Home Culture Cartoonists MSNBC's O'Donnell takes on Hudnall/Lash over Michelle Obama cartoon

MSNBC's O'Donnell takes on Hudnall/Lash over Michelle Obama cartoon


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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.

  1. politics shmolitics these are TERRIBLE COMICS!! atrocious. NOT FUNNY!! astonishing how not funny. its truly sad when comics get a chance to hit a wide audience and are just BAD plain and simple. not funny. not clever.

  2. The fact that the strip isn’t funny — I mean, I’m not sure I grasp the punchline at all — is the biggest problem with it.

    I think Bill Maher said it best last week with (paraphrasing), “Just because she sees that your kids sweat Mountain Dew doesn’t mean she’s oppressing you.”


  3. I normally LIKE Lawrence O’Donnell. But the creator’s retort is valid. They’re extremely prominant figures in multiple arenas. They don’t get a free pass. On the other hand, the strip really wasn’t that funny or biting, so I’m not sure what the big deal is…

  4. I’m not sure what the big deal is either, but O’Donnell calls on viewers to harass me (by name, mentioned multiple times) as Batton’s wife and says we live in San Diego. I’ve already received tons of abusive e-mails and have had to unplug the phone. Do there’s the “new civility” for you. Fortunately I’ve received lots of messages from all sorts of people who say that they completely disagree with the politics of the cartoon but do not see anything remotely racist about it and support Batton and James’s first amendment right to publish it.

    By the way, the strip actually appears on BigGovernment.com (and is rerun on BigJournalism.com), although it originally started out on BigHollywood.com.

  5. I happened to have the TV on and saw the show last night. My first reaction is “Who the hell are these guys?” I didn’t know who they were. Through some research I did find that Hudnall wrote the Unauthorized Biography of Lex Luthor in the 90s that Eduardo Baretto drew and it was and still is one of my favorite comics.

    That aside, Lawrence O’Donnell is a treehugger who is no Olbermann. I would rather have seen Rachel Maddow tackle this since she at least reads comics. I saw a bunch of these cartoons on their site and they just defy the laws of physics by both sucking and blowing at the same time. The art doesn’t thrill me at all and they simply aren’t funny in any way. Lash doesn’t do great caricatures so it might be better if they did original characters instead. These aren’t in the same universe as a great Jim Borgman political cartoon and just looks like an amateur work they do on the side…

  6. This is why I stopped watching cable news stations, even the ones I agreed with — it’s all barking and bitching. I used to be a big Olberman viewer until I realized that all of these stations are trading on hype and fear wrapped in a 24 hour news cycle.

    I remember the last president being depicted with giant ears. I honestly don’t see anything racist in the drawings or the dialog shown here in Batton’s work. Its not like they’re eating something stereotypical of African-Americans.

    Having said that, I would’ve liked to have read the entire comic to determine for myself if it were actually funny or not.

    But this all seems to be a lot froth and spittle over nothing. C’mon, Lawrence O’Donnell, take your pills.

  7. I love Batton’s work, but when a cartoon this unfunny appears, it feels like it’s all partisanship and no meat. So it’s a big fat lard-ridden fail. Seriously, the woman is just saying Americans should eat healthier (and they should) and gets crap for having a Super Bowl party with some junk food, as if things are that black and white. Ugh, enough of me and my soap box…

  8. I agreed with Lawrence O’Donnell until he mentioned Jackie Estrada. This is like the Fox News tactic of ambushing people at home or when they’re on vacation. It seems to encourage stalking. The cartoon itself is just incompetent. I’ve seen many cartoons which exaggerate Obama’s ears, but never did anyone make them look like an elephant’s ears. That’s just obnoxious. And I never would have recognized that drawing as Michelle Obama because he drew her looking like Opra. Does he really think that all black women look alike? The history of comics have more than enough negative stereotypes of blacks without coming up with modern versions that are as ugly 1940s comics. It’s because of the atmosphere of hate on Big Hollywood that I avoid that website because I don’t need to deliberately go places that will just make me angry to see what’s there.

  9. James: I didn’t last through O’Donnell’s droning tirade to get to the part where he mentions Jackie. I am agreed though, that is *awful.*

    I haven’t found this cartoon funny (although I enjoy other works by Bat and Hud) or even vaguely wince worthy, but this particular example is really weak sauce to send a mob over to anyone’s house.

  10. My first thought was that I’d love to see the same guys’ strip railing against Barbara and Laura bush’s attempts to “control” reading habits in America.

    My second thought was that I find it fascinating, judging from the comments at the site where it’s hosted, that this strip which seems so painfully, embarrassingly unfunny and amateurish lives safely inside a bubble where it is considered by its target audience as amusing and trenchant. Most of the comments there are along the lines of (I’m paraphrasing) “great job!” “right on!” and “you said it perfectly!” The strip is clear evidence that the alternate media reality built by the right over the past few decades is thriving, on their own terms. Whether it is actually funny, makes actual sense or makes actual fair points is irrelevant. It makes perfect sense to the folks it’s pitched at. A gigantic framework has been successfully constructed to support the careers of people who can simulate deep thought, humor, news, what have you, for reactionary audiences. The same dynamic explains the careers of Jonah Goldberg, most of the Fox News celebrities, Breitbart’s whole media empire, etc.

    But my god is that comic awful.

  11. I don’t watch Lawrence O’Donnell so I don’t care to comment on him. I do read comics by both Hudnall & Lash so that’s where I’ll direct my comments.

    First of all, as others have already noted, this is just not funny, so it fails as humor of any sort. It also fails as satire. I mean, come on — have you guys even seen a picture of Michelle Obama? Fat she’s not! In order for satire to work, it has to have some semblance to reality. I can see none here.

    Michelle Obama’s only sin is to be married to the guy who is currently President of the United States. First Ladies have traditionally taken up causes meant to promote the public good. When Laura Bush promoted literacy, I don’t remember seeing any cartoons showing her with G.W. Bush reading “My Pet Goat” — they may have been floating around out there, but I don’t remember seeing them. Promoting literacy simply isn’t considered controversial. Neither should the promotion of proper nutrition be controversial, but somehow Hudnall & Lash think it is. Why does the right wing find Obama so objectionable that everything he does finds this kind of unreasoning negativity? Given the racist tenor of the signs that have appeared at too many Tea Party rallies, I can see why some equate every Tea Party utterance with racism. Please note that I don’t agree with that assessment, but I understand why some people do.

    The one cause that I’d like to advocate for — and I have been for the last year or more — is civility in our political discourse. Whatever happened to the notion that reasonable people can disagree in a reasonable fashion? The stridency of the Becks and Limbaughs of our culture has brought us to the point that reasoned dialogue on any political topic is nearly impossible. This cartoon is one more step in the wrong direction, and for that I am truly sorry. I expect better from us (both the American people and the comics creating community.)

