Thursday, April 02, 2009

Double standards much?

Double standards much?

There’s a rather lovely illustration into the mindset of the Guardian today.  It comes in the form of literary criticism of two different cartoons.

The first was a picture of a chimpanzee shot dead by New York police, with one copper saying to the other that ‘now they’ll have to get someone else to draft the stimulus bill’.  Despite the fact that there is no explicit linking of the chimp to Obama, this cartoon is “obviously racist”.  It is, in fact “unserious” to deny this.

The second cartoon looks like this:


The cartoon shows a headless Nazi-like, goose-stepping, jackbooted figure, with one arm raised and outstretched, holding a sword, and the other wheeling a head in the form of a Star of David – one side of which is a wide-open mouth, equipped with vicious teeth, about to devour a very small, fleeing refugee-like female figure holding a baby. The word "Gaza" is emblazoned on her cloak.

Now, given that racism was obviously, incontrovertibly apparent in a cartoon of a monkey, what is the implication of this cartoon that explicitly compares Jews (Israel by implication, but it’s not the flag of Israel used, but the Star of David) to Nazi Germany?

Political cartoons are often very offensive, and offensive – even when it involves comparing Israelis with Nazi – does not automatically mean anti-Semitic.

Well, I’m glad we’ve cleared that up.  Brilliantly, the article goes on to argue that comparing Israelis to Nazis can’t be anti-Semitic because anti-Semites in the 1930s were hardly likely to compare Jews with jackbooted Germans.

So, the drawing of a monkey in a political context is automatically racist, because it might be held as referring to Barack Obama.  But Jews are Nazis and it’s fine to depict them as such.  There’s something marvellously consistent about the Guardian’s inconsistency.


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