December 2, 2013

Lefty cartoonist Ted Rall criticized at Daily Kos for drawing Barack Obama in a racist way.

He cries out against what he calls "censorship" even as he links to the supposedly offensive drawings as they are still displayed at Daily Kos. Clue to Rall: criticism ≠ censorship.

The funniest part of this is that the problem is that he made Obama look apelike, but that's just his drawing style:
Why did I post here for free? To access readers, many of whom would enjoy my work if they saw it. It was an experiment....

I'm sure not going to alter my drawing style for $0.00 money....
Here is the discussion at Daily Kos, which includes a deluge of comments accusing me of drawing Obama in a racist way.

Everything is context. It is clear that many of these posters were previously unfamiliar with my work or, for that matter, with editorial cartoons. 
That's how he draws. You're an idiot not to be familiar with the drawing style of Ted Rall. Plus, he didn't get paid. Ted Rall, the lefty, would bestow left-wing comics on you people if you'd pay him enough, shut up about his it-is-what-it-is artistry, and know that he is the famous cartoonist Ted Rall.
Anyone familiar with me and my work knows I'm not racist. My criticisms of the president are unrelated to his race, and to say otherwise in the absence of evidence is disgusting.... My flaws are out there for everyone to see, but racism is not one of them.
Oh, come on. Racism permeates everything, whether you are conscious of it or not, even if you think you are one of the "good" white people. It's in there. Your job is to perceive it and humble yourself. That's the left-wing ideology, so don't try to use your left-wingitude as a defense.

54 comments:

YoungHegelian said...

My criticisms of the president are unrelated to his race, and to say otherwise in the absence of evidence is disgusting..

Suuuuuuuuuure, Ted. The Republicans say that all the time, and you believe them, right?

Michael said...

It's good to see them eating their own for once. Maybe Rall will come to suspect that if he is unjustly targeted, so are a lot of conservatives. A lot to ask, I know.

Henry said...

I haven't seen a Ted Rall comic in years. When did he get all into shading? That presidentish character looks like he has a chin beard.

Drop the shading, Ted. It's racist.

Patrick said...

Looks more like Bill Cosby in the style of the Simpsons.

jacksonjay said...


"Anyone familiar with me and my work knows I'm not racist."

Condi Rice would beg to differ!

Ann Althouse said...

He's doing the mouth the same way they do Homer on "The Simpsons." It's a cartoon mouth-style that goes back at least to "The Flintstones." There's a real problem applying it to black people however. You need people to already know that's how you do everyone. In other words, it's the lameness and laziness and rote quality that got him into trouble, and he's hurt that his fame has not reached these young kids today. He proceeds to insult them all he can, which isn't going to leverage his fame among the younger generation. So tragic!

Moose said...

"Leftism, like pop will eat itself"

YoungHegelian said...

Strange how the Daily Kos' readers took umbrage with Rall's depiction of Obama but somehow left the racial outrage at home when it came to Rall's depiction of Condi Rice.

Ann Althouse said...

And how do you boost your lefty credentials by bitching about not getting paid? Obviously, he was trying to promote his career and wanted the free advertising and access to the Kos audience. But then they were mean to him, and he's all "Where's my money?" Ha.

Skeptical Voter said...

I don't know. Since the cartoon of Obama had been censored, and I couldn't see it, I was unable to evaluate whether it made Obama look like a chimpanzee or a mere monkey.

But I don't particularly care either way. What I'm looking forward to is the day that Obama looks like--and actually is--an ex President. Draw me that picture Ted.

Brando said...

Between this and Alec Baldwin, it appears that the left is starting to discover that their own weapons are unstable and prone to cause friendly-fire casualties.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Ann, I don't think it's just "Well, that's how he always draws everybody."

One: Why the stubble? Have we ever, ever seen Obama with stubble?

Two: The Fred/Barney/Homer Simpson jaw was never universal, even in those strips. I don't recall Wilma having one, nor Marge, for starters.

Three: I realize that Ted Rall can't draw, but is there anything beyond the shading of the face that seems even intended to make that figure look like Obama?

Youngblood said...