  12. The strip O’Donnell goes after is not funny, nor is it racist, at least not compared to the one Jennifer dG posted. That one’s racist as fuck. They might as well have depicted them eating watermelons.

    The worst part about the whole thing is how giddy the creators are about being called bigots.

    The true measure of failure of any political cartoon is how it effects your side in the argument… and creating such blatantly racist content, even under the guise of political satire, damages your argument more then bolsters it. Being unfunny just makes you look like an asshole.

    Jackie, maybe if Baton and Hudnell wouldn’t get such derogatory emails if they weren’t such unfunny liars and racists. Who should people who disagree complain to, if not you? “They that sow the wind, shall reap the whirlwind.”

  13. Who cares what Lawrence O’Donnell says? He’s lucky he has a gig along with the rest on MSNBC. See the numbers? All are in the crapper. Embarrassingly in the crapper.
    And about civility in our political discourse…do any of you WATCH and LISTEN and UNDERSTAND what is on MSNBC from 4pm-10pm EST? All is see is jealous MSNBC commentators (or whatever) bashing FOX and their hosts. That’s ALL they do.
    P.S. – the comic strip is not funny but not racist.

  14. I’m disappointed in The Beat’s coverage of this. Whether or not the cartoon is racist is certainly up for debate – although there seems to be a clear “ugliness” as O’Donnell calls it in the portrayal of the Obama’s eating habits. The idea that blacks are gluttonous and slovenly is an old, ugly sterotype, and it seems obvious that the cartoonists are trying to strip the polish from Michelle Obama’s image by presenting her that way. Part of the intended humor is in the revelation that Michelle Obama, in spite of her pretenses, is no different from the typical conception of African Americans. A conception that in this comic seems pretty hateful.

    But that aside, it’s unfortunate that the reporting on this video goes so out of its way to belittle the very act of criticism on racial grounds. I had assumed that The Beat promoted diversity do to its championing of comics for women and its criticism of anti-female stereotypes. But there seems to be a huge blind spot here with regard to issues of race. Whether or not the cartoon is racist, do we really want to belittle the act of debate and criticism when these issues come up? She would we refer to accusations of sexism in comic book art as a “tempest in a teapot”? I would think not.

    It’s healthy that people are debating whether or not this cartoon is racist, and that people will weigh in on either side. But I think it was a pretty poor choice to present the story as if one side had no right to complain in the first place. Especially when it’s the side that is promoting maturity and diversity in the comics medium.

  15. In the above comment, I meant to say, “Should* we refer to accusations of sexism in comic book art as a tempest in a teapot’?”

    With regards to O’Donnell’s message, I’d also like to say that he was very wrong in naming the cartoonist’s wife by name and mentioning the city he lives in. That seems totally inappropriate, and it’s an invitation to harassment.

  16. Dan, I admit to being biased. I know Jackie and Bat pretty well and I’m pretty sure they aren’t racists — at least they aren’t any more racist than the average American, myself included.

    I’ve been arguing politics with Hud since our days on Compuserve together; I think most of his ideas are absolutely bonkers, but he wouldn’t have been at the top of my racist list either.

    And while it’s not my call, I don’t think the above cartoon really seems racist. Some of the other Obama Nation cartoons are ABSOLUTELY racist in execution — sorry guys. Cheese is right — Bat and Hud are big boys playing on the big field and they knew playing the opposition would get heat. I’m sure Hud enjoys each and every angry email he gets.

    But that said O’Donnell really picked the lamest cartoon he could and went beyond anything civil by talking about Jackie and their home city. Bat and Hud have produced a horribly unfunny political cartoon, but that isn’t a crime in this country.

    My opinion is that everyone came off badly here. Of course it’s also my opinion that suggesting Americans stop killing themselves and their kids with unhealthy diets that just support one pork barrel after another is a GOOD THING that I would like my government or other authority figures to do. 40 years ago even comics fans were slender. http://www.comicconmemories.com/2010/06/19/1974-san-diego-comic-con-photos-batch-3-can-you-identify-people-in-the-pictures/

    Think about THAT!

  17. Thanks for adding to the civility of the discourse, Cheese–isn’t name-calling fun, especially when it’s aimed at people you don’t even know?

  18. I’ll be writing about this sometime next week in TONY’S BLOGGY THING. It should surprise no one that I don’t see any heroes or even any rational thought on either side of this particular fracus.

    But I will agree that SUPERNATURAL LAW has been a favorite of mine. Would that Lash was still doing that instead of these dumb cartoons.

  19. Jackie, Couldn’t one say the same to Bat and Hud about the President?

    PS – I’ve met you and Bat about a half-dozen times at various cons.

    PPS – Congratulations on the biggest press you’ll ever get, too bad it’s about Bat & Hud’s none-too-subtle bigotry.

  20. Honorary graduate of the I-can-yell-louder-than-you school of political analysts, Lawrence O’Donnell has apparently resorted to verbal bomb-throwing in a desperate attempt to get attention and boost MSNBC ratings.

    With all that’s going on in the nation and the world, this is the biggest “crisis” he can find to tackle?

    What a bloody maroon…

  21. “Jackie, Couldn’t one say the same to Bat and Hud about the President?”

    Yeah, there may be some pot-meet-kettle here.

    When the discourse starts out decidedly uncivil (a mean-spirited, dishonest, and cruel cartoon), it’s a little disingenuous to ask everyone responding to suddenly be nice.

  22. How To Tell People They Sound Racist:


    Otherwise, it gets way too easily deflected into complaining about civility and name-calling, as we have seen here. I certainly wouldn’t want to be Jackie Estrada after the indefensible dirtbag move O’Donnell pulled. (On the other hand, I also wouldn’t want to have to defend something as shrill and incompetent as Obama Nation.)

    While it is impossible to know what is inside the cartoonists’ hearts, pointing out that the strip trades in, or at least glances across long-held stereotypes about some black women as domineering, gluttonous harpies (to the point of drawing Michelle as fat, to underscore her supposed hypocrisy) as Dan says, certainly must be within the bounds of discussion *as initiated by Hudnall and Lash with their cartoon*–especially given the context of Obama Nation as a whole.

  23. I for one am hoping Lawrence apologizes on TV tonight. I think either he or someone at MSNBC thought that this was another of those FOX/Tea Bag funded shots at the President and lost his rag. James and Batton are no Glenn and Bill.

  24. Dare I point out that it is one thing to do political cartoons criticizing public leaders and another thing to call cartoonists names for exercising their first amendment right to do so? It’s fine if you don’t like the cartoon, think it isn’t funny, don’t like the drawing, etc.–the work itself is fair game. But attacking the creators commits the fallacy of ad hominem, is not a logical argument, and just makes you look bad for resorting to that tactic.

  25. “Who cares what Lawrence O’Donnell says? He’s lucky he has a gig along with the rest on MSNBC. See the numbers? All are in the crapper.”

    Pointing to the ratings is the usual Fox News toadie distraction which proves nothing. Even Fox themselves are watched by around 2% of the US public, so they’re nothing special to compare with either.

