‘Nuts:’ The cartoon Robert didn’t put in the newspaper


s I’ve mentioned before, for a regular guy who makes his living as a satirist, Robert Ariail can sometimes get all sensitive and even shy. He hates criticism, particularly criticism arising from a misunderstanding of his work (if he meant to offend you, he’s OK with that).

And sometimes he decides that his cartoon ideas are inappropriate. Sometimes he’s onto something, or at least it’s debatable. Other times, he may worry a bit too much. You might say that, on the spectrum of cartoon sensibilities, he’s on the opposite end of the spectrum from this Dutch guy.

Anyway, his sensitivity on that point was one of the reasons why this cartoon didn’t make it into the paper. He was worried about the salacious nature of "nuts" the way Jesse Jackson had used it. But there were other reasons:

  • The simplest, and most obvious, was that he had an oversupply of cartoons, and we ran out of slots for running them in a timely fashion. There will even be on jammed onto our Monday letters page, which is unusual. If we still had a Saturday page, I probably could have argued him into using it there. But since I was out of space, when he said he’d just put it on his Web page, I left it alone. (In case you haven’t figured it out, we have different standards for what we’ll put on the Web, and what we deem paper-worthy. This is driven by factors ranging from the enduring concept of the "family newspaper" and the fact that on the Web, space is unlimited.)
  • He thought people wouldn’t get it, because it got so little coverage in the MSM, outside of Fox — and most of that coverage tiptoed around what he’d actually said. When he first mentioned this, I said that was an advantage if he was worried about salaciousness, since readers who had missed the reference would just take it on the level of saying Jackson and Wright are "nuts." Sure, that’ll offend some, but the offense is more in the realm of the kind Robert doesn’t mind, since that is exactly what he meant.
  • He lost some enthusiasm for the cartoon when he realized he’d misunderstood what Jackson had said. He initially thought he’d said, "Obama’s cutting off his nuts" by "talking down" to black folks. When he mentioned it to me, it caused me to say something like, "He’s cutting off some nuts, all right, and one of them’s Jesse, and he doesn’t like it." That inspired the above cartoon — Robert’s eyebrows shot up the instant I said it — and this blog post by me. But in the course of researching for a link for the blog post, I discovered Jackson had actually said something different — something more hostile, but something that didn’t quite fit as well the play on words upon which the cartoon is based.
  • He had another cartoon regarding what Jackson had said about Obama, and it was actually a better one, and it didn’t rely upon prior knowledge on the readers’ part. As it happens, we put it on the Sunday page, which is the biggest play we can give anything. You’ll see it tomorrow.

Seems like there were a couple of things that ran through my head in the couple of seconds after Robert told me he’d decide to use this on the Web only (and send it to his syndicate), but I’m forgetting them now.

(Trying to reconstruct one of those internal monologues this way is actually one of the fun things about blogging. Dostoevsky did this — far better, of course, but it appeals to me for the same reason. I pretty much fell in love with Crime and Punishment for good at about the point when Andrey Semyenovich Lebezyatnikov goes on and on about what ran through his head in a couple of seconds. I thought that was cool.)

9 thoughts on “‘Nuts:’ The cartoon Robert didn’t put in the newspaper

  1. Mike Cakora

    I love the cartoon but have a quibble. To “throw someone under the bus” has come to mean:

    to reject or betray (someone); to treat as a scapegoat; to put out of favor or at a disadvantage.

    Obama threw Reverend Wright, his grandmother, and several others under the bus, but Reverend Jackson seems to have flung himself off in a rather ungraceful fashion.
    Then again, perhaps that’s what Arial was depicting, but I see no tire tracks on Wright’s back.
    For all his self-aggrandizement and extortion on behalf of family members and friends, Jackson has spoken out frequently and forcefully within the African-American community in attempts to counter negative influences on family structure, respect for women, etc. He should now retire from public life and make way for the next generation.

  2. ruintuit

    I think the cartoon is great regardless of whether the nuts were cut off or out. I have an additional question..just what has Obama allegedly said that Jackson interprets as “talking down” to blacks? Although I’m not an Obama supporter, I have heard him mostly making “change” speeches that have no race bias. I will agree with Obama’s non-specific cry for “change” and it could begin with the media exposing the high-profile black racists for what they are instead of tip-toeing around them tring to be politically correct.

  3. Lee Muller

    How do you know if you “agree with Obama’s non-specfic cry for change”, when you don’t know specifically what changes Obama plans to impose on you?

  4. bud

    I find it interesting that the idiots in the McCain camp have a much higher idoicy bar to clear to get any attention from the media. Phil Gramm has set some sort of gold standard for utter idiocy with his comments on the state of the nation’s economy. What an idiot. Yet he remains a part of the McCain campaign, something that neither Wright nor Jackson ever were with the Obama campaign. And still the media give his comments scant attention. It’s becoming crystal clear that the media is firmly in the McCain camp. What a pity.

  5. bud

    The continued saga of Phil Gramm, though not covered by the MSM, is really a huge deal. The voters should take note of how completely out of touch McCain’s chief economic advisor is with the status of middle and working class voters. He seems to believe that because corporate CEOs continue to draw huge paychecks, regardless of company performance, the economic health of the economy as a whole is sound. In effect he doesn’t give a damn about the deteriorating situation of the typical American family’s financial well being.
    This needs to be a much bigger deal in the press than it is. Instead we continue to get this wall-to-wall coverage of non-stories such as Jesse Jackson’s “hot mike” faux-pais. Jesse is yesterday’s news. He’s a has-been with no official connection to the Obama campaign. Gramm, on the other hand, is the de-facto spokesman for McCain’s economic plans.
    America take note. McCain doesn’t care if your job is shipped overseas, if you are paying $4/gallon for gas or milk or if your home is in foreclosure. McCain has made it clear that he only cares about corporate profit and the economic well being of the rich. Phil Gramm has made that crystal clear.

  6. Lee Muller

    Most Obama supporters don’t have jobs, or if they do, they are government jobs.
    That’s the major division between Democrats and Republicans.

  7. Lee Muller

    Way back, when the federal government had no role in “creating jobs”, businesses in America were crying about a “labor shortage” and the need to attract skilled craftsmen from Europe.
    So it sounds like most of those unemployed today have only themselves or big government programs to blame. It’s no coincidence that harder-working, more ambitious risk-takers private business consider Democrats in general, and Obama in particular, to be a threat to their livelihoods.
    That’s what conservatives and libertarians have been trying to tell you.


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