Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Travis the Chimp, Sean Delonas and Al Sharpton the Ambulance Chaser

Nazi poster for an exhibition of
"degenerate art"

I always had a warm fuzzy picture of chimpanzees. The story that made the news recently was a shock to me. What would make a chimpanzee break down so completely? The injuries suffered by the woman who had known him for years took incredible physical strength. The friend who came to visit him actually had her jaw ripped off. Public interest would seem to favour an autopsy. What caused the chimp to snap?

This is not the first time I have heard stereotype busting animal stories. I once read about a seal biting a man's nose off. A duckbill platypus has a poison claw that inflicts a very painful sting. Even when a lion is domesticated, a playful slap of its paw that would be amusing from a house cat can prove lethal. My heart goes out not only to the victim of the crazed chimpanzee but also the owner. It is unimaginable that animal rights activists would be making harassing phone calls to her for having the crazed animal killed. WCBS reported threats against her by animal rights activists.

"She's getting phone calls from PETA, and people, you know [are making] threatening phone calls, saying she killed Travis, but it's not what she did," a relative is quoted as saying.

People are not going to stop owning animals. Some people are going to go for exotic species. It is a matter of pressing public interest to try to find out what made Travis the chimpanzee snap. If all it took was being approached by a long time friend who confused him with a new hair style, it raises serious questions about whether chimps or other primates are suitable as pets.

I was disappointed at Sean Delonas for his cartoon that seemed to tie Travis the chimp to Barack Obama. Delonas is a brilliant artist who frequently shreds good taste and political correctness. Although he treats political news in his cartoons, he usually does not make political points but his own brand of sometimes tasteless comedy. He has made several cartoons that make fum of Heather Mills having lost a leg.

The recent cartoon of Travis the chimp goes beyond the usual tastelessness that endears Delonas to his fans. For years cartoons that portray African Americans as monkeys have been a staple of racist caricature. Understandably, the cartoon touched a raw nerve. Predictably, it brought out Al Sharpton, who is no stranger to anti white racism. Fortunately, State Senator Eric Adams gave voice to the anger felt by many.

"It's clear that you are out of touch with this entire country. Americans went to the polls to elect a man of honor from its country, not a monkey not a chimpanzee. This is not funny, this is not a cartoon, this is disgusting," said State Senator Eric Adams.

Adams, a founder of One Hundred blacks in Law Enforcement is a representative of a racially diverse district in which he is seen as a bridge builder and champion of peace. Unlike Sharpton, his credentials as an advocate for civil rights are beyond reproach.

I am very sympathetic to the criticism of the Post cartoon. Racism is alive and well in America in both its white and African American varieties. The Delonas cartoon lends itself to suspicions of racism. The tone and intensity of condemnation is appropriate.

We are at the start of four years with an African American President. He will be the subject of much caricature. I hope that protests do not ensue every time that Obama's facial features are distorted in a cartoon. Irreverence is a staple of political caricature. The uncritical treatment of Obama in the national press makes the need for an iconoclastic approach that much more pressing.

Al Sharpton has made his career stereotyping and baiting whites, Jews and Koreans. It is fortunate that Eric Adams has lent his to this issue a stature that Al Sharpton so sorely lacks. The anti white bigotry of Sharpton and the free pass he has gotten from the press in purveying it is at least as much an issue as a tasteless cartoon. President Obama has called for a "national dialogue on race." Dialogue is by definition a two way street. In such an endeavour, Eric Adams is a worthy participant. Reverend Al Sharpton, however is not interested in a dialogue but a sermon. New York has enough one way streets already. We don't need one more.

1 comment:

J. "יהוא בן יהושפט בן נמשי" Izrael said...

- Chimps are known to be violent, and have outbursts.

Lions cannot be domesticated - they'd become a different species then. Maybe you meant tame. But felines can't be tame. They can be trained, but they can return to savagery.
I thinks apes are also like that. There are many stories about seemingly 100% tame/trained pet chimpanzees going wild and doing similar -or worse- carnage.

That woman definitely had a loose screw. She used to bathe and sleep with the monkey, and I hope it actually stopped there.

While there mighte been some racial undertone to the cartoon, it was willfully distorted by Sharpton - who, I'm sure you remember, is a murderer (Yankel Rosenbaum, Fred Harari shop etc) and gets a free pass for it.

The cartoon didn't hint at Obama - Obama didn't write the bill (I doubt he can write at all). The cartoon means the bill is like a chimp we think is tame but will soon maul us.

Of course, 8 years of "Bushitler" Bushchimphitler" Hibushtler Chimp" went unnoticed by the media, as well as Macaque Obama and his wife's openly racist comments.