Race

'We Apologize', Sort Of ... Except to Some of You

So, today, The New York Post, offered a peculiar apology for the now infamous cartoon that ran in the "Page Six" section of its newspaper on Wednesday.

A quick recap of the drama: A caricature attempts to marry themes of both the recent police shooting of a chimpanzee in Connecticut with scrutiny surrounding President Obama's newly signed economic stimulus bill. In the cartoon, a chimpanzee appears to be shot dead by police who then make reference to the stimulus bill.

"They'll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill," says the officer as the gunsmoke clears.

There's a big argument that the chimp was meant to depict Obama, the "real-life" captain behind the economic recovery package.

All in the name of parody.

(Click here to see the actual cartoon. We also touched on this in today's conversation on racial dialogue in the U.S., and in the Barbershop.)

Among the many reasons this just didn't sit well with a broad range of critics who rebuked the paper for running the cartoon, is the fact that — and it has to be said — there was a time in this country when referencing an African-American as a monkey was an iconic racial slur.

So, add the race factor (and the Rev. Al Sharpton) to all the criticism by the general population over the cartoon for, at the very least, being insensitive ... and what do you get?

A resounding, "have you lost your mind?" directed at Rupert Murdoch's newspaper.

That being said, here's the apology that ran in today's The New York Post:

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.

Question: To whom is the apology directed, and exactly who is it not intended for? Does it mean that whoever is a part of that group — in other words, "the opportunists" — has no legitimate right to be upset or offended by the cartoon?

It's left some wondering ...

And even if one might have a history of "differences" with an institution, and/or if vengeance is sweet justice to an individual who, for whatever reason, may not hold the newspaper in the highest respect, is it absolute cause for that person to be stripped of his or her right to be fundamentally ... offended, and thus not in the "target apology group"?

I've been thinking about this, and am curious to know your thoughts ...

Do you think the above is ... an apology, even if it has conditions?

Or, should the The New York Post be cut some slack for even acknowledging there is an outcry (which they really are not obligated to do)?

Happy Friday.

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