It is quite refreshing to hear the outcry about another pseudo-apology. I’ve written a number of posts about these in the past. There have been Tom Foley, John Hagee, Desparate Housewives, Bill Belichick, Southwest Airlines, Larry Craig, & Michael Vick. The New York Post joins this club. This is their apology.
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.
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.
The first failure is the often used line, “to those who were offended”. This is usually a veiled statement about what is lacking in those who were offended than it is an apology. Notice how the intent of the cartoon is defended in the words preceeding the “to those who were offended” reference. In other words, “if you are so sensitive as to not get the joke, then we apologize”.
The second failure is to withold an apology to others. The New York Post is what it is … a tabloid. It thrives on the sensational and the outrageous. It is by nature, defensive, always perceiving itself as being under attack. It can and does hit back. An apology is no place to do that.
I’m delighted to see many others jumping in and calling this “apology” what it is … a non-apology.
The New York Post writers don’t know about the historical caricature of people of African descent as apes? Or is the juxtaposition between the killing of a chimpanzee and the stimulus package just too obvious to pass up?
To the New York Post: Sometimes an editorial cartoon is inappropriate. Yours was inappropriate.