Wednesday, February 28, 2007
Thin Skinned Miscellany
2) One of comics blogging's rightfully certified invaluable resources, Dirk Deppey, went off the rails yesterday in his criticism of Garry Trudeau's recent strips about right-wing use of "Democrat Party" as an epithet. Deppey:
Speaking of dumb-ass comic-strip controversies: According to Editor & Publisher, two comic strips (Garry Trudeau’s Doonesbury and Darrin Bell’s Candorville) are riffing against the latest apparent attack on the Democrats by the Republicans — referring to them as the “Democrat Party”:
The use of “Democrat” Party is considered a slur, because it makes the Democratic Party seem, well, less democratic. And “Democrat” puts contemptuous emphasis on the letters “rat.”
Is this serious? Because I’m getting a strong “Mommy, he’s looking at me funny!” vibe from all this. Hint: If you’re going to comment on politics, it’s generally a good idea to convince people that you’re coming at the subject from a clever, superior point of view. Failing that, try to avoid giving the impression that you’re a thin-skinned jackass. Isn’t Garry Trudeau supposed to be smarter than this? (Above: Apparently not. Sequence from last Sunday’s Doonesbury strip, ©2007 G.B. Trudeau, age eight.)
As Dirk ought to know or could easily take the time find out if he's about to call Trudeau stupid and immature, the "Democrat Party” swipe so loved by W. these days has been used pejoratively by the right for decades--Hendrik Hertzberg traced it from the Harding Administration, up through Joe McCarthy and Newt Gingrich in a New Yorker piece last year:
As Hertzberg says, ““Democrat Party” is a slur, or intended to be—a handy way to express contempt. Aesthetic judgments are subjective, of course, but “Democrat Party” is jarring verging on ugly. It fairly screams “rat.” At a slightly higher level of sophistication, it’s an attempt to deny the enemy the positive connotations of its chosen appellation.”Markus says it best in the Journalista comments: "the use of the tactic makes it very clear that your opponent’s antagonism is not rooted in a substantial philosophical (political) disagreement but instead simple disrespect for you as a person. The other side is indicating that you’re not worth talking to, which - back in the political field - pretty much equates to abandoning democratic principles in favour of simple mudslinging."
How is something like this not appropriate for a Doonesbury strip? It's in Garry's wheelhouse, for Christ's sake. Whether or not his execution was funny is debatable, but the pettiness and hypocrisy of the right aren't exactly new topics for the guy.
Does this guy complain when Doonesbury talks about any of those things? If not, then it seems likely he's complaining 'cause he's one of those people who likes to say "Democrat Party." Nobody likes being called on their own bullshit.
For what it's worth, I thought it was a worthy topic. While both were well-done, I actually thought Candorville's take on it was a bit funnier.
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