It's always fun to see Ted Rall criticized as he is so thin-skinned. (See his response to being pranked by Danny Hellman.)

Despite his overreaction, he's basically right. His depiction of President Obama isn't actually racist. What we're seeing is Obama's hardline supporters trying to shut down criticism in what should be a 'safe' space for them.

After almost five years, Obama's supporters really haven't been able to come up with a defense better than, "STFU, RACIST!"

It's actually kind of horrifying that it has worked that long and continues to work.

Thorley Winston said...

Strange how the Daily Kos' readers took umbrage with Rall's depiction of Obama but somehow left the racial outrage at home when it came to Rall's depiction of Condi Rice.

Maybe the simplest and most logical explanation is that Ted Rall has always been a racist but his side gave him a pass so long as he only made racist caricatures of black Republicans.

EDH said...

Ted Rall is metaphorically defecating on Barack Obama's mouth in an act of white privilege micro-aggression.

MadisonMan said...

I'm not familiar with Rall's work, but that to me is not a good caricature of Obama.

The hair and nose are wrong.

Tibore said...

Ted Rall, huh? Couldn't happen to a bigger jerk.

This story is pure, unadulterated luxuriating in schadenfreude. It's been obvious for years that the racism cry would turn into a kneejerking circular firing squad. The fact it's happened to Rall - a sneering leftist - is just icing on the cake.

madAsHell said...

That was my first visit to the Daily Kos.

I encountered a pop-up that advised me to click here, and learn how health insurance companies will sell you insurance you don't need.

They refuse to connect the dots.

Old RPM Daddy said...

Everybody's right -- Rall's drawing doesn't look a bit like the President. In fact, he doesn't look much like anyone I recognize. Maybe Rall figured drawing a Random Black Man would be good enough for his audience.

By the way, why does the Kos post have a "George W. Bush" tag? Isn't he like, out of office now?

Joe said...

Ted Rall's problem isn't racism; it's that he isn't clever, or at least funny.

Curious George said...

Definitly racist. What's next Rall, you gonna burn a cross on the White House lawn?

Curious George said...

Definitly racist. What's next Rall, you gonna burn a cross on the White House lawn?

SomeoneHasToSayIt said...

I think it's a good likeness.

Philboid Studge said...

Rall was told his "posting privileges will be suspended" if he didn't alter his Obama caricatures. That's a little more than mere criticism and pretty close to censorship, no?

Old RPM Daddy said...

Per Philboid Studge: "That's a little more than mere criticism and pretty close to censorship, no?"

Sort of, but not really. Kos can have whatever editorial standards they want, and can run what they like. But they open themselves to charges of censorship when they don't run Rall's work, and everyone gets to question their motives.

mccullough said...

The drawing of Karzai is racist, too.

Hammond X Gritzkofe said...

Congress shall make no law ...abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; unless somebody says a third party might be offended.

Robert Cook said...

I am not an admirer of Rall's work, but I do not believe he is racist or that his drawing of Obama is intended as such. The drawing is a product of his utter bankruptcy of drawing skills combined with his desire to attempt a Ralph Steadman-esque or George Grosz-like depiction of the powerful-as-grotesque. Which is always fitting, of course...but you gotta have the chops to pull it off.

Also, you've got to have a thick enough hide to ignore whatever outrage comes your way, even wrong-headed outrage.

Robert Cook said...

"Congress shall make no law ...abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; unless somebody says a third party might be offended."

This is not the government threatening to remove Rall's posting privileges...it is the Huffington Post, a private concern. Freedom of speech guarantees to not oblige any media outlet to publish anything submitted to it by their employees or by free-lancers.

SteveR said...

Too bad no one gives a shit about Rall outside the echo chamber where his Dixie Chicks like slamming of GWB earned him some cred.

Saint Croix said...

It's even funnier because Rall got a pass when he made a racist cartoon about Condi Rice.

lemondog said...

Wouldn't have recognized it as representing Obama but Rall has used the caricature in the past but with a tad more hair, and, I assume, without criticism?

285exp said...

I loved the comments, especially the one where he called Obama the right-wing candidate in the 2008 Dem primaries and said he didn't regret voting for John Edwards.

