Monday, February 25

US political cartoonist is too patriotic. Oh, what a suprise.

The web is a good thing for enabling you to read foreign newspapers - you don't have to be in the US to read the NY Times, for example. I do have a tendency to go for the political cartoon section in newspapers, as it gives a quick visual snapshot of the way at least one person (the cartoonist) is thinking. Most US cartoons are, it has to be said, utter dross. Even the ones who I normally think of as quite good can get it spectacularly wrong sometimes (in my opinion, anyway).

Take Pat Oliphant's recent effort in the NY Times . In a patriotic tivvy about the spouse of a candidate not saying she's been proud forever of the US, he has the political giant of the past (portrayed as a giant) lecturing this miniscule minnow of today about how far the US has come.

Mr Oliphant is utterly wrong. "How completely this country has turned itself around"? Rubbish. It's like saying you should be proud of a man the moment he stops beating his wife. He doesn't have to just stop beating his wife, he has to respect her fully. So saying that African-Americans are in theory legally equivalent to whites isn't enough, this has to clearly be the case in practice as well. And my outside view of that is that I'm hardly surprised that someone from the African American community could fully believe the US is in general over its wife-beating equivalent stage when it seems possible that an African American could be elected president. Perhaps part of the reason it took the US so long is that too many Americans are too patriotic - they love their country so much that they won't criticise it, or tolerate criticism from others. But sometimes it's your true friend who warns you your breath smells.

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