickier was that it recently followed this:
When I asked how much writers would be paid for their 50-300 word intimate confessions of their deepest, darkest psychic and psychological secrets, the answer came back: “nothing.”
Let’s sum up: Adbusters wants us to pay them money. While they pay workers — and writers are workers, especially when they’re working for a magazine that retails for $12 — nothing.
Please explain: What, exactly, is the difference between the Koch Brothers and Adbusters? Answer: The Koch Brothers don’t expect workers to work for free.
If the publishers and editors of Adbusters didn’t pay themselves anything, I might not bring this up. But that’s not the case. Which means they’re exploiting writers — emotionally fragile writers to boot! — for their own gain. There were divisions within the movement, but everyone would agree that this is NOT what Occupy Wall Street was/is about.
This essay by Plexico Gingrich (real name? I know not) about Liberal Puritans explains the motivations and tactics of the identitarian censors at Daily Kos incredibly well. It’s a long read, but well worth it. A sample:
If you’re a Puritan, you want lots of very clear, easy to follow rules so that you have a clear path to superiority. This also makes it very easy for you to characterize others as operating in breach of the rules, and therefore being morally inferior to you. You don’t need to concern yourself with complexities like whether that person does more to improve the lives of others than you do. If they break the rules, they are bad. You follow the rules so you are good.
So “thou shalt not be racist,” as applied by the Liberal Puritan, doesn’t have much connection to stuff like the suffering of people in the real world. It is a game of “I am not a racist. Now let’s go find/invent some people who are racists, so that we can brand them as our inferiors, demonstrating how good we are by comparison.”
The Liberal Puritans don’t care about changing the world. They don’t care about drone murders, or Gitmo, or homelessness or, for that matter, real racism in the world — in prison, in the workplace, etc. They’re into playing “gotcha” politics over PC verbiage in order to destroy down the left heretics who are able to convincingly argue that Obama and the Democrats are not what they pretend to be: left, liberal, progressive, good.
On Twitter yesterday morning I saw that people were trolling me over cartoons I did in the 1990s. Two decades ago! And they weren’t talking about the political topic of the cartoons. They were picking apart the language and accusing me of being insensitive. For example, I’ve been accused of homophobia because I used the word “fag” in a cartoon. Never mind that the character in the cartoon who says the word is a homophobe, and that the cartoon attacks homophobia. That’s how crazy these witchhunters are. They literally turn the point around 180 degrees. Incredibly, a lot of people are stupid enough to fall for it.
Check out, for example this thread at Daily Kos: “Ted Rall is a RACIST. Undeniable evidence (part1).” The evidence pretended in this thread, as well as its followup Racism has no place on the left: Ted Rall edition (part2), is anything but “undeniable.” In fact, by the author’s fourth installment I’ve figured out Daily Kos (part 4 lol), even the militant Obamabots are turning against him. Yet in numbers 1, 2 and 3, numerous long-time Kos commenters are shouting hallelujahs and praise.
Note how dissent is repeatedly stifled and crushed by the Liberal Puritans at Kos. Also note how disinterested they are by actual political policy. They want to mandate codes of behavior (by me and others; they don’t adhere to them themselves) about speaking respectfully, etc.
No doubt, they’re crazy motherfuckers — not everyone at Kos, but certainly most of the loudest commenters. And crazy motherfuckers be dangerous.
DNC blog Daily Kos continuing its rabid campaign to censor critics of Obama. Check out this latest of perhaps 12 posts there. There’s more crazy illogic and smears in there than you’ll see all year. (I love how the “sample” of cartoons includes two by the same cartoonist. Wonder if the Kossacks can tell?)
P.S. I wouldn’t at all be surprised if this anonymous slime bucket were a white guy with an axe to grind…a certain serial identity thief, perhaps?
Check out the pretzel logic and intellectual dishonesty behind the Daily Kos Obama dead-enders in this latest, the 10th or so assault against me, there.
The comments thread is instructive. Note that when reasonable people drive trucks through the holes in their logic, they are ignored and insulted.
Nelson Mandela is credited for shepherding a peaceful transition from apartheid to a democratic South Africa. But his South Africa and his African National Congress were hardly democratic — and he left the essential work of the revolution unfinished. Today, poverty among blacks remains much higher than among whites. The system never really changed.