    As for the poor excuse for a parody comic, why can’t any neo-cons actually be funny instead of foaming-at-the-mouth BORING as usual? This seems to be the most pertinent question that should be asked.

  26. Dave —

    That is, regretably, exactly that.

    I like Jackie and Batton lots, but I’m not too happy about the company they’re keeping:

    Andrew Breitbart is a scumbag who popularizes smear campaigns against black politicians and activists, and is totally in cahoots with Fox and the Teabaggers.

    For that matter, smearing Obama as prejudiced against white people is offensive as all getout. And pretty frigging stupid. And dependent on the old line: black man, white woman, black baby.

  27. Jackie, they’re perfectly free to create cartoons that tip-toe on the racism line. Just as I’m free to call them on it. Creators leave a piece of themselves in their art, and when it’s a little-too-often about nothing beyond the president being a black guy, that’s telling.

    According to you, that makes ME look bad?? Funny, I’m not the one turning off his phone, afraid of people calling them a bigot.

  28. “But that said O’Donnell really picked the lamest cartoon he could and went beyond anything civil by talking about Jackie and their home city. Bat and Hud have produced a horribly unfunny political cartoon, but that isn’t a crime in this country.”

    I agree. As I said before, O’Donnell made some incredibly poor choices. The worst of which was encouraging his viewers to harass people personally and giving out the home town of the cartoonist in question.

    I also think O’Donnell did a poor job of explaining in intellectual terms why this cartoon *might* be racist, and instead tried to make an emotional argument by striking a grave tone so we’d know the issue was serious. He missed a valuable opportunity to educate on issues of race so that he could instead cajole his audience into being as offended as he thought they should be.

    “How To Tell People They Sound Racist:


    Excellent video.

  29. People weren’t calling or e-mailing to say “You’re a bigot.” I could not reprint here 90% of the e-mails I got because they were so filled with venom, hate, foul language, and even threats. And these people now know our address. All this over a pretty innocuous cartoon. Again–so much for civil discourse.

  30. No more racist than the average american??? The cartoon in question may or may not be viewed as racist depending upon one’s point of view.
    The one linked to by Jennifer dG cannot be described as anything but racist. As an African American, longtime comics reader and Beat fan — Wow. Friendship does not excuse ugly behavior. Had the linked to cartoon been discussing women in such a negatively stereotypical manner would the argument be “no more sexist than the average american?” And yes, I know that the orignial article was not in reference to the linked to cartoon but sampling other work by the same artist can prove instructive.
    Political cartoons are fine. This is America. Racist cartoons (while vile and at least in some sense indefensible) are also allowed. I guess I just have a problem with the total dismissive nature given to anyone daring to suggest that perhaps friends of The Beat are, at least in some cases, acting in a racist manner.
    Please, let us not unduly insult the “average american.” There are obviously many people who agree with the commentary aired on The Last Word. Are they not the “average american” of whom you speak?? Perhaps they don’t live in “real america.”
    We can disagree. We are American. Its our right. Also, when posting a piece for ridicule/judgement — even if you do not agree with it — the journalistic thing to do would be to listen to the entire piece. Your opinion might not be changed, it might even be reinforced, but still. . .
    I guess that the point of my first, and quite probably last, post on your site is that now I may have one less place to visit in order to gain insight into my decades long hobby. No, not because we may or may not disagree but because of the utter disregard given to those who don’t tow the line. If I have misrepresented your intentions I can only offer my apologies. But then again, we “average americans” are a funny bunch.

  31. For what it’s worth, my understanding is that the critism of Mrs. Obama’s efforts is that it takes the responsibility for good parenting (i.e. making sure your children have proper nutrition) out of the hands of the parents, which is another step towards taking away people’s rights to live as they want to.

    I disagree with that premise, but that’s the closest thing to a reasonable critique.

  32. Jackie, You should forward any actual threats to your local authorities. Bitching you out is one thing, threats are something altogether different.

  33. Yeah, that comic I linked to — I felt so icked out reading it that I had to go watch this video of Michael Eric Dyson schooling Andrew Breitbart about racism: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8FO9Eg0Gfr0&feature=player_embedded

    What I find fascinating about this is something that deserves to be delved into more deeply than is possible in a blog comment — and that is the difference conceptions liberals and conservatives have of racism.

    It seems that a lot of the time conservatives think that awareness of race alone is racist — and it’s no surprise that a lot of those who hold that view are white, which is sort of the “default” race and thus hardly considered a race at all. People who are NOT white have races, in this way of thinking, but you shouldn’t notice that they’re not white because that’s racist — which in itself is a problematic position because it implies that being non-white is somehow shameful. Stephen Colbert satirizes this point of view quite well in his frequent assertions that he doesn’t “see race.”

    The other subject this has me thinking of is satire and humor. I don’t know if I think there isn’t any successful conservative political humor because I am a Bay Area liberal who watches The Daily Show every day (though that show’s skewering of democrats if often right on point). Conservative humor just isn’t going to resonate with me.

    All I know is that satire needs to be sharp to be successful and “Obama Nation” is as dull as a balsa wood spork. Like Cole, I am amazed that there are people who think that it’s funny, much less incisive.

    Also, I have call shennanigans on the user name “BigSamlovesScarlett.” Really? (For those who don’t share the extremely guilty knowledge of Gone with the Wind, Big Sam was the former slave who saves Scarlett O’Hara — daughter of his former owner — from some would-be rapists.)

  34. Oh, and if there’s any doubt if the “humor” in this comic resonates with racists, take a look at the first comment thread in the strip I linked to.

    There’s also comments about hoping Obama chokes on a steak and dies or that he has to resign after it’s revealed that Michelle beats him.

    So, with all respect, Jackie, I don’t think calling people out here on their lack of civility is worthwhile, considering what the fans of “Obama Nation” are like.

  35. I think O’Donnell went too far when he mentioned where they live, other than that he’s right, and I certainly don’t agree with calling anyone at home, no matter who they are.
    Jackie Estrada wrote:
    “Dare I point out that it is one thing to do political cartoons criticizing public leaders and another thing to call cartoonists names for exercising their first amendment right to do so?”
    “But attacking the creators commits the fallacy of ad hominem, is not a logical argument, and just makes you look bad for resorting to that tactic.”

    Dare I point out that Hudnall and Lash publish ‘Obama Nation’ at a site owned by Andrew Breitbart? Breitbart’s sites are filled with demonizing ad hominem attacks on politicians,actors,directors,dead historians,musicians,George Soros and even comic creators every day? I’m guessing Jackie Estrada had no problem with that, as long as the “ad hominem” attacks weren’t directed at her husband?
    Dare I point out that Breitbart is a race-baiting scumbag who gets off on destroying the lives of ordinary working people by editing tapes just to score cheap political points?
    Dare I point out that Hudnall and Lash continued working with Breitbart after the Shirley Sherrod case?:
    Hudnall himself got involved in assassinating Sherrod’s character:
    I’ve spent a lot of time on Breitbart’s various sites(Big Journalism,Big Government,Big Hollywood) in the last two years, the e-mails Hudnall has published are crude, but pale in comparison to the hate-filled conspiracist screeds(from columnists & commenters) one will find on Breitbart sites every day.
    So if Breitbart’s gutter politics have come back to bite Hudnall and Lash, they only have themselves to blame. Last time I checked, no one put a gun to their heads and forced them to jump into bed with Andrew Breitbart.

