Cartoons that aren't funny

Apparently the Pentagon has sent a "rare" letter to the Washington Post over an editorial cartoon it deems "reprehensible" ([Read the Editor & Publisher article][1]).Some detached thoughts: 1. To what extent did the Pentagon's action amplify the distribution -- increase the bandwith, in Patrick Quinn's popological formulation -- of the "reprehensible" cartoon? Arguably, more people will now see the cartoon than would have had the Pentagon not written its letter to the Post. If the cartoon is "reprehensible" (a non-self-evident claim), is it ethical or moral to engage in an action predictably resulting in an allegedly "reprehensible" communication being even more widely distributed?2. To what extent are the references in the cartoon accurate?3. Editorial cartoons partake of those qualities essential to a Kantian-style aesthetic object. Apprehending their meaning makes you think.4. Are some interpretations more valid than others? And if so, how is that validity determined? Can interpretations be, simply, wrong?A quotation of the cartoon at issue: [1]: http://www.editorandpublisher.com/eandp/news/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1001955937

Comments

HTR 15 years, 7 months ago

Not to mention it was arguably the action (or non-action) of the JCS themselves in creating the environment (e.g., nearly three years of insufficient body armor to prevent the creation of limbless soldiers in the first place) whose cartoon depiction (as opposed to the real things occupying beds at Walter Reed and rehab centers across the country) they consider reprehensible. If writing their letter to the Post took the JCS's collective or individual minds for one second off figuring out how to keep their soldiers from getting their limbs and heads blown off, now that's reprehensible.

BTW, by my fallible count....Number of days from Pearl Harbor to V-J Day: 1,348. Number of days from September 11, 2001, to today: 1,605.

lazz 15 years, 7 months ago

I might have steered clear of this cartoon only because it requires quite a bit of background to NOT be considered reprehensible. I personally am not aware of Rumsfeld's quotes about injured soliders being "battle hardened." (I'm assuming that's what this is drawn from.) If you're not in on that information, then the cartoon can appear to be making light of serious combat injuries. I don't think it IS reprehensible -- because I'm assuming the background is there, and the cartoonist is expressing an important opinion about Rumsfeld's refusal to acknowledge the seriousness of this war -- but the case could certainly be made, so as an editor I would have kicked it back for some re-working. It's a difficult line cartoonists work, commenting on the news without being able to offer the full text of the background coverage.

quinn 15 years, 7 months ago

Donald Rumsfeld is an incompetent corrupt bozo and the worst Defense Secretary since Louis Johnson. It will take years (and who knows how many lives) to fix the things he's broken at the Pentagon. Sending American troops into battle w/ insufficient armor and then repeatedly lying about would be a crime in the eyes of the morons running the GOP if it were the responsibility of a Democrat, but of course Rumsfeld is the King's Man, and the King and his agents are above the law.

He should be damned grateful that the worst he faces is an occasional cartoon. Under a just government he'd be mopping floors at ADMAX Florence and playing checkers w/ Terry Nichols.

MyName 15 years, 7 months ago

No, the cartoon is not about injured soldiers at all. There were a few recent reports from the Pentagon that said that the US Army is currently stretched thin, maybe to the breaking point. Rumsfeld's response to those reports was that the Army is not "stretched thin" but is in fact "battle hardened."

Clearly the cartoonist disagrees with Rumsfeld's assessment. He is showing a gravely wounded man representing the US Army (see the name on the chart) and Dr. Rumsfeld is saying that he's not gravely wounded, but is in fact "battle hardened". It's kind of witty if you understand what the cartoonist talking about.

jd 15 years, 7 months ago

"Kantian-style aesthetic object." Yikes!

The joint chiefs voiced their concern for a cartoon they thought was in poor taste. Compare and contrast their writing of a letter to a newspaper with the mass, often violent protests of Muslims over a cartoon showing the prophet Muhammad as a terrorists.

Noah Larsen 15 years, 7 months ago

Although, after seeing this cartoon, I believe the Holocaust contest should come to a quick close. And the winner is...

http://homepage.mac.com/cfj/.Pictures/rutgers-medium-cover.gif

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