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Obama’s America Iron Bowl Cartoon Controversy

obamas-america-iron-bowl-cartoon

Irony is officially dead.

AL.com (“The Crimson White apologizes for Iron Bowl editorial cartoon after social media backlash“):

The University of Alabama student newspaper The Crimson White issued an official apology for an editorial cartoon in Thursday’s edition after some readers perceived it had “racist intentions,” according to the apology from editor-in-chief Mazie Bryant.

The satirical cartoon, published the CW’s opinion page, depicts two football players — one from the Alabama Crimson Tide, the other from the Auburn Tigers — in the final play of last week’s Iron Bowl.

The Alabama player is tripped up as the Auburn player runs to victory under the words “This is what happens in Obama’s America.”

“The cartoon, in fact, was intended as a lighthearted look at some of the more absurd explanations given for Alabama’s collapse at the end of the Iron Bowl game against Auburn last Saturday,” Bryant wrote in Thursday. “Many fans across the state took to social media and personal platforms to place blame for the team’s loss. To The Crimson White, and much of the student body, the blame was based on ridiculous and unfounded reasons.”

The cartoon appeared to be a play on the popular online meme, “Thanks, Obama,” an expression used on sites like Reddit and Facebook to sarcastically blame personal inconveniences on President Obama.

“This cartoon was, by no means, intended to be racist or insulting,” Bryant said. “It was the unfortunate product of editorial oversight and a lack of a critical eye in determining possible implications the cartoon could have. This mistake will not be made again.”

In a comment on The Crimson White’s Facebook page, cartoonist Kevin Pabstapologized for any offense the comic might have caused.

“I wasn’t even taking a political stab at Obama,” Pabst wrote. “As many have noted, my thought process here was to mock those who blindly blame Obama for any and everything that goes wrong. So yes, it was just a ‘Thanks Obama’ joke. Hindsight is 20/20, and I realize now there are ways I could have made the intent behind the cartoon more evident. Sometimes sarcasm isn’t executed as well on paper as it is in my head.”

They’re apparently now going to have a review panel for future editorial cartoons. But are there any cartoons, especially those involving a black political leader, that couldn’t be construed by somebody as racist?

The “Obama’s America” meme is rather prevalent and everyone in the state would have understood the drawing. If this is offensive, then everything is offensive. And, rather than a heckler’s veto, we’ve instituted a moron’s veto.

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About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He has a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.

Comments

  1. C. Clavin says:

    If this is offensive, then everything is offensive. And, rather than a heckler’s veto, we’ve instituted a moron’s veto.

    And that is….obviously…Obama’s fault.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 2

  2. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    Please, Dr. Joyner. Any and all criticism of Obama is considered racist until every single aspect of the critic has been examined thoroughly and declared free of any trace of racism, bigotry, or any kind of bias. And since there has yet to be such an infallible human being, then the critic is deemed a racist. That means that the criticism is also racist and can be dismissed freely, replaced with attacks on the critic in the first place.

    It’s been at least 5 years of this rule, Dr. Joyner. Where the hell have you been?

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 21

  3. James Pearce says:

    I love the blood dripping from the letters.

    And I think it should read “Thanks, Obama.” That would not only make it funnier, it would actually fit in with the meme.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  4. C. Clavin says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:
    Once again Jenos is a victim.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  5. al-Ameda says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Please, Dr. Joyner. Any and all criticism of Obama is considered racist until every single aspect of the critic has been examined thoroughly and declared free of any trace of racism, bigotry, or any kind of bias.

    One thing we do know is that some of the people who mockingly pronounce that “Any and all criticism of Obama is considered racist” are often the ones who believe that Obama is a racist, and that the only real victims of racism in America today are White people.

    I personally don’t believe that, however as a good faith gesture I’m sending a donation in the amount of $100 to “Save George Zimmerman,” in the hope that my outreach will somehow make condominium complexes in Sanford, Florida a safer place to be for aggrieved White people.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2

  6. mattbernius says:

    @James Pearce:

    And I think it should read “Thanks, Obama.” That would not only make it funnier, it would actually fit in with the meme.

    Kinda what I was thinking. The phrase “In Obama’s America” immediately makes me think of Rush Limbaugh infamous monologue about black kids getting away with beating up white kids on buses.

    I’m not a college football fan, but I am curious, is Auburn considered to be a primarily African American school (it’s not a HBC right?). If so, that, combined with the particular phrase, helps explain the seeming overreaction to an otherwise innocuous cartoon.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  7. Bkhuna says:

    If it had been some pantywaist liberal school and some equally effeminate sport like soccer, they could have blamed their loss on GW and gotten away with it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 5

  8. Jim M says:

    Either way it was a poorly thought out attempt at humor. Thinking you are funny with making jokes blaming the president for a pathetic football game just because its popular to do so is not well thought out. Right now politics are full of each party bashing each other and I can understand how anything along those lines would be considered a cheap shot…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3

  9. bill says:

    @Jim M: you’re missing the irony i think.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  10. SKI says:

    Sarcasm is dead

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  11. Franklin says:

    I’m not sure it was well-executed, but the fact that it’s a cartoon should be a hint for most people. Although no apology is needed, I think the artist’s non-apology apology is just about right.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  12. al-Ameda says:

    @Bkhuna:

    If it had been some pantywaist liberal school and some equally effeminate sport like soccer, they could have blamed their loss on GW and gotten away with it.

    Translation: “Whah!”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  13. grewgills says:

    @mattbernius: @mattbernius:

    I am curious, is Auburn considered to be a primarily African American school (it’s not a HBC right?).

    No it isn’t. When I went there 20 some years ago, it was about as black as U of A.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  14. grewgills says:

    I’m having a hard time seeing how it was interpreted as racist. Maybe it’s the lack of sleep.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0