  36. Just so you know, there is no BAN. Asking for help is not the same as a ban, no matter what your politics are. And I have to agree that the strip is not very funny, also not racist.

  37. I’m with John Layman. Lash said he didn’t draw Michelle as big, then he has become a really bad artist and lost it, because that is exactly what she looks like particularly in scale to the President.

    I bet Hudnal and Lash get a bonus for stirring up this. Wonder if they have tackled Obama being a foreign born Muslim yet? I am glad O’donnell called this out, one of the risks of making your living undermining the President in the name of “free speech”!

  38. Uncool that Jackie Estrada was singled out, since she isn’t even a creator of the cartoon.

    Totally uncool that jerks harassed her because of it. Definitely report anything resembling a threat to the police. Some people are nuts.

    Boring cartoon, with no wit or artistry. Both gentlemen have done much better work elsewhere. But boring and lacking wit does not equal racist.

    I’d rather be reading more Wolff and Byrd, too. and more ESPers.

  39. I lost count of the number of people who make a point of saying here that the editorial cartoon in question “wasn’t funny.”

    That’s actually a pretty dumb response for people responding on a supposedly comics-savvy Web site.

    Historically, since when are editorial cartoons supposed to be knee-slappingly funny, or even humorous?

    Successful editorial cartoons make people think, they elicit emotion, and they get people talking.

    In that regards, this cartoon hit a freakin’ home run!

  40. “Successful editorial cartoons make people think, they elicit emotion, and they get people talking.”

    In this case, people are thinking about how the cartoon is a complete failure on every conceivable level, they elicit disappointment that its creators are wasting their time on such a pathetic and race-trolling endeavor, and they get people talking about how awful the cartoon is.

  41. The argument could be made that straight-up, seriously racist art is beneficial to society, as it makes us think and allows us to confront exactly how stupid racist attitudes are.

    Ever heard David Allan Coe’s “X-rated” stuff? It’s funny and disgusting in equal measure; I find it funny because the character in the songs is so obviously fearful his wife would be with a black man. That sort of unreasoning anxiety is hilarious to me.

    Of course, racism itself I don’t find funny at all. But I think that art that depicts things I don’t find acceptable can be illuminating and interesting, be it as satire or expose or whatever.

    I’m a liberal (I guess–I think gay people are human beings who deserve love and I think America is over-corporatized, so whatever that means), but I do sometimes listen to conservative talk radio or read conservative blogs to hear the other side of things. And there are some smart conservatives out there.

    But this cartoon just sucks. Not because I think it’s racist or that it debases Obama or anything like that–the message, such as it is, is muddled, nonsensical, and poorly executed. So it’s a shame that this is drawing people’s attention to Batton Lash, who is a good cartoonist and obviously had an off-day here. I’ve had SCADS of them myself!

    And finally–I’ve always liked Lawrence O’Donnell and thought he was smart and reasonable. I fear (and feel very confident in this assertion) that MSNBC (a former favorite that grew so overtly partisan that I found it unwatchable) has decided they have to inject him with rabid foam to take Olbermann’s place. That’s a real shame.

  42. Haw haw, look at that fat First Lady! She sure can’t control her appetite, can she!

    It’s almost like she’s more an animal than a person.

    AND she’s gone power mad…like she’s a very simple person, who has no experience being an authority, and maybe has a lot of grievances!

    Humor is certainly a mysterious thing. Who knows why some people find one thing funny…

  43. I’m not that old but I do kind of remember a time when it was considered both rude and irrelevant to mock the physical appearance of the First Lady, since she ever really do anything to you really, except happen to fall in love with someone that you disagree with.

  44. And the weird thing is:

    Michelle Obama is in better shape than any First Lady I can remember. So how is it she eats lard? I just can’t figure out what the hell they’re trying to say here.

  45. Sorry, Hudnall,Lash and Estrada got what they deserve. They worked with a race-baiter like Andrew Breitbart, all O’Donnell did was give them a taste of their own medicine, the Breitbart treatment if you will.
    Breitbart has gotten famous by destroying lives of average Americans like Shirley Sherrod, if Hudnall and Lash don’t like what’s been done to them here, too bad. Live by the Breitbart,etc.
    You don’t like being called a racist? Fine, stop publishing your comic at Breitbart’s site.

  46. It seems like there are a couple of issues here, one of which is whether the cartoon is racist and another is whether it works as a cartoon.
    Personally, I don’t think it’s racist, because I don’t see any stereotypes being perpetuated, but then I’m white, so my opinions of whether African-Americans would or should find it racist are almost immaterial.
    Does it work as a cartoon? In the words of the great critical theorist Homer Simpson, “It’s funny, because it’s true;” if there’s no truth, it tends not to be funny but merely mean. The cartoon isn’t funny because it’s not highlighting a truth. The creators claim the cartoon skewers Obama hypocrisy based on the White House Super Bowl menu. Well, if the Obamas had actually outlawed burgers, then it might be hypocritical, but my understanding is that Mrs Obama is merely preaching moderation–which, if you see as many 200-pound 12-year-olds as I have, seems like a worthwhile message. And moderation doesn’t mean you can’t splurge at a Super Bowl Party. What’s more, the Obamas are in pretty great shape, so maybe they have more splurging latitude .
    Speaking of mean: I’d ask the creators to take a moment, and read the vicious comments that are posted on that site and ponder what it is that their cartoon is feeding. Or to think about the agenda and methods of their host, Andrew Breitbart, and whether he’s the wisest ally.
    I don’t watch cable news shows exactly because of programming like O’Donnell’s here. I don’t care for that kind of stridency from either side. One side gets nasty and personal and that seems to give license to the other side to do the same. It would be nice if one of these days one side decided to put on their Big Boy Pants and just stopped the nastiness. Mentioning Jackie’s name and saying where she and Batton live is simply indefensible. INDEFENSIBLE.

  47. This is the first time i’ve seen Batton Lash’s work, having only been familiar by name only prior to today. I think any curiosity I had about his work has well and truly dissipated. There’s nothing about the artistry of the strip that’s appealing to me, that it actually took two people to produce something so trite and ugly is surprising.
    That said, O’Donnell’s piece is a bit overdone. Are his viewers so catatonic they need the tedious guessing game that starts the piece? His delivery is so dull that I tuned out for the last third altogether.

