While Beat pal and cartoonist Batton Lash probably wouldn’t mind being on MSNBC, this may not have been the context he’d have preferred.
MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell attempted to go Olbermann last night on Obama Nation, the cartoon by James Hudnall and Lash that runs regularly on the right-wing Big Hollywood website. O’Donnell is not a fan of Lash’s cartoon stylings in a comic that mocked Michelle Obama’s ongoing battles against American obesity, which some think have gone too far by banning the kind of unhealthy crap that makes life worth living:
This is the most famous and most-admired African-American woman in the world — Michelle Obama — as seen through the hateful vision of comic book artist Batton Lash. A right-wing blog posted these extremely offensive images of the first lady.
After watching the clip it’s safe to say that O’Donnell is no Keith Olbermann — we couldn’t even get to the end.
Lash and Hudnall responded to the kerfuffle over on Big Hollywood. Hudnall:
When someone steps out on to the political stage, they have to expect criticism from people who disagree with them. It doesn’t matter what their race is. Race doesn’t give them a free pass. Our criticism was very mild. The reaction the cartoon has gotten, which has been fueled by political agitators like Media Matters, has been over the top. The true measure of success of any political cartoon is how it effects the other side in the argument. Apparently, this one was a home run.
What would you say to critics that are offended about the depiction of the President and those who argue the cartoon is racist?
What’s racist about it? Cartooning—specifically political cartooning– has always been about exaggeration, whether it was Nixon’s prominent jowls, Carter’s toothy smile, or Bush ll’s beady eyes. If our current president is exempt because of the color of his skin, I think that would be racist. By the way, I didn’t depict the First Lady as fat—just a hearty eater!
We’ve mentioned Obama Nation here before, and our major criticism is a grave one: It’s just not that funny. Indeed, since the teapot tempest began, the creators seem to agree the gag quotient needs to be “beefed” up, and have edited the cartoon in question, changing the punchline from “Shut up and pass the bacon!” to the funnier “Shut up and pass the lard!” — “lard” is a much more humorous word than “bacon” and also references “pork barrel” programs which should be cut from the budget.
If Hudnall and Lash really wanted to pile on the comedy, they should have picked on this photo from Google’s “Michelle Obama eating” collection, which shows the first lady regarding a giant yam.
A “giant yam” is always funny. And it’s even funnier when you are wearing Catwoman-style gloves while holding it up.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.