Sunday, December 01, 2013

Ted Rall and Comics: A Discussion

Ava: This holiday weekend, The Daily Kos 'celebrated' by banning Ted Rall.  This is part of a pattern of banning leftists -- as opposed to Democratic Party operatives and whores who are always welcome at the site of Henry Hyde's one-time boy-genius. You may remember that Chris Floyd was earlier banned by Daily Kos. Like many sites today, Kos is one that screams 'racist' while being racist.  This is a small roundtable made up of C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review;  Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts and, me The Third Estate Sunday Review's Ava.  For those who don't know, Isaiah does the comics at The Common Ills.  He's been doing them since 2005.   Isaiah, you take on Barack Obama the same as you did Bully Boy Bush.  What's the difference, if any, in the hate e-mails?

Isaiah: When I started doing the comics for The Common Ills, Bully Boy Bush was already at less than 50% approval rating.  That didn't prevent the occasional angry e-mails. With Barack?  I've gotten very ugly and very mean e-mails.  Sometimes, a few weeks later, they'll write again and say, "Oops! Didn't know you were Black!"

Ava: They write back after they find that out because?

Isaiah: Sorry.  The e-mails, that always come in objecting to a Barack cartoon, they call me racist.  Then some of them learn later that I'm African-American and they write back an "Oops! Didn't know you were Black!"  Anything I draw with Barack results in cries of 'racism' from some people.  For instance, I draw Barack in a dress and get, "You racist! You'd never do that to a White president!"  Uh, try learning something before you scream 'racist.'  I did a comic about Bully Boy Bush being a hooker, had him in fishnet stockings and a skirt --

Isaiah (Con't): -- I did a whole series where Bully Boy Bush wore wedding dresses.  It kicked off with him meeting daughter Jenna's fiancee --

Isaiah (Con't):  -- and many comics later it concluded with Big Babs Bush, Bully Momma, discovering him playing dress up -- and drooling over Blackwater's Eric Prince -- at which point Big Babs put an end to it.


Ava:  And other political figures?  What's the reaction been?

Isaiah: In 2007, I began covering the primary contenders and got more criticism from Mick Huckabee supporters than anyone else on the Republican side.  I only did one but I got e-mails in the hundreds the first month it went up.  And they continued and continue.


Ava: And the ones on John McCain?

Isaiah: Never got a complaint.  The same, by the way, with Hillary Clinton.  In fact, I did one in 2007 with blood dripping from the mouths of Hillary, John Edwards and Barack Obama.


Isaiah (Con't): I got complaints -- tons -- from Barack groupies.  I got about 20, maybe 30, on behalf of John Edwards -- from people he may or may not have slept with.  There wasn't one complaint about Hillary.

Ava: What do you attribute that to?

Isaiah: I would argue her supporters were aware of politics and political cartoons and didn't see them as life or death.  This attitude may have prevented them from calling out MSNBC for all the attacks they launched on Hillary.

Ava: Okay, I'm handing off to C.I. and I'll take notes while she speaks with you.

Isaiah: Alright.

C.I.: The Ted Rall comic that's causing the uproar is this.

C.I. (Con't): Your general take on this?  It was termed "racist" by The Daily Kos.

Isaiah: Am I missing something?  Is the charge of racism something to do about Afghanistan or  the leader of Afghanistan?  I'm not seeing anything.

C.I.:  Rall was told he rendered Barack "ape-like."

Isaiah: Oh dear God.  To look at that drawing?  My first thought would be, "He rendered Barack Homer Simpson-like."  I used to be a Ted Rall fan.  I don't have time to follow him now.  I work, I've got comics to do for the newsletters and for The Common Ills.  And Tom Tomorrow, among others, was so disappointing, that I really started ignoring other comics.  The upper lip is probably what has people upset, right?  I don't know that it's ape-like, again, I saw it as Homer Simpson-like.  I'd also need to see other comics --

C.I.: I know look at this one.  It's Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.

Isaiah:  Thank you, that's the perfect cartoon for this.  You'll notice he does that space above the upper lip on Carter and Bill Clinton.  There's no racism in the comic that got him banned.  Just looking at this comic, you grasp that what they are insisting is 'racism' is actually how Ted Rall tends to draw most men regardless of race.

C.I.:  You're sometimes attacked in e-mails for Barack's skin tone in your comics.  Talk about that for a second.