And those Kos Kidz are priceless.

Robert Cook said...

Well, Obama certainly wasn't a--or "the"--left-wing candidate in the 2008 Dem primaries. In fact, there were none. Such terms as "left" and "right" have scarcely any meaning any more, at least not in Washington; it's a corporate town, and nearly everyone there works for the corporation--Guvcorp., as it were--which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Wall Street and the global corporate cohort.

James Pawlak said...

Those who learn from history should review the cartoons of President Lincoln before his first election.

n.n said...

I don't understand why evolutionists feel insulted when they are reminded of their simian heritage. Is this the result of a family feud?

It probably started with a cousin flinging a banana, with an argument culminating in irreconcilable differences, and finally a divorce. They don't like to discuss the circumstances of their separation.

285exp said...

Robert, there might not have been a left-wing candidate in the 08 Dem primaries according to your standards, but calling the most liberal member of the Senate right-wing just makes Rall look even more ridiculous, which is hard to do.

Leit Bart said...

@YoungHegelian is exactly right. And notice how he drew Bush in the same cartoon strip -- exactly as he drew Obama. Like all good liberals, Rall recycles.

http://www.gocomics.com/tedrall/2004/07/05#.UpzC2-Jonig

Biff said...

Related, sort of: I called my (very white) nieces and my nephew "little monkeys" many times when they were toddlers. I would never call any child of similar age, but dissimilar color, the same thing, unless by accident.

I witnessed a prominent, nonagenarian philanthropist (who has made African American education his focus for more than a generation) speak lovingly about the children he has worked with over the years. It was clearly something he felt to be a calling, not just something to do for show. In a grandfatherly way, he called one child the "cutest little monkey" he'd ever seen. He did this in front of an audience of about fifty people, and the gasp of the crowd was like a needle across a record. The poor fellow had no idea what he did wrong. Racism is often in the eye of the beholder.

Robert Cook said...

"...calling the most liberal member of the Senate right-wing just makes Rall look even more ridiculous...."

Well, "most liberal"...how? By what standard? Due to his rhetoric? His legislative record? Due to his previous history or other actions?

Rhetoric is mere noise and window dressing unless supported by action. I haven't studied it, but I believe Obama had a completely undistinguished legislative and voting record, and the vote that guaranteed I would never vote for him was his vote just prior to the 2008 election where he voted FOR the revised FISA law. This gave the government far greater leeway than previously in placing wiretaps without warrants, and, more crucially, extended retroactive legal immunity to the telecoms for being criminal accomplices in Bush's mass illegal wiretapping of Americans, revealed by the NYTimes after sitting on it for a year. It would have been abhorrent in any case for Obama to have voted for it, but he had expressly agitated against it, and claimed he would NOT vote for it if it contained the retroactive immunity for the telecoms. He even said he would support a filibuster against it.

That he would so grossly violate his ardent rhetoric and declarations of resolve even before winning the election--when it most counted to demonstrate his fealty to his own purported principles and to satisfy those in his base who opposed the new FISA law--such a betrayal of his promise and of his supporters showed me clearly he was a liar who, if elected President, would have NO reason to stand by his word. He revealed plainly that he had no respect for his own assurances and, more crucially, arrant scorn for his supporters, in his (validated) certainty they would vote for him no matter how flagrantly he shit on his promises to them, (and therefore, on them). That he threw his own pastor under the bus, the man whose church he had attended for years, further proved his cowardice and hypocrisy, his willingness to serve his ambition above all.

And he has still proved far worse than I expected he would be.

"Most liberal?" Ha! Anyone who believes that believes the Nazis were "liberals" and "socialists."

Char Char Binks said...

W was regularly depicted by cartoonists as a chimp, or at least as chimplike, but of course, black people are sacred and must never be mocked.

Gahrie said...

Whew..that was close...I almost read a whole post by Robert Cook and agreed with him......then I got to:

"Most liberal?" Ha! Anyone who believes that believes the Nazis were "liberals" and "socialists."

While the NAZIs indeed were not liberal by either the classical or modern sense of the term, they very much were socialists, and proud of it.