Many black South Africans are disillusioned by Mandela and his ANC government. Residents of the townships are suffering horribly, yet this “black” “democratic” government hasn’t done much more for them than the old apartheid regime. This was due to two terrible decisions by Mandela in 1994. First, he decided against seeking justice against the apartheid-era criminal whites. Obviously this was the result of pressure from the USA and the West. The ANC called it “reconciliation.” Others called it a sellout. These horrible murderers got away with murder. The lesson to the murderers of the future is, don’t worry, you won’t pay for your crimes.
Second, Mandela and the ANC decided not to implement the communist programme of their socialist and communist allies. Income and wealth redistribution were left on the table. The result is a South Africa that looks the same as before: rich whites, poor blacks. Heckuva job, Nelson.
The lionization of Mandela follows a familiar pattern. Radicals and revolutionaries who betray their former militancy to become accommodationist scoundrels win Nobel Peace Prizes, high office and nice tweets after their die. That’s why former “terrorists” like Mandela, Gerry Adams, Gandhi and Yassir Arafat who stop fighting for their causes and accept establishment sinecures get lionized. Those who hold firm and keep fighting for the people, like Malcolm X, are scorned — compared to the relatively safe/peaceful MLK. The media loves the sellouts, hates the heroes.
I am already being criticized for releasing today’s cartoon about Mandela’s unfinished work because it’s the “wrong time.” That’s what people always say about critical obituary cartoons. But that’s ridiculous. This is exactly the right, appropriate time to weigh Mandela’s life — the good and the bad.
Obituary cartoons have long been a bane of editorial cartooning. A famous person dies and appears at the pearly gates, being welcomed in some incredibly cheesy way to the hereafter. The message, such as it is, “this guy died and it is sad.”
I decided a while ago that obit cartoons could also be an opportunity to provide a corrective to the ocean of praise that follows a Great Man’s death. Reagan, for example, was a turd. Among other things, he intentionally starved AIDS research during the 1980s. So when he died, I showed him in hell.
That’s what today’s cartoon is about: a request that we think outside the box. My cartoon isn’t the full measure of Mandela. Neither are the ones that praise his resistance against apartheid before he sold out to become president. The full assessment will await his biographers. As usual, I’m simply pointing out: “Hey, there’s also some bad stuff here, and we should do something about those.”
Art: Frank Miller | Poster: Peter Brett
As we’ve seen since last week, it’s not just the Right who wants to censor outspoken cartoonists like me — self-described “liberals” and militant pro-Obama dead-end Democrats want to crush dissent.
These fascists will do and say anything to shut down opposition to Dear Leader — especially from the left, who are trying to hold Dems to their promises to the people, because we expose their bankruptcy. They’ll lie about me and my work. They smear me as racist, even though I’ve been fighting racism my entire life — not because it’s true, but because it’s a great way to make people like me shut up.
But I’m not shutting up.
And if you think this ends in 2016 with the end of Obama’s presidency, think again. If Hillary Rodham Clinton runs, they’ll smear progressive commentators as “sexist” for pointing out that she is a tool of the money classes, an oppressor and a warmonger.
Fortunately, there is something you can do. You can support my work and that of other hard-hitting cartoonists and writers who are refusing to be cowed by the pseudo-Dems’ bullshit.
That’s the flip side of the Great Print Media Meltdown. The good side. I’m no longer at the mercy of one or two editors. Now my career lives or dies based on direct support from you, the people. Subscribe to the Ted Rall Subscription Service and get my work before anyone else. Donate. Buy my books.
It’s not just me. But this week and probably this year, I’m the one who will be on the ropes, pummeled by the Daily Kos censors.
Thanks for reading.
When Obama began arming and financing the anti-Assad rebels in Syria, Assad and objective observers warned that the West would regret establishing an outpost of radical jihad in the Levant. Two years later, their worst predictions have come true â and Obama is considering reaching to Assad so he can kill the rebels who were armed and trained by the United States.
Alex_the_Tired here. Let’s see if the guest blogging thing is working.
Ted’s run into a little kerfuffle. I say “little kerfuffle” because I’m not the one being accused of being a racist sumbitch. What follows is me being just about as angry as I’m able to be on the printed page. I explain all that at the very end. So strap yourselves in.
Many of us have weighed in, and, earlier today, I was perusing the DK site, and I came across this turd. I reference it now because it, almost perfectly, ties in to something I was trying to express about three days ago.
