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Political slurs examined


Have you ever finished a project, and been so proud of it that you can't wait to show it to your friends, because you know it'll confirm to them, unequivocally, that you really are the genius your mother told you you were when you presented her with that first crayon drawing of a flower?

That was the case with this cartoon. It's also the curse of the cartoonist, who always gets the cartoon because he's the one who dreamed it up in the first place.

Imagine my dismay when I ran it past my distinguished colleagues, Antonio Fins and Nicole Brochu, and the sketch was greeted with no more than a yawn and a scratch of the head. Tony told me to go ahead and run it if I wanted to; it was my call. Maybe I wasn't as brilliant as I thought, after all.

Conversely, there are times when, pushing deadline, I pull an idea out of a dark place that, to me, is the most moronic, simplistic excuse for a cartoon--and for some reason, it hits everybody's funny bone.

If any of the readers of this blog care to weigh in on the topic, I'd be interested in hearing what you think. SPOILER ALERT!!! DON'T READ PAST THIS PARAGRAPH IF YOU DON'T WANT TO SEE THE EXPLANATION OF THIS CARTOON!!! I feel I owe it to you, though.

The point is that it is as absurd to question Barack Obama's patriotism because his middle name is Hussein, as to believe that John McCain is a closet Australian because his middle name is Sydney. Neither man had his choice of names. Sydney, by the way, is a large city in Australia. Which is a foreign country.

Okay, it's a stretch.

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Poking fun at names is extremely childish. Back in 1964, many people I knew took Goldwater to task because he poked fun at the middle names of Johnson and Humphrey ("Baines" and "Horatio")

I got this right off the bat, I think it's a brilliant cartoon that illustrates how ridiculous this mentality is. Every time I hear someone talking about Barack HUSSEIN Obama I know right away they have no real points so they must resort to childish insinuations based on the origin of his middle name. I've also seen a woman who was apparently being serious say that she could never vote for Obama because (I'm not making this up) Obama rhymes with Osama. Yes this was an adult woman who was registered to vote, as horrifying as that is.

I thought I got it right off the bat only I thought the joke was based on the questioning of Obama's U.S. citizenship regarding his refusal to release his birth certificate.

I think the reason this cartoon is hard to understand is that you are using two separate, but similar, issues and meshing them into one. The so-called reason why the McCain campaign, especially Palin, are saying Obama "pals around with terrorists" is not because of his middle name, but because of his association with William Ayers. Personally I think it's ridiculous, but that is the basis for the "pals around" comments. I understand the guy committed terrorists acts 40-some years ago, but to say he is a terrorist is a bit of a stretch. I'm not defending Mr. Ayers at all, but to call him a terrorist is akin to calling President Bush an alcoholic. I have also heard comments from speakers at McCain/Palin rallies use the reasoning that Obama can't be trusted because his middle name is the same as the dictator of the country the U.S. declared war on. Other speakers say things like Obama and Osama sound too similar. I agree that it is absurd to question someone's patriotism based simply on a person's name, but I think the confusion about the cartoon is understandable.

This cartoon is OBVIOUSLY genius, I agree. How could you NOT get it? I loved it. It makes a brilliant point.

I am all too familiar with both situations. People who don't get what seems pretty obviously funny and those that see humor in something that frankly, is the plain truth that's been under their noses for a long time.

Thanks for publishing it in this context. Those of us who 'got it' are happy to have those moments of higher than average intelligence humor. Besides, you may be contributing to the adult education of millions.

I like it. Got it right away. Run it!

I saw one of your cartoons along the side of a political article, and as I was in the mood for a laugh I explored your work.
I've become an instant fan.

I must say, this cartoon is my absolute favorite. I printed it off to show to all my (intelligent) friends. It is witty in that wonderful "inside joke" way - like a reward for paying attention to the nauseating details of this campaign. You really captured the foolishness of the whole situation and I love you for it!

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About the author
Chan LoweCHAN LOWE has been the Sun Sentinel’s first and only editorial cartoonist for the past twenty-six years. Before that, he worked as cartoonist and writer for the Oklahoma City Times and the Shawnee (OK) News-Star.

Chan went to school in New York City, Los Angeles, and the U.K., and graduated from Williams College in 1975 with a degree in Art History. He also spent a year at Stanford University as a John S. Knight Journalism Fellow.

His work has won numerous awards, including the Green Eyeshade Award and the National Press Foundation Berryman Award. He has also been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. His cartoons have won multiple first-place awards in all of the Florida state journalism contests, and The Lowe-Down blog, which he began in 2008, has won writing awards from the Florida Press Club and the Society of Professional Journalists.
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