Recognizing that Planned Parenthood provides health services for expectant mothers to ensure a safe pregnancy and delivery, an unborn child justifies the strident tone with which a feminist activist addresses its mother in exhorting her to vote in her interests. A good cartoon.
Most criticism of Obama is about as factual as the myth about lemmings stampeding over a cliff, persisting in popular consciousness despite proof to the contrary. Rather, people devoid of critical thinking abilities rush to embrace it like lemmings over a you-know-what.
Submission: Can You Tell Me How to Get to K Street
Criticizing the president for TV appearances, something previous presidents have done since the dawn of TV, and for eating dog meat served to him as a child, when most people don’t have a choice to turn down food given to them, is childish, desperate, and undignified. A good cartoon.
I’d like to add: Take a good look at Ramirez’ realistic, detailed depiction of the Sesame Street gang, compared to the two worm-headed beanpoles ostensibly passing as humans.
The creation by the right of this simulacrum of the president has been an overarching theme in Ramirez’ work for the past four years. You can track its (d)evolution over time — compare Obama a la Ramirez circa 2012 with the same circa 2008. Though still distorted through a skewed lens, the image of the man at least had flesh and substance, a passing resemblance to its true subject. Not so the skeletal stand-in of today, stripped of the least shred of reality — his head ever-shrinking, swallowed up by a couple features exaggerated beyond reason, over time bearing less and less resemblance to the actual president let alone any human being alive. A wisp, a scribble; almost no effort is exerted in its depiction. As Baudrillard wrote in describing the passage of the image through the stages of counterfeit to mask to simulacrum, “It is no longer a question of imitation, nor duplication, nor even parody. It is a question of substituting the signs of the real for the real.”
This Obama-substitution is propped up against, and stands in stark contrast to, a lovingly crosshatched plane (DEBT), car (DEBT) or boat (DEBT). Mere pieces of machinery, rendered with more life and verisimilitude than the president himself; often shoehorned into frame on the slimmest excuse for what passes for discourse (DEBT). Against such a backdrop — never once opening his eyes, barely opening a tiny mouth above the empty space where his chin should be — this tortured concept of a man recedes further and further into the singularity of machinery and labels. (Often he doesn’t even appear at all anymore, merely represented by a speech bubble escaping one of these machines.)
It certainly highlights the dehumanization directed at Obama, the extreme otherization of a leader who, realistically speaking, hasn’t governed any differently from any previous administration. The original, the real, the facts — they no longer figure into this patchwork monstrosity in the conservative mind’s-eye. All that remains is the simulacrum. An effigy, to be burned in the fires of fear and hate and ignorance.
This, Ramirez warns us, is what political discourse has been reduced to. A cacophony of machinery and labels stomping on a dehumanized face, forever.
Very observant. Brilliant even. No wonder Ramirez earned all those Pulitzers.
In honor of the cartoonist whose unique ability to handle a visual metaphor is perhaps the primary inspiration for this Tumblr, and since I have half a dozen or so of his ‘toons in the queue, I hereby declare this Michael Ramirez Week.
Let’s start with an open submission invitation, I enjoyed the last one.
What do you imagine Ramirez is attempting to communicate with this, erm, drawing of a thing? (And don’t say DEBT, that’s cheating)