Since we've been having a lot of fun at the hapless Washington Post these days with the Randolph, Utah flap (here, here, here, and here), let's open up another front in the culture wars.
A while back—we lose count sometimes—the Post's longtime editorial page cartoonist, Herbert Block, aka, Herblock, passed away after a long, long career. An unreconstructed New Dealer and hard leftist, Herblock reliably trashed every Republican and Christian in sight about 98% of the time for as long as Wonker can remember. It was always amazing to see just how reliably one-sided this unabashed propagandist for the left could be. Needless to say, he won his fair share of tainted prizes, including the Pulitzer, over the years. Such recognition is the expectation of every left-lib in the MSM who hews to the party line. It also guaranteed the kind of job security one only dreams of in this life.
Well, as we mentioned, Herblock is no more. Wonker admits to having been secretly pleased when he learned of the cartoonist's demise, reprehensibly pleased, actually. Wonk likes to think he could be at least somewhat excused, however, for hoping, ever the optimist, that Herblock's eventual replacement would necessarily be an improvement.
Bzzzzt!! Wrong answer! Not only can the Post's new cartoonist, Tom Toles, not draw. It seems as if he served his apprenticeship either on the staff of the pre-Berlin Wall Pravda, or perhaps in the back offices of Al Jazeera. As Roboam, son of Soloman, famously told his subjects on gaining his late father's throne, "My father beat you with whips. I will beat you with scorpions."
Toles clearly has the scorpions at his beck and call as Michelle Malkin indicates here, while reproducing one of the most offensive editorial cartoons we've ever seen in the U.S. Who scripted this thing anyway, the Daily Kos? Has Howell Raines, ousted from the New York Times for his lousy management and (even for the Times) lack of editorial judgment, secretly been raised from the Gehenna of a ruined career to run the Post's editorial and op-ed pages (where even George Will and Bob Novak take shots at W today)?
Toles disses the entire U.S. military by poking fun at a hospitalized soldier missing 4 limbs, as his physician (who looks an awful lot like Rummy) declares him to be "battle hardened." Seems like it's Toles' arteries that are hardened here. Funny is funny and satire is satire, and we engage in a good bit of both ourselves. But this 'toon is just plain sick and cruel, no two ways about it. As we've been noting in the context of our Randolph, Utah entries, it's not the hicks in the hinterlands who are politically tone-deaf. It's the hicks who inhabit the newsrooms of America's major networks and newspapers. No more Dijon mustard for these guys!
On the surface, we might be plausibly accused of blustering our way toward a replay of the European Islam-cartoon flap. But note: neither Michelle Malkin nor HazZzmat advises the kind of reply to this provocation that the Islamofascists have been urging on the wobbly Danes who are trying to extricate themselves from the international damage caused by too much editorial freedom. (Note to hypersensitive lefties: that was a joke.)
Here in the U.S., the Joint Chiefs have already fired back at the Post with a letter denouncing the cartoon, exercising their own free speech rights. We have no current link to the letter, although the Post's Howard Kurtz writes that it's been published. (But HazZzmat has uncovered a photocopy of the actual letter and may excerpt it in a later blog if we can't find a link for you.)
Meanwhile, as befits a democracy, Instapunk has hit upon an even better strategy: have a contest for recaptioning the cartoon! Why don't you head on over to the link and give it a try?
The Post is currently declining to apologize for Toles' inoperative editorial statement. After thinking about it, we don't think that they should. It's simply not necessary. The Joint Chiefs have had their say, and the Instapunk contest is underway. This is a process the Islamofascists may never grasp: Democracy and free speech in action in ways the MSM itself only dimly comprehends. It works. No one gets killed. Tom Toles himself gets battle hardened in the process. And learns to reflect on the diversity of public opinion just a little bit longer before picking up his pen again.
UPDATE: More on the ongoing Euro-cartoon battles here.