  48. As Mark Waid said, it’s about as funny as a burn ward. Only the burn ward looks prettier.
    I also think O’Donnell is being nudged by Kabletown* into being an Olbermann stand-in. He works pretty well as himself. He shouldn’t try to be something he’s not.
    The cartoon isn’t racist (and not to give Breitbart ideas, but racism would have meant ribs and watermelon instead of burgers). It’s just stupid. It’s also the least offensive thing on a Breitbart website. Give him a minute, I’m sure he, or one of his flunkies, will have a column up talking about how anyone who ever voted for a Democrat inevitably finds sex with farm animals desirable.

    *30 ROCK. Check it out.

  49. Question for Jackie: do you endorse the work your husband does? The message he’s illustrating?
    If, so: can you please explain what the message is?

    If not, is it just a paycheck to you? And why do you want his to waste his talent on this?

  50. I, for one, would love to know about the trenchant and keen satirical thinking behind these two brave dissenters’ decision to change what the First Lady was asking for from bacon to lard.

  51. Mpneeb:

    “…I’m sure he, or one of his flunkies, will have a column up talking about how anyone who ever voted for a Democrat inevitably finds sex with farm animals desirable.”


    Would you say these hurtful things to a room of Zoofiles?

  52. mario boon wrote:
    “Question for Jackie: do you endorse the work your husband does?”

    Since Jackie’s already come back and posted another comment, I’d say we can interpret her lack of response as a “yes”.

  53. I’d really like to see Jackie answer Mario Boon’s question above.

    I think Obama Nation is a loathsome, unfunny comic strip that is fueled by hatred, much like its closest ancestor, Mallard Fillmore. This particular strip may not be overtly racist in its execution, but it’s very hard not to suspect the strip’s creators operate from a place of malice and loathing.

    I’m far from Obama’s biggest fan. I am, in fact, one of his most disappointed former supporters. But maybe if Lash and Hudnall spent some creative energy on positive work that urged real solutions to the problems here in Los Estados Unidos, they would not get painted with the racist brush by opportunistic commentators on the opposite side of the ideological fence.

  54. Jeez, I finally scrutinize the newsboards more in the course of looking for one of my own still-pending press releases (ahem) and the whole world’s gone nutso. Dunno when there’s been a suckier comicstrip by a more genius cartoonist and sweeter man, and one of my best friends and most enduring supporters in the biz (on all counts I mean Batton; not familiar with the other guy). He’s such a good friend he never mentioned this strip; for all you who are mourning Supernatural Law, it’s still very much undead as an A-list webcomic (http://www.webcomicsnation.com/supernaturallaw/) which must be using up all the wit and skill I’m not seein’ in this other snooze — occasionally offensive, I guess, and by that qualification I mean in the sense of my brother-in-law’s definitive verdict on the Green Hornet movie: “I wish I could care enough to hate it.” Batton was previously famous for “Archie Meets the Punisher”; maybe he can restore his rep by doing a fair & balanced crossover event with Howard the Duck vs. Mallard Fillmore (a *quality* comic I never agree with). I do agree with the poster who found the cable pundit funnier than Obama Nation; I’d never seen O’Donnell and if not for Heidi being America’s most trusted newswoman I would easily have mistaken him for a satirical SNL clip on YouTube. What’s not funny of course is directing yahoos to the home of innocent bystanders; I hope they find some handcuffs waiting for them if they try it, though as 24-hour-news junkies and/or comic fans I trust they won’t bother to leave their own house like I’m not, typing this.

  55. Guys: why pick on Jackie? Let’s see. It’s not okay to pick on Mrs. Obama, as she’s only married to someone folks disagree with, right?

    Isn’t that also Ms. Jackie’s position?

    It was wrong of O’Donnell to mention Jackie at all, or where she & Batton live. That’s like saying “get out the torches”. FFS, debate the thing online, where it lives!

    That said:

    I feel more than free to pick on the work itself, which is what one should do when presented with something with which they disagree. And I *100%* disagree with the comic strip; I don’t think it’s accurate, well-drawn or on the same planet as funny. The fact that so many comments on the host site all think it’s great makes me shudder.

    I’d be willing to bet that the Obamas eat way healthier on a daily basis than they did for their Super Bowl party. They look like they do. HOPEFULLY, most of us eat healthier than we do at our Super Bowl parties. So attacking an initiative that addresses a very serious health problem in our country based on someone’s Super Bowl party menu is dumb, dumb, dumb. We’re a fat country fulla fat people with fat kids, & I for one am happy as hell someone’s trying to do something about it. Clearly if Americans were left to our own devices we’d all just continue corn-chipping & ice-creaming ourselves into an early grave.

    I don’t want less freedom, but as I watch parents succumb to marketing all around me, feeding their kids sugary cereals & sodas, in this case, someone has to say or do something. Good for Mrs. Obama.

    It’s a bad point to have picked up. And I’ve pointed out that this particular strip w/ the lard doesn’t strike me, a white person, as racist, but that one above that Jennifer de G. links – yes, that’s how that one comes off. Ugh.

    & The Beat, this quote might be inspired by your livin’ in the big melting pot of NYC – sniff, I miss it – but “at least they aren’t any more racist than the average American, myself included.”

    How racist is the average American??

  56. The last three paragraphs of the “second response” do nothing but prove much of what we’ve said, from how much fun Hud’s having being called a bigot to nearly quoting Stephen Colbert’s satirical, “I don’t see color,” line.

    The worst part is after depicting the President as a whitey-hatin’ jive talker, somehow they are the victims. And, in true idiot fashion, falls back on the tried and true, “You’re racists for catching me being racist!”

  57. “Whoa…. not cool to pick on Jackie. What does that have to do with the original topic?”
    No one is being “picked on” here. Jackie opened herself up when she said she has no problem with the strips. She also posted this:
    “Dare I point out that it is one thing to do political cartoons criticizing public leaders and another thing to call cartoonists names for exercising their first amendment right to do so?”
    “But attacking the creators commits the fallacy of ad hominem, is not a logical argument, and just makes you look bad for resorting to that tactic.”

    I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’ve visited the various Breitbart sites over the years, you see dozens(if not hundreds) of “ad hominem” attacks every day on non-politicians, including attacks on other comic creators(Hudnall himself and Bill Willingham have attacked the creative team of ‘Captain America’,among others).

    I guess ad hominem attacks are okay as long as Batton Lash isn’t the one being attacked? It’s a fair question to ask her.

  58. The Breitbart sites are group blogs, each with a different editor. No one blogging (or in this case posting a weekly cartoon) on any of the Big sites is responsible for what anyone else posts on those blogs. Nor are they responsible for the comments on their blogs, just like Heidi isn’t responsible for what people comment in the entries on the Beat.

