June 02, 2003

YES, THIS CARTOON IS ANTISEMITIC, and the Chicago Tribune should be deeply ashamed.

What's next, big-lipped black people being lured with watermelon?

UPDATE: Here's Don Wycliff's column in the Trib about it. But Wycliff isn't being honest. He says that "the cartoon carried several other messages that could be seen as drawing on anti-Semitic symbols and stereotypes." Could be seen? You mean the absurdly hook-nosed Jew staring greedily at money, with the Star of David on his sleeve while the President supinely offers more cash?

"Could be seen?" Let's be honest here: The equivalent would be a blubber-lipped Jesse Jackson eating watermelon and saying "I sho' lub 'dese Democrats," while Tom Daschle beamed in the background. That cartoon never would have seen print, and the columnist would have been fired. The racial stereotyping here was just as obvious -- and, historically, tied to even worse things than Jim Crow -- and if it was really published out of ignorance, then the folks who oversaw it are too ignorant to work in the news business.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Rick Skeean emails: "I wouldn't like the cartoon in any case, but to me it looks like Sharon is supposed to be wearing a hawk totem." As I said, absurdly hook-nosed.

Reader Tim Henrion notes:

Their deputy editor picked this cartoon out of an unknown number that crossed his desk. He would most likely be out of a job if he had picked a similar racist cartoon.


ERROR CORRECTION UPDATE: Oops. Somehow I attribute to Don Wycliff a statement that was actually him quoting another Chicago Tribune editor. I'm sorry about that -- I read it several times, and I don't know how I managed to get that wrong. On rereading, it's clear that Wycliff's views of the cartoon are harsher than that. My mistake, and I'm sorry about that.

I don't promise not to make mistakes -- just to fix 'em when I do. Luckily my readers, in this case reader John Althouse Cohen, tend to let me know.

YET ANOTHER UPDATE: On the other hand, the OmbudsGod points out a different problem with Wycliff's response, which he says misrepresents the relationship between the cartoonist and the Tribune.