Isaiah: I've drawn a number of Black people -- Barack's bi-racial, he's not Black.  Sorry, I'm Black.  Melissa Harris Lacewell, you may remember, went around screaming, 'as a Black woman,' that Barack was Black not bi-racial.  Turns out Melissa has a White mommy she hid -- so very Imitation of Life.  So Melissa can sit her bi-racial ass down.  I'm Black.  Barack's bi-racial. He's also light skinned.  So I use taupe to color his skin when I remember to -- there are at least two times I've forgotten. [here and here]

the lemon on the lot


Isaiah (Con't):  Condi Rice I used brown, others I use dark brown.  I find it interesting that some get upset that I have given Barack a skin tone -- some because they don't feel he should have one.  Others because they feel I should be making his skin darker.

C.I.: A cartoonist isn't necessarily doing a portrait, if you know what I mean.

Isaiah: That's true.  You do a stylized version.  Some do a caricature.  Others don't worry about whether it looks like the person or not.  As a general rule, I give him huge ears and a pointed chin.  He has a spot on the left side of his face.  For many years, I ignored that.  Sometimes I include it now, if it's an extreme close up on his face.

your server barack

C.I.: Isaiah, you've shared a story in the newsletters, it's one common to many community members.  Where did you encounter racism online?

Isaiah: In 2003, I left comments at The Daily Kos.  I think Betty's summed it up best.  As long as you preached the DNC line and attacked Republicans for racism, you were welcome.  But if you noted the racism among Democrats, you were attacked.  Don't you dare call out the refusal to let Jesse Jackson hold a rally in Florida demanding a recount in 2000.  When you do something like that, all the sudden it's dogpile on the Black man or the Black woman.  Betty's noted of that site and others that if you just go along, they love you but if you try to raise real issues of race, they attack you.  There's something very sad and telling about this basically all White community that wants to scream racism.

C.I.: Building on that, Salon sure loves to scream racism.  I'm sorry, they employ how many people of color? Alex Pareene is African-American?  Joan Walsh? Steve Kornacki? Irin Carmon?  Editor David Daley is African-American? Anna North is African-American?  They're White.  Daniel D'Addario is White.  Is he really helping the world, are any of them?  He wrote a piece slamming Justin Timberlake -- someone no one in this community would defend -- and calling out what he saw as racism -- I don't know, I have a busy life so I don't watch the American Music Awards.  But if Daniel's really concerned about racism maybe the place to focus is not what some singer said or did but instead on Salon who's happy to speak for Black America, just not willing to employ them or give them a seat at the microphone.

Isaiah: That's a really good point. Whether it's Kos or Salon or The Progressive or Amy Goodman or any of the people supposedly concerned with racism, you notice that Black America is pretty much whited out by them.  They're happy to scream racism at others but their own hiring practices scream of discrimination.

C.I.: Ava and I raised the Salon issue in a TV commentary awhile back but it got left on the cutting room floor.  And I'm tossing back to Ava now.

Ava: Salon is very racist.  I've been repeatedly offended, as a Latina, by Joan Walsh's nonsense and called her out for that.  It must be nice to be Anglo White Salon deciding that others are racists while your own hiring practices are racist.  Closing thoughts from you Isaiah on the attack on Ted Rall?  Do you agree it's an attack, I'm sorry?

Isaiah: Yes, I agree one hundred percent.  Ted Rall didn't draw a racist comic.  They're using that false charge to bully him and to avoid the issues the comic raises -- that Barack makes promises he doesn't keep.  I included Michelle Obama in some early comics.  She's not an attractive woman.  I find it very whorish that she's been billed as beautiful.  She's not. And that's even if you set aside the smaller right eye.  Just her facial shape causes her problems. She's not beautiful.  Neither is Madonna.  On a good day, both can be seen as well groomed.  I found if I drew her realistically, I got hate mail.  With one exception.  There was a comic where Barack looked stylish and cool and no one seemed to care that I had drawn Michelle on a bad day.

Lowering the Brand

Isaiah (Con't): But anticipating this, I ended up going with Michelle's anger as her trademark and began drawing her green as the She-Hulk.

Happy Birthday, Barack

Isaiah (Con't): That stopped the complaints about Michelle.  And I think it's really telling that my drawing Michelle as a green Hulk is the only thing that ended the b.s. e-mails.  Have people been too sensitive?  No.  Because the ones making the charges, leading the charges, usually don't even believe it.  It's a bunch of White people screaming "racism!" in an attempt to silence and prevent criticism of Barack -- or even prevent him from being treated the way every other president has been treated.  The Cult of St. Barack is all about babying Barack.

Ava: Thank you.  This has been a rush transcript.  We're all outraged by the false attack on Ted Rall and wanted to do some feature addressing it.  The two comics of Rall's in this article are presented here to show what he drew and how he draws.  He retains all rights to his comics.  The same is true of Isaiah's comics  Our e-mail address is

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