Gahrie said...

Whew..that was close...I almost read a whole post by Robert Cook and agreed with him......then I got to:

"Most liberal?" Ha! Anyone who believes that believes the Nazis were "liberals" and "socialists."

While the NAZIs indeed were not liberal by either the classical or modern sense of the term, they very much were socialists, and proud of it.

The Godfather said...

For 'tis the sport to have the enginer
Hoist with his own petar'; and 't shall go hard
But I will delve one yard below their mines
And blow them at the moon:

Or, he that lives by the race card shall die [figuratively, of course!] by the race card.

Robert Cook said...

"While the NAZIs indeed were not liberal by either the classical or modern sense of the term, they very much were socialists, and proud of it."

No, their name to the contrary, they were not.

Rusty said...

Robert Cook said...
"While the NAZIs indeed were not liberal by either the classical or modern sense of the term, they very much were socialists, and proud of it."

No, their name to the contrary, they were not.

Yes they were. Hitler was enamored of Mussolini's fascism which was a direct offshoot of his, Mussolini's , socialist activism. Mussolini knew socialism wouldn't work in Italy unless he could recruit the middle class so he renamed his socialism fascism. Mussolini was raised a communist by his communist father.

Rusty said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jr565 said...

Ted Rall is probably not a racist. But he is a jerk of the highest order. So if he is now being skinned alive by the left for doing what he always does it couldn't happen to a more deserving person.

jr565 said...

Robert Cooke wrote:
No, their name to the contrary, they were not.

Yes, they were. They, like the fascists were a sister movement of the socialist movement. You can only describe either as "right wing" if you compare them to communism. They are socialism to the right of communism.
But they are not right wing movements.

jr565 said...

Robert Cook wrote:
That he would so grossly violate his ardent rhetoric and declarations of resolve even before winning the election--when it most counted to demonstrate his fealty to his own purported principles and to satisfy those in his base who opposed the new FISA law--such a betrayal of his promise and of his supporters showed me clearly he was a liar who, if elected President, would have NO reason to stand by his word. He revealed plainly that he had no respect for his own assurances and, more crucially, arrant scorn for his supporters, in his (validated) certainty they would vote for him no matter how flagrantly he shit on his promises to them, (and therefore, on them). That he threw his own pastor under the bus, the man whose church he had attended for years, further proved his cowardice and hypocrisy, his willingness to serve his ambition above all.

And yet, liberals voted for him TWICE. Maybe not all liberals, but certainly enough to win.
Now, would you make the argument that those who voted for Obama who identify as liberal are not in fact liberal (since they voted for Obama)? This might be a reason why you would not lump fascists and nazis in with socialists. Because they are hypocrites about their socialism. Only, so were the communists and the socialists proper.
If being hypocrites makes you not left wing, then you'd have to lump communism in with the right wing movements. or you'd have to lump Stalin in with the right wing leaders.
And does that make any sense?

Sam L. said...

I have no respect for Ted.

Robert Cook said...

Now, would you make the argument that those who voted for Obama who identify as liberal are not in fact liberal (since they voted for Obama)?

I would say they were fooled by Obama's smooth rhetoric and easy manner and his cosmopolitan patina.

It was easy to see through him, in my view, but people hopeful for a change for the better over what has come before are easily blinded to indications of feet of clay in the person who speaks to their hopes. This is human nature.

Even those who noticed some of what I did probably felt he was the better choice of the two available, the lesser of two evils, or actually a good-intentioned man who had to be pragmatic. I would have none of that. I'm convinced we have no hope of change with our present two parties and I have voted for third party candidates in 4 of the last 5 presidential elections,** so I have no emotions invested in a "Democratic savior" to our problems. That's not going to happen.

**(I was so eager to evict the execrable George W. Bush from office I actually voted for John Kerry in 2004; I see in retrospect that Kerry would have been little or no better than Bush, as look at him now: shilling for the empire.)

Robert Cook said...

Rusty and jr565: you guys are so desperate to remove from the right wing any possibility they could ever be authoritarian or totalitarian you believe in fantasies.

