Sorry, J.G. I’m totally with Dilbert on this one. This cartoon was, at best, deeply insensitive. You are absolutely right that the particular sensitivities of racial politics in America pose an unusual burden on political cartoonists trying to lampoon the new President. And you’re probably right that this burden is an unfair one. But that doesn’t mean they should ignore it. When I saw the cartoon, my immediate response was, “Oh God, where was the editor on that one?” It is, after all, a chimpanzee, not a goat or a goldfish.
This is a lot like the problem I was struggling with while watching Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ, which is so full of blatant anti-Semitic stereotypes that you just get to a point where you cannot accept the filmmaker’s pleas of religious expression as any kind of excuse. I’m not saying such expression should be banned, just that people should behave a lot more responsibly when playing in the public forum.