Since I don’t want Eric Holder to think I’m a coward, I’m gonna talk about the “racist” email that got Staten Island Community Education Council member Salvatore Ballarino fired.
I’d like to show it to you, but – unlike the NY Post Chimp cartoon – it’s incredibly hard to find on the internet. Mostly what you get is the scary description:
The mock photo strip, sent Jan. 4 by Salvatore Ballarino, the borough president’s appointee to the volunteer board, features cartoon-like speech balloons drawn out of McCain’s mouth referencing lynching African Americans and equating African American babies with excrement.
The widely forwarded email also questions black fathers’ ability to support their families and states Stevie Wonder and Ray Charles are always smiling, because they did not know they were black. After each “punch line” the cartoon-like strip shows a photo of Obama’s face, positioned in such a way to make him look stunned and dumbstruck.
Now, the joke that has the NAACP in a bilious tizzy is not particularly funny or even clever. It’s just a lame pun on the word “support” combined with a negative stereotype about black men. If that’s all Ballarino had forwarded, I could see their point.
But the cartoon only uses the joke as part of a larger gag. The humor here is the juxtaposition of two serious, somber, dignified men in a formal situation engaging in a conversation utterly unbefitting such a backdrop.
The humor value goes up if you believe that John McCain is a closet racist, which would give it a “funny because it’s true” bonus. For normal people it’d be funnier if the white guy in the picture were an ACTUAL racist, like Senator Robert “Kleagle & Exalted Cyclops” Byrd, but you aren’t gonna find a picture of THOSE two together chatting amiably, so THAT comic’s not getting made anytime soon.
But even though I think this cartoon has some non-racist humor value for a certain audience, I still think it’s too lame to forward.
Weak sauce punch line.
In a REAL multi-panel cartoon, the nonplussed Obama image would be the pause before the punchline, and not the punchline itself. Ending the way it does, it makes it look like Obama got “got” by the evil racist cracker. The point is to make McCain look like a jerk, not Obama look like a victim. It works better if Obama now makes some attempt to restore normalcy to a VERY awkward situation. Ideally, the 5th panel would reinforce the earlier themes of Obama being composed and dignified, and having McCain obliviously spouting an even more racially insensitive remark. For example:
Now, I’m not saying any of this is either appropriate for or amusing to a general audience. I’m just taking the time to look past the racist tree in search of a funny forest, sowing seeds as necessary to reclaim the land that was clearcut by humorless liberals.
I think it’s what Eric Holder would’ve wanted.
Reader Joe was kind enough to forward me the original email that Ballarino was fired for forwarding. I’m posting links to the images so you can judge them for yourself.
Pity that the same MSM who plastered contextless Abu Ghraib photos everywhere doesn’t have the journalistic integrity to do the same.