"Now, would you make the argument that those who voted for Obama who identify as liberal are not in fact liberal (since they voted for Obama)?"

I would say in the first election they were true believers in the promise Obama presented to them, of real change, of hope for a better government and future. They were taken in by his smooth rhetoric, designed to pander to their specific wants and needs, and by his easy manner, broad smile, glib cosmopolitanism.

In the second election they were probably less ardent--most of them, anyway--but still believed Obama to be, if nothing else--nothing better--the so-called "lesser of two evils."

They were party loyalists, and invested emotionally in "their candidate" winning and staying in office, believing against reason that their side was always innately more virtuous than the other, whatever faults they may have allowed themselves to perceive in their man.

In four of the last five presidential elections I have voted for third party candidates, so I have no emotional investment in loyalty to the Democratic candidate or party. I don't see any hope for substantial change for the better in either of our two parties, at least as presently configured: they are both too indebted to the financial elites, (individual mavericks who will never become president excepted), and thus we must all view both parties and candidates from either major party as being mere factota for the plutocracy. No salvation is to be found among the Republicans or the Democrats.

bagofnickles said...

Much of the DailyKos.com audience despises any cartoonist who isn’t a Yellow Dog Democrat.

Matt Wueker was called a racist by several users. Now, they certainly didn't gather much steam, but some of them were quite confident that this cartoon was racist.

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/07/31/1000325/-It-Gets-Madder

Users asserted that this cartoon was "straight out of a minstrel show" Here's the jumping off point for those attacks.

http://www.dailykos.com/comments/1000325/42633858#c82
This is a Tom the Dancing Bug strip. They voted 49 to 68 to try to hide it from the public, and if you check the comments, they also claimed IT was racist, both because The President was drawn as a child among other children, and because he was drawn with an adorable button nose.

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/06/08/1098150/-Li-l-Barack-has-a-playdate


Brian McFadden who does The Big Fat Whale also got his turn to be the hated target of the moment. They actually gave him so many negative ratings that the automatic ban feature, meant to deal with really horrible trolls and spammers, kicked in. He was banned from the site and Mr. Moulitsas had to restore his posting privileges. This was a paid cartoonist Mr. Moulitsas did not want banned!

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/09/05/1127701/-D-N-C-swag-bag

Mr.Moulitsas in this instance actually wrote a front page post trying to explain to his users what political cartoons are.

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/09/18/1133601/-On-cartoons

Some got it, some didn't.

Now, no editor sent nasty messages to any of these cartoonists, and they’re all paid to post there, and their work wasn’t censored.

Obviously, they didn't want to raise the kind of stink Rall has raised. Likely because they would continue to be paid if they were "good sports" about it.

Markos wasn’t on Thanksgiving break when those incidents happened. He didn’t allow those cartoonists to be “disciplined”. To his credit, when he was first challenged by users about Rall's drawing style, he actually told people to move on and ignore cartoons they don't like in much the same way he stood up for all of these artists above.

This holiday he left someone else to mind the store for four days and returned to a fait accompli. He had to decide whether to cut off an employee at the knees for a bad call or roll with trying to get some mileage out of slamming a guy who rubs many the wrong way. This is in a context in which he has actually (to his credit) angered many of his dedicated users repeatedly by refusing to ban extremely liberal cartoonists based on their supposedly "racist" or "right wing" content .

That’s why he responded to no one in the press until Monday, by the way. He wasn't making the decision. He was enjoying a long weekend.

Currently, at least one of Mr. Moulitsas’ editors is gleefully posting about how much this kerfuffle is driving up traffic and bringing out lurkers. Given that Kos is desperately pumping out emails begging users for five dollar “donations”, you have to wonder what role that might have played in efforts to increase his site traffic and please some of his users.

Any journalist wanting to cover this should not only ask “Is Mr. Moulitsas right to call Ted Rall a nasty racist bigot and bizarelly claim Rall doesn’t draw anyone else the way he draws Obama?”

Maybe they should also ask if the Dailykos.com user base is adult enough to understand what political cartooning is, and what lengths Mr. Moulitsas will go to in order to float his foundering ship. One can only that getting his own hand back on the tiller is first on the list.