Thursday, November 16, 2023


This editorial cartoon by the great Michael Ramirez was published by the Washington Post on November 7 and withdrawn the next day after complaints that the cartoon was "racist."

Ramirez combines strong opinions with strong drawing abilities-- the ideal
combination for an editorial cartoonist. 

Several forces now threaten the once-great institution of editorial cartoons.  Among them are the dwindling circulation of newspapers and the sensationalism of the 24/7 cable news cycle.   But there's an even larger issue: whether modern newspapers and their audiences still have the stomach for caricature.  

Cartoons have an important history of offending targets in ways that words cannot.  The corrupt politician "Boss" Tweed famously said he was unafraid of what newspapers wrote, but "those damned pictures" by cartoonist Thomas Nast had to stop.  Tweed was right to be concerned; cartoons toppled his regime, and as a fugitive from justice he was identified from Nast's drawings.  

When cartoonist David Low savagely depicted the Nazis on the eve of World war II, the German government formally protested to the British government.  Low explained his strategy: "To draw a hostile war lord as a horrible monster is to play his game. What he doesn't like is being shown as a silly ass."   

Hitler was reported to have personally put a price on the head of cartoonist Arthur Szyk for his cartoons lampooning the "master race."

Victims of caricature have always pressured newspapers to stop, and newspapers have had to find the courage to stand up to the pressure.  

Today, villains who are indignant about being ridiculed have found more effective ways to get editorial cartoons removed.  Experience shows that nothing can cause the Washington Post to retreat faster than an allegation of "racism," whether the allegation had any basis or not. 

Racism? Caricature by Ramirez (left) of Hamas official (right)

The same tactic was used when cartoonist Ann Telnaes drew a cartoon criticizing Senator Ted Cruz for filming his small daughters reading an attack ad against his competitor.  Telnaes drew them as performing monkeys.  

Cruz's allies shrewdly recognized that the best way to get the cartoon removed was to allege that the cartoon was "racist"-- a ridiculous charge, but The Post immediately caved and withdrew the cartoon.  

The removal of Ramirez's cartoon last week shows that the trick still works.

So what kind of editorial cartoons can safely pass muster at the Washington Post today?  Three days after withdrawing the Ramirez cartoon, the Post editorial page ran the following edentulous cartoon:  

Bland lifestyle cartoons are no threat to anyone.  But compare the draftsmanship and the content of this cartoon to the brilliant and biting humor of Ramirez.

 Newspapers shouldn't withdraw editorial cartoons just because the target feels offended.  Those newspapers that do, no longer understand the nature of caricature and might want to consider getting out of the editorial cartoon business.   

Sunday, November 05, 2023


Artists have historically performed many important functions, such as drawing pictures for young women to show what their future husband will look like naked.  

Note that the above drawing will be "hand made."  No computers involved.  The artists will "read your future by aura and tap into the source" in order to provide you with: 

The huge demand for such information has been a major source of revenue for traditional artists: 

You'd think such an important role for art would be safe from incursion by cold Artificial Intelligence.  After all, what kind of person would trust a machine to tell them whether their future husband will be overweight or have a tattoo on his butt?  Only a true artist could know such things.

Despite this fact, today there are numerous AI image generators offering a variety of "clothes removal functions" which you can use to learn intimate details about your potential life partner.

With the click of a button, will strip the clothing in a photograph in less than a minute.   And Soulgen reminds you that after you've used their software to create a NSFW image from a photo of your beloved, if you have some really detailed questions "you can reuse the image and write a text to create exactly what you want with that character."  

I can understand how people interested in a meaningful lifelong commitment would want to seize upon this information to help them make their choices.  But how can they be so easily duped into believing that AI will give them reliable information?  Better to stick with authentic art, made by a genuine artist.