Let me start with the title: “A short rant about the g*dd*mn cartoon, revisited”
That’s how it was typed at DK. “g*dd*mn”
One of the things I hated about the Harry Potter novels was how adults acted like scared little children quaking in their piss-soaked pants. What was the name for Voldemort? He had two: “You-Know-Who” and “He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.”
Let me see if I have it right. You can freeze people in their tracks with a giant toothpick and some fake Latin, and you’re scared to actually NAME someone?
Seriously. I want you to think about that for a minute. I mean, literally, take 60 full seconds to contemplate how idiotically, superstitiously cowardly someone has to be, how fundamentally childish in nature a person must be to be afraid of actually using a name. Isn’t it simply a giant cop-out?
“Oh, but wait,” I hear someone’s adenoidal whine. “Maybe they don’t want to use the L-rd’s N-me in v-in.”
Cut. The. Crap. I have zero, nada, no patience for someone who (falsely) asserts to be an adult and clings to some delusional, partial set of religious fantasies. Unless you’re advocating slavery, selling your daughters as chattel, avoiding clothes made of two fibers, etc., knock off this fetish-sickness about how G-d is sacred. It’s embarrassing. It betrays a cowardly infantile mindset. You want to be a craven little tremblebucket? Fine. Stay out of the deep water then. The adults are talking; know your place. Don’t demand that I play by your lobotomized set of rules, don’t demand a seat at the table, and don’t insist that you be taken seriously.
Now, let’s move on to the body.
Pretty much the entire post consists of a faulty premise slathered heavily with the misdirection of “my pain.” Mixed in with it is the tried (and tired) and true gimmick of dehumanizing the other side:
“People lack the ability to understand. People can’t place themselves in others shoes. They just don’t know how… They lack the genes, or whatever it is that allows people to feel the pain of another. They don’t care. Caring means feeling, feeling means understanding, understanding means standing in someones shoes. It takes imagination.”
Who, exactly, zhenren, the fuck do you think you are? How DARE you assume that I lack empathy. How DARE you de-humanize me in such an arbitrary fashion.
“What is the deepest pain you’ve ever felt? Maybe some physical pain, some break up with a mate, the death of a loved one. Multiply it by a hundred, no, a thousand… torture, endless work, dying under a whip, a noose, the slave ships, the horrors, the domination, endless years of it. Fuck me, do I have to explain this? Fuck…”
Well, “Fuck…” me, zhenren, were you a slave? Then where, exactly, do you get off vomiting all this? You presume, you arrogant nothing, to equate a “break up with a mate” to being whipped and being chained in the hold of a slave ship? Good God Almighty. You are absolutely sickening in your trivialization of slavery. Just. Sickening.
“Dehumanizing a figure with the stature of Obama offends people.”
Stop talking for the whole human race. Obama has NO stature in my estimation. How can I say that? Simple: he’s blown up children. Dropped drone bombs on them that has turned them into bits of bloody hamburger. That’s indefensible. Period. Full stop. Either defend — and agree — with the murder of children or have the basic human decency to shut you flapping mouth.
“Can white people imagine what it means to millions of African Americans to have waited for eons for the moment, the goddamn miracle in white society that enslaved them, when a black person becomes the President? Can any non-black person conceive of this? Remember Jesse Jackson’s tears when Obama became the President?”
Eons? Look it up in the dictionary. One of the standards of oratory (and if you bothered to read the speeches of MLK or Malcolm X — those are two black dudes — you’d have known this) is that you do not exaggerate facts. Lincoln (who wasn’t black — at least as far as we know) started off with “Four score and seven years ago,” not “billions and billions.” As soon as you stray from fact, you open a gap in your credibility.
“It’s all about the people. Mutual aid. I’ve cried tonight.”
I’m sorry, zhenren, but if you cried, you need help. You need psychological counseling and perhaps a few prescriptions. I really, really mean that.
“I have learned that I wasn’t alone, that the depictions have caused far more hurt and gut wrenching pain than I had understood.”
