Obama and Monkey Business

Via memeorandum, I see that the Washington Post issued a preemptive apology for this cartoon accompanying Gene Weingarten‘s humor piece, “Monkey Business – The good news for men: Women love apes” in the Sunday supplement:

The apology:

The headline, illustration and text of “Below the Beltway,” a column in The Washington Post Magazine today, may cause offense to readers. The magazine was printed before a widely publicized incident last week in which a chimpanzee attacked and badly mauled a woman in Stamford, Conn. In addition, the image and text inadvertently may conjure racial stereotypes that The Post does not countenance. We regret the lapse.

Given the controversy over a recent NY Post cartoon involving a monkey, one understands the Post’s caution.  And, yes, I understand that there are unfortunate racial connotations going back generations. But, seriously, are all references and images of monkeys off limits for the duration of the Obama administration?

We elected the man President of the United States.  The glass ceiling has been, shall we say, shattered.

For that matter, despite their both having larger than average ears, there are far, far more allusions to George W. Bush and variations on “chimp” than there are on Obama and “monkey.”  Precisely, as it turns out, because one is merely personally insulting (Bush equals not smart) while the other invokes racial prejudice and is thus taboo.

Sometimes, a cigar is just a cigar.  And sometimes a monkey is just a monkey

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. PD Shaw says:

    We need to place a disclaimer before Planet of the Apes movies too.

  2. Bithead says:

    Sometimes, a cigar is just a cigar. And sometimes a monkey is just a monkey

    And of the two, a monkey is much harder to keep lit, and they don’t draw as well.

  3. markm says:

    We need to place a disclaimer before Planet of the Apes movies too.

    Speaking of that…….I was watching a bit of the “Fiscal Responsibility Summit” earlier. I think Senator Conrad was trying to stir the racial pot. Here’s a quote:

    “Many of us believe it’s going to take some special process to bring all of the players together to write a plan so that we see the tradeoffs between what’s available for health care reform, which without question is the 800-pound gorilla”

    I-am-offended….i think.

  4. Joe R. says:

    You mean I can’t watch “Every Which Way But Loose” for four years?

  5. Michael says:

    We need to place a disclaimer before Planet of the Apes movies too.

    Preferably one that read: “This movie sucks, go read the book”.

  6. Rick Almeida says:

    But, seriously, are all references and images of monkeys off limits for the duration of the Obama administration?

    Or, maybe we could just take a reasonably long look at depictions of police shooting monkeys while saying, “Who will write the next stimulus plan now?”

    Nah, the straw man is easier.

  7. James Joyner says:

    Nah, the straw man is easier.

    Apparently. I didn’t comment on the NY Post cartoon because it was borderline and I frankly didn’t care. The cartoon that’s the subject of discussion here, however, rather clearly hasn’t a blasted thing to do with Obama or black people.

  8. Eneils Bailey says:

    Sometimes, a cigar is just a cigar. And sometimes a monkey is just a monkey.

    are all references and images of monkeys off limits for the duration of the Obama administration?

    After all, were not the references to GWB being a “Chimp,” “Nazi,” “Cowboy,” “Redneck,” “Bush-Hitler,” etc..etc.. spewed forth quite often during Bush’s term? And no one in the MSN seemed no more than apathetic to their excesses.

    A cigar is a cigar. And a monkey is a monkey. And it seems hypocrisy is a one-way street.

  9. Rick Almeida says:

    James,

    I beg your pardon. Crappy day, and I didn’t read remotely carefully.