  59. Just as a sample of the kinds of e-mail we’ve gotten (and one of the few printable ones) from people who watched O’Donnell’s diatribe:

    I think what they did with that cartoon about obama he free to do it and im free to say I hope he get hit by a car have a great day jerk and im being cool ill be wacthing him and 2morro ill email the ppl that pay him again wat a ass hole im going 2 start e mailing tv news there in san diego

  60. Hang in there, Jackie. Attention spans are short and after a week or so the haters will find another target to harass.

    I do hope you keep loaded firearms in the house, though, just in case they become necessary.

  61. I guess the pith of my comment was aimed at the desire to switch gears from the topic of this thread (Bat and Hud’s political cartoon fallout with O’Donnell) to Jackie who is standing by her man.

    That said, you’re entitled to ask the question, I’m not saying you cannot and Jackie is a big girl who can take care of herself — still it leans on the slippery slope of switching targets from the main topic of this article because I don’t think Jackie had a part in working on the political cartoon which is the point of the conversation. In fact, her position almost seems moot unless she has some hidden input into Lash’s work beyond the obvious conclusion (which can be assumed without a public accounting) that she supports Bat’s work since she has not stood against it, either. Which still begs the question why even ask?

    But that’s my opinion. Some folks want transparency on every thing, and I’m not one to get in the way of others who like that. Free country and all that jazz.

  62. By the way, at O’Donnell’s suggestion, we are staging the big intervention this weekend. It will involve wine, cheese, our cats, a fire in the fireplace, and episodes from Boris Karloff’s Thriller, season 2.

  63. “No one blogging (or in this case posting a weekly cartoon) on any of the Big sites is responsible for what anyone else posts on those blogs.”
    Sorry,Hudnall and Lash’s continued presence on Breitbart’s sites is a tacit endorsement of his tactics and the daily dose of conspiracy theories offered on the Big Sites.

  64. Jackie, you do know that Ed Brubaker got death threats after he was attacked by Fox News last year and the last time I saw him at a con he had a bodyguard?

    To get to what I was going to post last time, I’m going to rely on quoting Aragorn, Ranger of the north:

    ‘How shall a man judge what to do in such times?’

    ‘As he ever has judged,’ said Aragorn. ‘Good and ill have not changed since yesteryear; nor are they one thing among Elves and Dwarves, and another among Men. It is a man’s part to discern them, as much in the Golden Wood as in his own house.’

    What was done to Ed, to Shirley Sherrod and Jackie was wrong no matter what the political persuasion. I don’t know if Jackie spoke up when Breitbart went after Shirley Sherrod and many other people, but iI would ASSUME she disapproves of such measures against ANYONE.

    The problem with our current “echo chamber” on the left and right is that we’ve lost sight of good and ill aside from politics. IF it’s your side it’s good, if it’s their side it’s bad, with no independent thinking.

    Like, I don’t see what’s wrong with trying to educate people against childhood obesity.

    …target what Obama calls four key pillars: Getting parents more informed about nutrition and exercise, improving the quality of food in schools, making healthy foods more affordable and accessible for families, and focusing more on physical education. “We all know the numbers,” Obama said. “I mean, one in three kids are overweight or obese, and we’re spending $150 billion a year treating obesity-related illnesses. So we know this is a problem, and there’s a lot at stake.” While the federal government will play a role in the initiative, Obama said it is a “minor player in a very big approach. “There’s no expert on this planet who says that the government telling people what to do actually does any good with this issue,” she said. “This is going to require an effort on everyone’s part.”

    That’s hardly the express train to Buchenwald. Bat and Hud are libertarians who resent any government intrusion, I get that. But defending your freedom to turn your kids into fat pigs is far down MY priority list. And I don’t see how combating the problem is possible without education in some form.

    Scott Bieser, that version of the cartoon is equally unfunny and dumb. I don’t think Laura Bush got dumped on too much, no matter mow much we hated her hubby — helping kids read is pretty hard to find fault with. I would have though helping kids eat healthily was an equally positive goal but…I guess not.

    Here’s a funnier political cartoon by Batton Lash with a different writer:


    The infamous bacon/lard cartoon just isn’t funny — if they had directly satirized the Super Bowl party menu (which is heart attack central) comparing it with the healthy eating initiative, they would have had an actual point and maybe been funnier. If O’Donnell had just criticized this as being a bad comic, he would be a hero.

    And if everyone stopped listening only to the opinions of people they agree with maybe we could solve some of our problems.

    Oh yes and the “American racist” thing — we live in society that still has many many racial issues, many of which most people are in denial about. (The unemployment rate among young black men is 34.5%?) Until people of EVERY color address and move on from these issues, we’re still going to have problems.

  65. Libertarian are just Republicans who don’t have the guts to admit they’ve chosen to be evil rather than good.

  66. Heidi, thanks for the message above. Well done. I think we can all agree that inciting hate is not the answer — from either side, against any other side: wrong. Please, all, let’s just stop going there. Don’t bother pointing out the failings of the other side on the civility issue; take the beam out of your own eye before pointing out the sliver in the eye of your opponent.

    What I’d like to address here is James Hudnall’s assertion early in the discussion: “The true measure of success of any political cartoon is how it effects the other side in the argument.” Jim…no. Here’s where I think you’ve gone wrong. Media in this modern world is so narrowly focused that too many of us are caught up in speaking solely to those who already share our beliefs. The converted are only willing to talk to the converted. This may be fun at some level, but it doesn’t really accomplish anything. The aim of a political cartoon is NOT to speak to those who share your opinion, or to anger those who disagree with it — it is instead to convince that small segment of the public who can be swayed in one direction or the other. THOSE are the people who swing elections. Those are the people you should be trying to reach. And there, my friend… there, you’ve done an exceptionally poor job. Jim and Bat are both capable of better work, and I for one am embarrassed that they’ve gotten so much attention for such a poor example of their talents.

  67. Since this comic (and Mallard Fillmore) are both examples of an inability for conservative writers to be funny, does anyone have an example of a truly funny conservative comic?

    And, yes, I am dissappointed that Batton Lash would work on something this poor in quality. He’s lost any respect I had for his work….

  68. I’m depressed.

    That comic was not funny. I wish the comic really was racist. I wish the Obamas were drawn with big monkey-lips and spoke with dropped consonants. They could high-five each other while eating chick’n wings and po’k chops. That would have been much more funny than this strip.

    I like Dumbo-Obama, that’s a good one, crack on the guy’s ears. But the drawing of Michelle Obama has no promise at all. It appears as though the cartoonist isn’t even aware of what Michelle Obama looks like. At least go after her prominant cheekbones. Give us something to go on. As it is, I am forced to give this comic a low grade.

    Other contributing factors to the low grade: personality. A political cartoon works when the public persona of the political figures is exaggerated, not completely made up. The idea of Michelle Obama telling Barack Obama to “shut up and pass the lard [??!]” is so absurd that it defies reason. This doesn’t even hit the mark as Obama fan-fiction.

  69. Heidi:
    My point in doing the altered cartoon was not to make it “better,” but to take “racism” out of the thing and see how it stands. I agree with you that this cartoon and most of the other “ObamaNation” cartoons are not very funny, even though I probably dislike Obama’s politics more than anyone else here. (Sorry, James, but that’s my opinion.)

