Category Archives: Newpapers

Cartoon Punch Down

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If somebody tells you you can’t draw something, the proper response of any self-respecting cartoonist is to draw that thing. Bosch Fawstin did exactly that and won first prize in the “Draw Mohammad” contest a week ago. In his cartoon a sword wielding Mohammad says, “You can’t draw me”, to which Fawstin responds, “That’s why I draw you.”

He also drew a response. Two heavily armed would be jihadis were gunned down by a cop with a pistol as they tried to turn “Draw Mohammad” into a “Charlie Hebdo” style massacre.

Doonesbury creator Garry Trudeau’s approach is different from the Fawstin way. He explained it in his acceptance speech for a Polk lifetime achievement award  last month. It’s the punching bag theory of cartooning. He says that satire must always punch up at the powerful and never punch down at the powerless.

Now they tell me. There are rules for satire.

I like Doonesbury but haven’t liked its politics ever since the entire cast cheered Nixon’s wage/price controls back in the early 70’s. But that’s no reason to not appreciate a good cartoon. Doonesbury has been like an ongoing play with well developed characters who grow over time. It’s witty too. Most of the time.

Steyn Punch Down

Mark Steyn, on the other hand, hates Trudeau’s guts. So I picked out some of the good stuff from his column A Contemptible Man Strikes Down:

“The Polk Award is named after a journalist shot dead at point-blank range in 1948 while covering the Greek civil war. So you might have thought it would be in ever so mildly bad taste to use the opportunity of a Polk acceptance speech to piss on the graves of a group of journalists similarly murdered. Nevertheless, that’s what Mr Trudeau did:

Charlie Hebdo, which always maintained it was attacking Islamic fanatics, not the general population, has succeeded in provoking many Muslims throughout France to make common cause with its most violent outliers. This is a bitter harvest.

Ah, so Charlie Hebdo is to blame for provoking ordinary, peaceful, moderate Muslims into supporting the Allahu Akbar guys who killed them.

Traditionally, satire has comforted the afflicted while afflicting the comfortable. Satire punches up, against authority of all kinds, the little guy against the powerful. Great French satirists like Molière and Daumier always punched up, holding up the self-satisfied and hypocritical to ridicule. Ridiculing the non-privileged is almost never funny—it’s just mean.

 

Half Baked Near Treachery

150313-half-baked-near-treacheryForty-six Republican senators have signed a letter written by freshman Senator Tom Cotton to the leaders of Iran. The letter explains that the nuclear deal President Obama is negotiating is non-binding and won’t survive after he leaves office.

For that breech of etiquette foreign policy expert Leslie Gelb, in a Daily Beast column, says “Republicans hate Obama more than a nuclear Iran”. He calls the letter an act of “near treachery”. (On the other hand, in January he demanded that Obama fire his staff and meet with Senate leaders.)

Fellow foreign policy expert, David Ignatius, says the Senators’ letter is “Grossly irresponsible”.

Michael Gerson thinks the letter is a “half baked” scheme brought on by Obama cutting the Senate out of the process.

Mark Thiessen says it’s not a big deal because it’s all happened before – and he was part of it.

Carl M. Cannon thinks calling the Senators  traitors is “beyond Orwellian”.

And Molly Hemingway, in The Federalist, complete with a photo of veteran Tom Cotton holding a kitten while on military duty, calls the whole over-reaction a “media smear”.

Enemy of Your Enemy

150304-enemy-of-your-enemyIranian Revolutionary Guard forces are fighting in Iraq against ISIS. That would be the Islamic Republic vs the Islamic State. President Obama is negotiating a secret nuke deal with the Islamic Republic. Not that this has anything to do with Islam.

In his speech before Congress, Bemjamin Netanyahu reminded his audience that in this case the enemy of your enemy is still your enemy. Many Democrats saw Bibi and Boehner as the enemy and boycotted the speech. Here’s a list of no-shows from IBD.

Charles Krauthammer points out that Netanyahu hinted Israel could live with an agreement if Iran changes is aggressive ways. President Obama, another no-show, dismissed the speech as “nothing new”.

O’Reilly Zone

150226-o'reillyIn the wake of the Brian Williams meltdown over exaggerated war stories Media Matters started digging dirt on Fox’s Bill O’Reilly. David Corn wrote in Mother Jones that O’Reilly lied about being in the Falkland Islands war zone in 1982. O’Reilly says he never claimed to be in the Falklands.

O’Reilly then went on the offensive in the MSM war zone:

During a phone conversation, he told a reporter for The New York Times that there would be repercussions if he felt any of the reporter’s coverage was inappropriate. “I am coming after you with everything I have,” Mr. O’Reilly said. “You can take it as a threat.”

O’Reilly hardly factors as the Time’s biggest threat. NYT reporter James Risen says the Obama administration is the greatest threat to a free press in a generation..

 

Amnesty

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Senate Democrats filibustered a bill that would withhold funding from Homeland Security until the president pulls back his executive order on amnesty for illegal immigrants. Not gonna happen.

Besides, a federal judge in Texas already suspended the Obama order. Republicans must have got the news yesterday. Mitch McConnell caved.