Is this cartoon (illustration) that appeared in a recent Rolling Stone offensive?
Just to backtrack a bit, I found The New Yorker cover with Obama & his wife offensive...or more specifically, in bad taste and not effective as satire. I understand arguments to the contrary and respect them. I just didn't like that cover. So sue me. I'm not asking for a boycott of The New Yorker. I'm just saying "meh," and I'm not buying the issue. Okay, not like I buy it anymore anyway, but just read what they post online. But there is a point in there, somewhere.
Back to this Rolling Stone cartoon.
I find this cartoon effective in that I clearly understand the "joke" -- the Democratic candidates are bedeviling McCain. Okay.
I find this cartoon in bad taste for two reasons.
First, the way the mock "Viet Cong" are drawn bothers me. Of course it's exaggeration -- an illustration of a theoretical McCain "flashback" using stereotypically drawn antagonists a la WW II propaganda -- and is not meant to be in any way a statement by Rolling Stone on Asians. It's satire. And yet, the appropriation of that racist imagery still has the power to disturb. I'm not saying Rolling Stone shouldn't have used that imagery, I'm just describing a gut feeling I have when I look at that cartoon. Please do not lecture me with "What Is Funny 101" and tell me my sense of humor is dead. That sort of patronizing tactic was used to death by certain critics in relation to the Obama New Yorker cover, and I'm pretty much sick to death of it.
Second, I think making fun of McCain's experience as a prisoner of war for 5+ years is in incredibly bad taste. That really bothers me. If McCain wants to once in a while make a little joke about it, that's fine. He has earned the right to refer to his painful experience any damn way he wants to. But the reference falls flat in this cartoon, and makes me cringe at the sight of it. It makes me wonder why this is not an an issue in the way the New Yorker cover was.
That all said -- I'm a Obama supporter and plan to vote for him in the election. But I respect the time McCain put in military service, and I think he suffered terribly and that's not something that should be used in satire. From Wikipedia:
"In August of 1968, a program of severe torture began on McCain. He was subjected to rope bindings and repeated beatings every two hours, at the same time as he was suffering from dysentery.] Further injuries led to the beginning of a suicide attempt, which was stopped by guards...His injuries left him permanently incapable of raising his arms above his head. He subsequently received two to three beatings per week because of his continued refusal to sign additional statements."
Again, not advocating censorship, just giving my two cents.