    John Layman:
    A libertarian believes that no person has the right to initiate violence, or threaten the same, against a peaceful person, no matter what the initiator’s purpose is or who he is. In other words, it’s never good to beat someone up and/or grab her stuff, who has done nothing wrong, even if you wear a very fine hat or a badge. If you think that’s evil, well, you’re in interesting company.

    Jackie, Hud and Batton:
    It is sometimes said that he who lies down with dogs, gets up with fleas. I know well how tough it is being a libertarian in this violence-obsessed culture, but you may want to take this opportunity to consider whether your professional relationship with Breitbart does you more good or more harm.

  70. Scott, I think you have confused libertarian with pacifist.

    And as far as THAT goes: Layman puts the FIST in pacifist!

  71. TonyJazz wrote: “And, yes, I am dissappointed that Batton Lash would work on something this poor in quality. He’s lost any respect I had for his work….”

    In the sports world, this attitude is referred to — in derogatory fashion — as a “fair-weather fan.”

    Statements from a fair-weather fan do not reflect badly on the target; rather, they reflect badly on the fan.

  72. Yes, like all those people who lost respect for Michael Vick. How dare they?

    I haven’t lost all respect for Batton’s work. But I can’t say I have any respect for this work.

  73. Scott asks:

    “Since this comic (and Mallard Fillmore) are both examples of an inability for conservative writers to be funny, does anyone have an example of a truly funny conservative comic?”

    Back in the 1960s Chester Gould could be rather wacko-funny when he attempted to satirize hippies and the Fifth Amendment. (Anyone remember “Flyface?”) It was warped humor to be sure, but since some of it was intended to be funny, it did achieve that goal to some extent.

    Now, if you specify a “truly funny conservative HUMOR strip,” MAYBE Al Capp’s LI’L ABNER, also during the Age of Aquarius, though I can’t say I personally rolled in the aisles over “Phony Joanie.”

    Recondite references aside, I also think the cartoon is un-racist, which would seem to be the majority opinion here so far.

  74. SOUTH PARK will often land on the libertarian/conservative POV, and when they hit their stride, that can be a rather hilarious show.

    The best satire, IMHO, is the kind that tends to skewer whatever needs skewering, regardless of politics. NATIONAL LAMPOON in it’s glory days springs to mind. It offended both sides of the aisle equally, and was brilliant while it did so.

  75. As a fellow cartoonist, I’ve been friends with Bat for over 25 years. Though we’re on opposite ends of the political spectrum, I’ve never known Bat to be anything but polite and respectful to any fan, regardless of gender or race.
    I’ve never watched O’Donnell’s show before, but I think he was completely out of bounds to show James’ and Bat’s photo and then encourage his viewers to harass them.
    For him to mention Bat’s hometown by name, as well as that of his wife…well, it was as reprehensible as anything on Breibart’s site.

  76. The late Jeff MacNelly leaned right, and I always thought his Shoe was essentially conservative; others disagree.

    Cromartie High School is a savage indictment of community values and state-run institutions that exalts the individual; that’s pretty funny.

  77. Hey Batton! You’re Lyndsay Lohan! I’ve been saying that for years. Sheesh, must have been a slow news day in the “sky is falling” department.

    Rascist? Geez no, that’s absurd. O’Donnell was desperate. WHATEVER you guys do, don’t send O’Donnell anything by Mike Diana.

    Bat, you should respond though. This is some pretty mean spirited character assassination here. Come over and film a video response for YOUTUBE. I’m doing a comedy show (plug http://www.facebook.com/#!/event.php?eid=191477394210695 ) with Mark Christopher Lawrence, I bet he’d interview you for the rebuttal. You’re a good guy Batton, don’t let the uptight wind you up.

  78. Statements from a fair-weather fan do not reflect badly on the target; rather, they reflect badly on the fan.

    Yes. You should always support a creator even when they’re producing shit. That’s how you know the difference between a fan and a smart person.

  79. Let me put it bluntly… anyone who disowns the entire life’s work of a talented creator simply because of one rather tame cartoon — and simply because it clashes with their political views — is anything but a smart person.

    And since I’m from Chicago and know a thing or two about dirty politics, I’d bet big money that the vast majority of Batton’s “incensed fans” were not fans of his work at all. They are just political opportunists who are saying they are fans simply as a pretext so they can attack someone with different political views.

    Allegedly “disowning” Batton’s body of work for the cartoon is question is, quite frankly, an irrational act if a person is, indeed, a real fan of Batton’s work.

  80. Politics here in the US have been as bad or if not worse than any other country you can name. Right wing politics attracts a lot of money and they have no problem spending it if it can make the Left look bad. They will use any tactics to do it. Beck and O’Really do far, far worse than what O’Donnell did.

    There are those who profit greatly by it and I suspect that in this instance, there are those who only have this as a living.

    If I were O’Donnell I would focus on the people who are paying for this and just ‘Wag a Finger’ at those who do it, not go after them in such a way as he did. They are probably embarrassed enough as it is.

  81. I think it’s funny after over 100 posts no one commented on an actual racist joke told right here on The Beat, by a guy calling himself BigSamlovesScarlet:

    “As a black artist in VA, I can say that the only thing I find offensive about any of this is white outrage in our behalf. Please stop doing it. You look like idiots. Seriously. I meant it. It’s like watching you dance. Horrible. The cartoon isn’t funny and it isn’t racist. Let it go.”

    Am I personally offended by this joke at the supposed inability of white people to dance? No.

    Am I suggesting that anyone here should be offended by this joke, aside from the fact that it’s a really mouldy oldie and no less lame than the non-racist Hudnall-Lash joke? No.

    But I do think it ironic that this picayune racist joke about white people proved as invisible as Sue Storm.

  82. >> I think it’s funny after over 100 posts no one commented on an actual racist joke told right here on The Beat, by a guy calling himself BigSamlovesScarlet>>

    Jennifer deGuzman pegged BigSam as a troll, and I think most others just didn’t take the bait. I expect the “irony” you see is simply that.

  83. Considering how many cartoonists are freelancers and would stand to benefit from the healthcare act, it’s surprising that Hudnall, Lash and Estrada would stand with the teabaggers.

  84. It’s worth pointing out that Batton’s main work, the entirely apolitical Supernatural Law/Wolff & Byrd,which he produces largely on his own, has exhibited extraordinary warmth, humor, taste, intelligence and craft for over 20 years. And yet, those are exactly the things missing in this collaboration.

    Calling him, and especially Jackie, out on this was simply bizarre. I get the feeling he was just caught in the crossfire between MSNBC and Breitbart, as though O’Donnell and his producers were trying to say, “Look what happens when you vilify ordinary people by name in the media for doing stuff you disagree with.”

