Thursday, January 29, 2004

Does Aaron McGruder have a right to be hostile toward Condoleeza Rice?

Because this is the United States, I would say, "Yes" with absolute certainty. Because we are Americans we don't have to go along with the policy of our government. We are free to protest, we are free to question, and in some cases we are free to refuse. I think that is one of the greatest things about this country....that one word that is dear to all of us...."Freedom".

The creator of the popular "Boondocks" comic strip reportedly caused some discomfort at an anniversary dinner for the Nation magazine here last month when he told the mostly anti-war audience, "I've met Condoleezza Rice and called her a murderer to her face." Late last year, McGruder made Rice's love life the topic of his comic.

"Maybe if there was a man in the world who Condoleezza truly loved, she wouldn't be so hell-bent to destroy it," one of his "Boondocks" characters speculates in a strip. "

McGruder is entitled to his opinion, and he is entitled to put whatever he wants to in his cartoon. However, his assertion that her world view is "awry" because of the lack of a presence of a man in her life, (Which we don't know, all we know is that she is not married.), is awfully chauvinistic and condescending for a person who purports to be as progressive and liberal as he does. The basis for this, and the singling out of her in the cartoons, as well as his snide comments about having to sit in the same row as her at the NAACP image awards a couple of years ago seems strange. I agree with the person who stated that it was strange that he doesn't target other members of the administration. I wonder why he thinks that a black woman is the easiest target? Why not Colin Powell? From his point of view, despite all of her schooling, her positions held in academia, her expertise in Cold War relations, and the fact that she is an expert in her field, apparently a good "banging" would make her see the light. As if at the moment of orgasm she would simultaneously have an ideological catharsis that would make her step down from her position or scold President Bush for being a "meanie". While he didn't specifically say it, his allusions to her views on the world being directly related to her relationship status are tantamount to the same.

Let me say though, that while I am not a dedicated reader of "The Boondocks", I have read the strip and do acknowledge the skill, the knowledge, and the satirical wit of McGruder. He, as a satirist is using all of his cynicism and dry humor to make a lot of us think. While some people may be apalled at some of his imagery, I can see on many occassions where he is winking at us through the eyes of his characters. That is talent, he has a new book out called, "Right to be hostile", about race and cultural issues in the U.S. Whether I agree with some or any of his views, I think I will have to go pick it up.

Purchasing Details

On the subject of Powell people are quick to comment on how "ineffectual" he has been as Secretary of State. What most people, especially we Democrats do not consider is the fact of how his hands are tied because of differing ideologies with Rumsfeld, Rice, and Bush. In many ways it seems that Powell is in diametric opposition to most members of the Cabinet. While he does dutifully fulfill his post, and pose for a common front, it has to be noted that he wanted diplomacy instead of action in the case of this military campaign against Iraq. But, as a Secretary of State whose job it is to be the envoy of the President, how much diplomacy can you muster when everyone else wants to use military force? Is he really ineffectual, or is he simply handicapped by the popular will in his office? Think about it.....

It is obvious that many of us have conflicting views on this whole war effort. The mightiest of hawks and the most timid of doves can agree that Saddam Hussein was a monster, and a madman. However, the question that remains for all of us is whether or not our means is going to justify, or even determine a suitable end to the troubles in that region. I'll have an answer for you in 20 years. Everything is clear in retrospect.

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