Friday, February 20, 2009

Forced Apology

The New York Post offers a half-assed apology for “that cartoon.”

Wednesday’s Page Six cartoon – caricaturing Monday’s police shooting of a chimpanzee in Connecticut – has created considerable controversy.

It shows two police officers standing over the chimp’s body: “They’ll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill,” one officer says.

It was meant to mock an ineptly written federal stimulus bill.

Period.

But it has been taken as something else – as a depiction of President Obama, as a thinly veiled expression of racism.

This most certainly was not its intent; to those who were offended by the image, we apologize.

However, there are some in the media and in public life who have had differences with The Post in the past – and they see the incident as an opportunity for payback.

To them, no apology is due.

Sometimes a cartoon is just a cartoon – even as the opportunists seek to make it something else.

This is like the bully being forced by his mom to apologize, while she has him by the ear lobe.

First, if you don’t mean it, don’t bother. Clearly this is brought forth only because of the public outrage on the street and from internal objections by staff members of the paper. An apology under duress is useless.

Second, taking swipes at “opportunists” pretty much nullifies the intent of the apology in the first place.

Third, if you have to explain the humor in a cartoon, then you need a new cartoonist.