December 08, 2004


In response to reader criticism, Bush-hating Guardian cartoonist Steve Bell and Condi-loathing Sydney Morning Herald columnist Mike Carlton blame the readers:

Bell: "I think my cartoons are very funny - they certainly make me laugh. You, however, clearly find them to be a pain in the arse. this is your problem rather than mine."

Carlton: "The scorn I can live with. It was along the lines of 'not funny ... pathetic ... time you retired', etc. Nothing much I can do about that. If you don't think it works then you don't think it works."

Carlton and Bell might be less indifferent to similar criticism from their editors. Strange how old media has become so unconcerned about readers; it's not as though they've got many to spare.

Posted by Tim Blair at December 8, 2004 11:50 PM

Laughing at your own cartoons... is that anything like laughing at your own jokes?

Posted by: Anonymous at December 8, 2004 at 11:52 PM

Just watched some cartoons by Steve Bell and Martin Rowson in the Guardian and that reminded me:
If the LLLs hadn't been so hateful during the election campaigns, the Bush victory would not have been as sweet as it was. He, he, apparently they are as hateful as ever; and they should be: they LOST.

Posted by: jorgen at December 9, 2004 at 12:38 AM

I think nothing's wrong per se with enjoying your own stuff; why would you intentionally put out stuff you hated? But I remember that Gary Larson once said that he never laughed at his own work: "Most of the time I'm too close to the joke." These guys are so close they can't see that their critics may have a point.

Jorgen - the frantic mewling of the Left is no surprise. Recall the odious phrase, "The politics of..." or the equally-obnoxious "The personal is political." So much of their lives are now approached politically that their identities are at stake when their policies are questioned. To us it's a debate; for them it's a matter of life and death. Theirs is the cry of the psalmist: "Why hast thou abandoned me?"

Posted by: Nightfly at December 9, 2004 at 01:16 AM

Oh, the travails of the misunderstood artiste. Why should they cast their pearls before swine like us? We can't appreciate their genius, so really, shouldn't they just keep their pearls to themselves?

Posted by: Rebecca at December 9, 2004 at 01:52 AM

To give these guys "credit":

An op-ed columnist (or an editorial cartoonist) isn't necessarily there to make the readers happy. I don't especially like Richard Cohen of the WaPo, and I'm sure others don't like Charles Krauthammer. They're there to put out an opinion (their own).

Similarly, editorial cartoonists aren't so much put there to be funny, but to make jibes---and while I think Bell's cartoons are stupid, I'm sure those who agree w/ the Guardian's general line probably think he's as witty as, oh, Doonesbury in its hey-day.

The question is: What do their editors think, and do they care about the readership wants?

Posted by: Dean at December 9, 2004 at 02:18 AM

The main stream media have always felt a deep and abiding contempt for their audience. This appears not only in the news but in the entertainment area.

Now that there are more than one or two sources of information it is becoming harder for these people to hide this contempt – and it’s no longer necessary for the audience to put up with it.

No wonder they’re mad on both sides of the fence.

Posted by: Ike Jones at December 9, 2004 at 02:40 AM

Here's a dish of your own medicine:

"You, however, clearly find them to be a pain in the arse. this is your problem rather than mine."

Isn't that what Josef Goebbels used to say?

But then again, 50% of living Germans think the IDF is worse than the Nazis.

Whoooo boy! The moonbats are taking' over!

Posted by: Doug at December 9, 2004 at 04:32 AM

I think that there's a really important point here lurking just sort of beneath the surface.

Steve Bell thinks his disgusting cartoons are funny.

I think that's a significant fact. I think it speaks volumes. I think, frankly, it explains a lot.

Posted by: Jeff Harrell at December 9, 2004 at 04:43 AM

Carlton quote, "And in an apoplectic email splattered with obscenities, a lunatic informed me that "Yasser Arafat (pedophile, sodomist, mass-murderer and terrorist)" had died of AIDS."

Seems about right, according to many reputable reports. Wonder why Carlton got upset about that? Does he have a problem telling it like it is/was? Doesn't the SMH strive for truth, objectivity and journalistic integrity?

Posted by: Boss Hog at December 9, 2004 at 04:46 AM

Since most of Al-Guardians readers are moonbats (as defined here) I am sure they love the cartoons made by Steve Bell and Martin Rowson.

Posted by: jorgen at December 9, 2004 at 04:50 AM

Dittoes, Mr. Harrell.

Posted by: Nightfly at December 9, 2004 at 05:10 AM

I'm wondering why Carlton wasn't laughing at the email he got. I find the idea of "Yasser Arafat (pedophile, sodomist, mass-murderer and terrorist)" dying of AIDS the funniest thing since the first fat guy slipped on a banana peel. It would be even funnier if he died in enormous agony and then found himself in Hell. Just hilarious.

Posted by: JorgXMcKie at December 9, 2004 at 09:21 AM

Bell's cartoons are about as funny as a club foot.

Posted by: dee at December 9, 2004 at 11:51 AM

I found this blog for the first time tonight by following a link from a link from a link...

I started reading this article because it started out castigating someone for hating, and as we all know, hating people is wrong. But then I read the comments, and they are all absolutely dripping with hatred for two people, not because they killed a person or implement policies you fear will lead to disaster, but because they draw pictures you don't like.

What passionate people you must all be, for pen-and-ink drawings to work you up into paroxyms of loathing! Ah, the office parties must be lots of fun with you folks.

Anyway, I had never heard of these cartoonists, but the intensity of the responses, I figured they must strike nerves, so I checked them out. Some of their work is quite funny =]. If there's some you don't get, I can explain them to you.

Posted by: Jonathan Dursi at December 9, 2004 at 01:05 PM

Oh just what we need, a condescending troll who first berates us, then insults us, then offers to "help" us "understand" disgusting, hate-filled "art". No thanks Mr. Dursi, we understand the cartoons, and little creeps like you, only too well.

By the way, you seem to be absolutely dripping with hatred at the idea that someone doesn't like your pet cartoonists. What fun you must be just about everywhere.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at December 9, 2004 at 01:14 PM

Who in the comments above was "dripping with hatred", Jonathan? Please do cite some examples since you obviously noticed tons of them. Disgust, maybe, but hatred? As Andrea points out, your comment reveals a lot more emotional investment about the comments posted here than any of those comments did about the two "artists" in question. (Lingering PEST symptoms on your part, I guess.)

Posted by: PW at December 9, 2004 at 02:06 PM

Dripping with hate, JD? No, that's dripping with disagreement - the cartoons aren't funny, and the cartoonists don't have a clue.

But, again, we see that taking the other side in an issue is an occasion, not for discussion, but for knicker-twisted whimpers.

Remember when teachers used to assign us our positions for debates, to teach us critical thinking and speaking skills? Now I guess they just assign someone a victim designation, and tell them to threaten legal action until they get their way.

Posted by: Nightfly at December 10, 2004 at 06:02 AM