Thursday, April 26, 2007

Did "Day By Day" go too far?

Rick Moran at RWNH asks the question of Chris Muir's cartoon for today, "Did 'Day By Day' Just Jump the Shark?" The cartoon in question draws Hillary, in the final frame, in minstrel-show style blackface.

I can see where this can easily offend -- and not just the fans of Hillary. For years, now, members of the dextrosphere have taken the left to task for their depictions of everybody from Condoleezza Rice (as Aunt Jemima. Apparently, Condi isn't black enough for some) to Joe Lieberman (straight minstrel-show paint). The graphics have always been used to insult the person in question.

But, as my mom says of Muir's cartoon, "I don't know how else he could have done it." How else does one show, in a three-panel cartoon, the absurd lengths the candidate has gone to, and therefore possibly will go to, in order to pander to a voting bloc?

It is wrong, as Rick says, to use such an offensive cultural icon... but the sense I got from the cartoon is that, given the sort of behavior of Hillary has demonstrated over the past few weeks, Hillary's judgment may be impaired sufficiently that she might think this an appropriate next step on her own. My sense is that this was what Muir was saying.

I may be wrong, of course. I've been there lots of times, before.

I've worried long and hard over the assumption that, just because only "foaming rightwingers" called Senator Clinton to task for her bad accent and bad self-analogies, it's okay for her -- and for any other Democrat -- to make overt, stupid, offensive, racist, hateful things for the sake of the almighty bottom line. I don't really see it as such a stretch for Hillary to follow in her husband's footsteps and try to claim "blackness" in order to suck up to a disappearing base. And I don't see it as such a stretch for her to be so completely tone deaf to cultural offensiveness that she would go that extra step.

She may never paint her face with actual boot black, but she's come darned close to it in words and tone.

Update, Friday:
I fear from the sarcastic comment by Jon Swift that I, like Chris Muir, was unclear in my intent. The most common use, these days, of blackface and similar caricature is to depict somebody behaving as a Steppin Fetchit-like person, a craven, servile, dimwitted lackey to the plantation "massa". That's how Jane Hamsher did Joe Lieberman, that was the point behind the Condi "Jemima" Rice cartoons, and the "Uncle Tom" references to other persons of color (e.g. General Powell) on the conservative side of the aisle.

But in the case of Hillary, the question isn't about her becoming a lackey, it's about to what extremes she is willing to go, in order to pretend she understands a group about which she is, apparently, culturally clueless. She refers to "us always havin' to clean up after people", but when has she actually done any real cleaning on her own? She comes from a privileged suburban family, I don't see any traces of dust or dishpan hands on her. There isn't a lick of color to her pasty butt, and yet she pretends and pretends, and, like her fake accent, her fantasy gets a little thicker each time she speaks.

So, what I'm asking is, is Muir's cartoon (in its extreme offensiveness -- quel surprise! from a political cartoon) really saying something about her becoming a weak lackey to the left, a Steppin Fetchit/Aunt Jemima, or is Muir saying something about her absolute tone-deafness as she attempts to pander to this group? Isn't it that cartoon not so much asking "is she?" as it is asking, "will she be this stupid?" It seems to me, the cartoon asked, How far will Hillary go, in her attempt to prove something she is not?

Am I wrong in my understanding?


Jon Swift said...

Of course, your mother is right. How is it even possible to draw Hillary without resorting to racist imagery? And as you point out, she asked for it. I look forward to your mother's advice to artists wishing to draw Barack Obama. I'm sure Chris Muir would be very interested in what she has to say.

Anonymous said...

I leave it to such as 'Jon Swift' to attack your mother.
It's a classic personal attack to distract from the utter vacuity of his position.

I daresay your mom can make up her own mind if DBD was correct or no. And as such, I leave it to readers to judge for themselves, something that is antithetical to Groupthink acolytes as 'Jon Swift'.

leucanthemum b said...

Thanks, Chris. I'm pretty sure Mom wasn't upset by her being SwiftJon'd ;-)

She's used to people questioning her intelligence and/or sanity. It comes from having been repeatedly asked by people watching me, "And you had how many children after this one?" (Hmm. Leads me to wonder about certain others' parents.)

Artistic license is an awful lot like a driver's license, isn't it? You get behind the wheel, suddenly everybody tells you where to go and how to get there... and all you really wanted to do was get out there and squeal your tires.