David Horsey, the Pulitzer-winning cartoonist for SeattlePI.com, noted the other day:
I doubt if I have ever drawn a cartoon that didn’t upset somebody. It goes with the territory. In fact, some would say it’s part of the job description.
I’ve grown a pretty thick layer of teflon. The daily messages I get telling me I’m an idiot, a shill, a talentless drone and a hack pretty much bounce right off. Sometimes, sick as it may seem, I actually enjoy making people mad.
Apparently, I did that pretty successfully a few days ago with a cartoon that poked fun at the good people of South Carolina. On Wednesday, I got a call from a reporter at a Fox TV news affiliate in the Palmetto State. He asked me what I thought about the controversy my cartoon had stirred up. I had to ask him, “What controversy?” The reporter explained that my image of some non-union South Carolinian Boeing workers surrounded by various symbols of the Bad Old South was not getting many laughs in his part of the world.
The cartoon is something of a doozy, and definitely seems to constitute some form of “fightin’ words”, but this whole Boeing fracas has people’s sensitivities raw.
In the days that followed, I received numerous e-mails that made the displeasure clear. One, from someone who identified himself as a proud descendant of Confederate soldiers, said simply, “Oh, you poor ignorant bigot.” Another called the cartoon “racist,” although I’m not sure how that term could be stretched quite that far. A longer, impassioned missive came from Father Titus Fulcher, the pastor of the Charleston Melkite Greek Catholic Community. Here’s a bit of what he had to say:
As a ten year resident of the greater Charleston metropolitan area, I am deeply hurt and disappointed by your cartoon depicting five “non-union South Carolina workers” in a most offensive style and arrangement (the hound dog, Confederate Flag, Moonshine Still and hangman’s noose). It is understandable that the good people of Seattle would be disappointed at Boeing’s decision to build its plant in South Carolina versus Washington State; however, the projection of grossly inappropriate, bigoted and stereotypical images could seemingly only serve one purpose – to cater to a prejudicial view of “Southerners” as ignorant and racist lowlifes.
Father Fulcher concluded with a question: “And does not every State have in its past things it has long since abandoned as inappropriate?“
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