  85. KDB said:

    ‘Jennifer deGuzman pegged BigSam as a troll, and I think most others just didn’t take the bait. I expect the “irony” you see is simply that.’

    Jennifer only commented on his improbable (but not impossible) user name, and none of the 3 or 4 people accusing Hudnall and Lash of racism responded to the joke itself.

    Morganagram said:

    “Isn’t the fact that Batton Lash and Jackie Estrada and live in San Diego public knowledge?”

    True, but how many of the dicks who harassed Estrada and Lash would have done the research if O’Donnell and his people had never tossed the info in their laps?

  86. That’s because what trolls do is try to derail the conversation onto themselves, Gene. What Jennifer did was point out what he was, and everyone else ignored him.

    You’re trying pretty hard to get people to bite on his hook. “Hey, why won’t people get offended at the guy who’s trying to derail the discussion by trolling to offend?”

    Maybe when you’ve finished with that, you can scour the internet for more racism that isn’t getting proper attention. If there are still people in this thread, they’re probably going to keep talking about O’Donnell, Batton and Hud.

  87. Morganagrom said:
    “Well, unless O’Donnell gave out their email addresses and phone numbers, probably the exact same amount.”

    Even if that was provable, O’Donnell’s action remains unethical.

    kdb said:
    ‘You’re trying pretty hard to get people to bite on his hook. “Hey, why won’t people get offended at the guy who’s trying to derail the discussion by trolling to offend?”’

    Nah, I actually said I didn’t think the insult was worth being offended over. But I think it could be a case of double standards, at least on the part of the people who made the most fuss about how “fat Michelle” was a racist stereotype. If those people don’t think what the troll said was racist, I’d be curious to see how they justified that.

    I don’t expect to see it happen, but I live in hope.

  88. >> Why would announcing publicly available information be unethical? >>

    Because there’s a difference between “You can find this i you look for it” and “Here, I’m giving it to you while riling you up.”

    The latter promotes the kind of thing Jackie and Batton have been deluged by.

  89. Not in this day and age, sorry.

    It’s not like O’Donnell was trusted with some confidential information. Releasing that would be unethical, but saving the audience the trouble of a basic internet search? Please…

  90. “I think it’s funny after over 100 posts no one commented on an actual racist joke told right here on The Beat, by a guy calling himself BigSamlovesScarlet”

    If it makes you feel any better, when I read the comment I immediately thought “hey, that’s racist”, but then I realized that it’s not racist but in fact prejudicial and my initial reaction of “hey, that’s racist” was a knee-jerk reaction to other people calling other things racist. I thought about posting the comment of “hey, that’s racist” just for fun, but I abhor improper word usage even in jest so I decided not to say anything. Also, I wasn’t offended by that person’s decision to be prejudiced and perpetuate a negative stereotype about white people because I just don’t care what he/she thinks. Also, it may have been a joke. Can’t really tell on the internets sometimes.

    So relax, Gene. You’re not the only one that saw it.

  91. Actually, I don’t consider myself one of the 3 or 4 people calling that particular strip racist–only that the context of the strip as a whole, and its publication on a site run by a notorious race-baiter at least puts the question in the realm of reasonable discussion. People with knowledge of Brietbart’s role in the ACORN and Shirley Sherrod farces wouldn’t be totally out of bounds for wondering. (Heck, Heidi herself called out other Obama Nation strips as “racist in execution.”)

    But even if it were racist, there’s no percentage in calling it such, because it’s so easy for the accused to deflect the charge and use it to change the conversation. Which is precisely what happened. Also worked pretty well for George W. Bush back in the day, with his “you don’t know what’s in my heart” debate line.

    Lawrence O’Donnell fucked up his point in a number of ways, most importantly by going after people personally. He was a bully who used his power as a mass media figure deeply irresponsibly. all of these TV people have to know what they’re unleashing when they name names and give out addresses. he should be ashamed of that. But he was right that the strip is terrible–in ways that go beyond it being simply unfunny. Ziggy is unfunny. Family Circus is unfunny. Obama Nation is vile, seemingly motivated by hatred to the exclusion of wit and honesty. And for readers who don’t personally know what swell guys Hudnall and Lash are, as so many folks have testified here, it’s not crazy to assume otherwise based on the strip.

    @Gene–As far as trolls go, the only way to ignore them is to *actually ignore them*, per Kurt. Why bother decrying a statement obviously made in bad faith in order to bait and sidetrack the discussion? Along with acknowledging the existence of reverse racism, do we also need to admit that yes, Saddamm was evil and that yes, men are also victims of domestic abuse?

  92. @Turkish–it’s not actually a concept I believe in–I was caricaturing conservative false equivalence as an arguing technique. My thought process on the troll’s comments was pretty much the same as yours. But this is a rabbit hole I’m not interested in jumping down here.

  93. Turkish,
    You make an interesting distinction between racism and prejudice, which reminded me of a quote from the basketball great Bill Russell. He said (in effect) that everyone’s prejudiced in terms of what they like in terms of taste, and that the word “prejudice” should not be conflated with “bigotry,” which goes beyond expressing one’s own taste.

    That may or may not gloss what you’re saying but I always liked that thought.

    I’d say that there’s still a fine difference between saying “I don’t like the way white people dance” and “white people can’t dance.” But I’ll admit that many here probably reacted as you did: who gives a fuck what the guy thinks? Which is certainly a better reaction that trying to find out where he lives in order to harass him.

    As a FYI, I just finished writing about Kant’s take on matters of taste-judgment as it applies to comics:


    I also managed to work in a quote from one of the comics-pros who posted on this thread, he said cagily.

  94. Cole,

    “As far as trolls go, the only way to ignore them is to *actually ignore them*, per Kurt. Why bother decrying a statement obviously made in bad faith in order to bait and sidetrack the discussion?”

    Though the guy’s cheap-shot was banal, I considered it *possible* that he was actually annoyed when white people cried “racism” a little too quickly, since he took the trouble to say that he didn’t think the cartoon was racist. He could’ve made that point sans the cheap shot, and the fact that he did make it does weaken whatever point he wanted to make. (Though in contrast to Jennifer I took the name “BigSamLovesScarlet” to be an inversion of a cliche: like that LIVING COLOR sketch where ‘driving Miss Daisy’ turns into ‘doing Miss Daisy.’)

    I have met Batton once and I did like him, but it’s true that one never knows what’s in someone’s heart: just what’s on the page. I’ll have to read a few more Nations to see whether or not I concur that Hudnall and Lash have lain down with dogs and got up with fleas.

    A quickie toss-back to Russ Maheras: I agree that political cartoons aren’t supposed to make you squirt your milk through your nose, but they ought to make one think, “That’s pretty clever,” and the cartoon we’re discussing really doesn’t even make sense, given Michelle Obama’s real appearance.

  95. I think we’ve all said all we have to say on this topic, and I’m not interested in Gene’s continuing investigation into the Oppression of the White Man. Trolls have been purged and banned.

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