Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Hillary's hips, Obama's lips

There's a little mini debate going on right now about how to portray African-Americans and women in editorial cartoons. I find this discussion more than a little interesting, and I have not been immune to the criticism. For this cartoon I did for the LA Times over the weekend, I was chastised via email in the following statement: "I am annoyed that you gave Hillary buck teeth and made her plump with fat cheeks while Obama just looked sad . It appears to me as sexism. It's a good cartoon otherwise."

I like that last bit.

I don't know about y'all but the last time I checked, Hillary had fat cheeks, wide hips and big teeth. As for making Obama look sad, of course you're gonna look sad when you lose one of the largest states in the nation after garnering the support of most of Hollywood, and the Governator's wife (another Kennedy endorsement BTW). To me it's all a little too much PC for my tastes. When we have to start watering down our caricatures, they begin to lose their punch and meaning. They also start to look the same. Of course we shouldn't go back to the days of depicting African-Americans with giant lips and Jews with nook noses. Those are racist stereotypes, and you know them when you see them. But a caricature by nature is an exaggeration. People need to understand that. As cartoonists we use them to convey our feelings about a candidate or any political figure. And it's a powerful tool; we just need to keep in mind that it should be used as a shove and not a slap in the face.

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