Zhenren. You haven’t lived much of a life if a cartoon — and your flawed, childish, knee-jerk reaction to it — causes you wrenching pain. And that would be okay. But you’re encouraging others to come down to your hysterical level. The world has passed the point of having the luxury of falling out. (It’s a term used to describe an occurrence in some black church services; look it up.) We need people who don’t swoon. We need people who are tougher and more mature than you, Zhenren. People who are able to face the unsweetened reality and not flinch: the world is in terrible shape. We are heading toward the sixth major extinction event. The coastlines are going to disappear. Diseases that used to be treatable with antibiotics have developed resistance. Why? In no small part because, goodness me, some people are so emotionally delicate that they simply can’t cope with a cold and nagged their doctors for antibiotics, even though those pills wouldn’t work on viruses. And that’s the world you’re summoning. A world in which everyone overreacts, all the time. No one takes the long view, and everything goes straight to hell.
We have a partially black president who (off the top of my head):
Has gone after Edward Snowden for telling all of us how every goddamned thing we do online is being recorded.
Has let Chelsea Manning rot in prison for showing all of us how “our” troops laughed and joked about killing people who weren’t a threat.
Has left dozens and dozens of people — some of whom EVERYONE agrees are no threat — rot at Gitmo.
Shall I continue?
Obama isn’t Half-Black Jesus. Nor is he the anti-Christ. He’s a career politician, a constitutional lawyer who wiped his ass with the Bill of Rights because it allowed him to curry favor with the corporate power-elite. And if you, zhenren, are too damned stupid to realize that, well, as Peter, Paul and Mary put it: don’t criticize what you can’t understand.
And, of course, right toward the end of zhenren’s diawy, comes the whole “Oh, I’m a good, good person” bullshit: “Please understand I wrote the comment not to impugn or cast stones, but to express the deep anguish this issue has inflicted on many Daily Kos members, particularly members of the African American community.”
I am so very, very, very, very sick of people who wrap themselves in the cloak of “oh, I didn’t mean to smear this person with one of the worst possible slurs.” If you’re going to stick the knife in, z, have the decency to shove it in up to the hilt without making some coy, false apology. Look your victim in the eye before you take the cheap shot.
And, finally, zhenren’s “diary” ends with a photo of one of those idiotic, Benetton fashion model-quality children from The Hunger Games. The girl in question is holding up three fingers, in some sort of idiotic boy scout salute.
Zhenren. Really. You need to grow up. I don’t know if you’re a boy or a girl. If you’re a boy, try to force your testicles to drop. If you’re a girl, is it possible to achieve menarche as an act of will?
A girl with a bow and arrow in a movie? That’s not reality. To append it to a sewious gwown-up attempt at a diawy is just so wrong, in so many ways. It’s almost as bad as putting in a picture of unicorns crapping rainbows over Grimace (google it).
As I said, I’d explain my anger at the very end. Here it is:
Being called a racist is really about as bad as it gets. It’s like being called a pedophile. Once it’s hurled, it’s almost impossible to take it back. And in the infantile world of DK where everyone’s so busy crying tears of hot rage and sharing emotional catharsis 24/7, it’s pretty pointless trying to take it back, because most of the participants are already on to the next outrage.
I find it highly unsettling that this is, apparently, the current state of discourse in our political society. A bunch of people gathering for the electronic version of a circle jerk, egging each other on to line up to stone Ted Rall for drawing something like the 300th cartoon he’s done in a similar fashion. (Others have addressed this.) But none of these people (probably because they’re too busy doing Hunger Games cosplay) actually do the real work of evaluating Ted’s work as a whole.
I particularly find it disgusting because (when you aren’t iPhoning from slave-produced toys or drinking lattes at $5 a pop) the people making the complaints act like they’re the victim-class. Bull. Fucking. Shit.
Today on a TV screen, I saw a woman who works at McDonald’s who was on strike for a living wage. She looked like the tiredest person I’ve ever seen. Where the hell were you, zhenren? Lining up for a photo-op with Katniss Everdeen? Or were you too busy weeping bitter tears of hot anger (or whatever the hell nonsense you write to make yourself feel important) to actually help out the people who are getting reamed alive by the system Mr. Obama’s masters keep maintaining (and which he’s delighted to help out with)? Perhaps you were at WholeFoods buying organic bell peppers from New Zealand?
We don’t have the luxury of any more time for your stupidity zhenren. You need to start growing up. Right now. You and all your friends at DailyKos.
My latest cartoon for ANewDomain.net is about the revelation that the NSA is spying on Americans’ online sex habits and porn watching histories in order to exploit “vulnerabilities” so they can be blackmailed and/or discredited. Incredibly sleazy and highly reminiscent of the McCarthy era and the Nixon Dirty Tricks of the 1970s — and it’s all courtesy of the Obama Administration.
