In Our Opinion: Humor with a point

Since publishing last week’s editorial cartoon we’ve received more than the usual number of comments from readers. None were supportive of the satirical statement made by the cartoonist about former President George W. Bush who that week was about the only Republican President not mentioned at the Republican convention.

Complaints claimed the cartoon was disrespectful. Among caricatures of the Republicans such as Eisenhower, Nixon and Reagan, Bush was drawn as Curious George.

Cartoons can and will continue to be used to express opinions and concerns in a way that the written word cannot. Nothing brings more public comment, most of which is unprintable, than cartoons. We will continue to run them always hoping the image will incite a conversation.

From colonial days when Paul Revere made a depiction of the Boston Massacre to the great Thomas Nast campaign against a bloated and greedy political machine at Tammany Hall to David Horsey’s critical and Pulitzer Prize winning work today, cartoons have tackled the messy issues of politics, religion, graft, war, greed and stupidity. Political cartoons have both consciously and unconsciously shaped our national self perception. We will continue to do our part by printing those that foster critical thought or debate, in our opinion.

George W. Bush does indeed stand out as a simple man against the backdrop of Republicans that preceded him and surrounded him, as alleged in last week’s cartoon. In the depiction as Curious George, Bush got off easy. The basic statement about a simpleton with big ears among men of substance nowhere near approaches the depth reached in Comedy Central’s South Park Nov. 6, 2002, episode which expressed ideas that President George W. Bush believed Iraqi President Saddam Hussein was going to attack Heaven with weapons of mass destruction. However disturbing the political cartoon is to some Americans, “A Ladder to Heaven” turned out to be a reasonable interpretation of the Bush administration’s blind belief in something 100 percent untrue as motivation to invade Iraq six months after the cartoon shown on cable TV.  No public official is above satire and surely no President is above the people’s right to poke satirical fun at them for any reason they see fit.


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