Check out the backstory of the current controversy here. Fascinating stuff about how other editorial cartoonists are routinely accused of racism merely because they criticize Obama — from the Left.
In a classic display of the dictum that the enemy of my enemy is my friend, conservative talker Glenn Beck has (sort of) defended me in the court of public opinion.
Beck took to the airwaves to say that I’d somehow been hoisted by my own race-baiting petard by not speaking up for right-wingers accused of racism for criticizing Obama:
The minute these guys who have power up at the top find you no longer useful, you are done. And you’ve set your own trap. You’ve set the standard: There is no standard.
Well, I don’t think I was ever useful to the Democratic Party. I’m not in this for the party, I’m in it for the politics — and the Democratic Party abandoned us a long time ago. Still, even a stopped clock is right twice a day, and Beck had some sage words:
Look at the McCarthy hearings. When you can just say, ‘COMMUNIST!’ This is why we have said: Racism is the new McCarthyism. What they are doing is the new McCarthyism…Once they label you with that, you are done. That’s what happened in the 1950′s… You were labeled a communist, and your life was destroyed,” Glenn explained. “The same thing is happening with Ted Rall. Is Ted a racist? I don’t know. I don’t know him. Was that a racist cartoon? No.
Thanks, Glenn. We won’t mention that McCarthyism was by and large a conservative/Republican phenomenon.
Ted Rall accused of posting racist Obama cartoon
December 4, 2013
Daily Kos Bans Cartoonist Ted Rall for Imaginary Racism
by Ian Murphy
December 3, 2013
Ted Rall’s “Censored” Obama Cartoon and Other Controversies
by Michael Dooley
December 4, 2013
I draw cartoons for The Los Angeles Times about issues related to California and the Southland (metro Los Angeles).
Angelenos try not to think about the shifting plates beneath their feet and their wheels, but everyone knows the Big One is coming — and a bad enough one is coming sooner than that.
Short of moving somewhere where tectonics aren’t quite as disconcerting (i.e., where it snows) there isn’t much we can do about earthquakes. But we can prepare for the worst by mitigating the damage.
Toward that end, Los Angeles city building officials are creating a list of “soft story” wood-frame buildings that were built before 1978. “Soft-story structures often are built over carports and held up with slender columns, leaving the upper floors to crash into ground-floor apartments during shaking,” Rosanna Xia and Rong-Gong Lin II report in the Times.
There are probably about 6,000 of these buildings. The city says it will take at least a year to complete a list. After that, a retrofitting program will be put in place.
But what if an earthquake happens between now and then? It’s not like Mother (or, not to be sexist, Father) Nature waits for bureaucracy to work its magic.
Yeah, I’m a negative cuss.
So anyway, I began thinking about what, if anything, could be done to stave off the inevitable for at least a year — because the idea that this can wait another year is both horrible and amusing at the same time. How do these people think? Walk softly? Pray?
I know. They’re just civil servants trying to do their jobs with shrinking budgets and limited resources. But if, God or fire demon forbid, something bad happens before that retrofit project is finished, everyone is going look back and wonder why we didn’t throw money at it to get it done faster.
When you’ve been drawing the same character for years, you go on autopilot. After Daily Kos censored my work (on the pretext that my Obama looked simian(!!!), which they didn’t notice for years), I say down to draw him from scratch, as though he were new and unfamiliar.
When I put him through my usual style — which applies the same to members of all ethnic groups — the results were, well, not good.
If anything, he’d turn out more objectionable.
The president is older. He’s lost weight. His hair is cut even shorter. Whatever ape-like demeanor a cartoon of him had in 2009 would look worse in 2013.
Of course, all humans are apes. We share 99.4% of our DNA with chimpanzees. Which is why I look like an ape and Brad Pitt looks like an ape and Dick Cheney looks like an ape. To not draw Obama the same way I draw everyone else, to make him look less ape-like than everyone else, seems fucked up.
So right now, looks like the smiley face. If the Militant Demobamabot Assholes want to censor me, let them end up with something no one can call “racist”: a depiction of the soulless inspidity of our drone murderer, bankster enabler, pro-torture, warmonger of a lying sack president.
Print Magazine interview with Ted Rall about censorship. http://www.printmag.com/uncategorized/ted-rall-censored/
I can die a happy man! Fuck the Pulitzer. I’ve been ToMoed!!!