Friday, February 24, 2006


Cartoons About The Cartoons

Follow the link (hat tip: Instapundit) for some American cartoon responses to the Islamist responses to the Danish cartoons (which were, in turn, solicited responses to a Danish newspaper, investigating why illustrators were afraid to draw images of Mohammed).

Now, if we could get some Muslim cartoonists responding to the American responses to... well, you get the idea.

For some reason, this one in particular (by Gary Varvel) appealed to me:

UPDATE: Tim Blair quotes Australian Treasurer Peter Costello, in an entry that deserves to be quoted in its entirety:
Current political disputes aren’t the first caused by cartoons. In this 2002 speech, Australian treasurer Peter Costello tells the story of New Zealand-born cartoonist David Low, a troublemaker in Britain during the 1930s:
Low’s regular depictions of the Fuhrer caused enormous diplomatic problems for the British Government, but they were to prove remarkably prophetic. Throughout the decade he portrayed the German dictator as a ludicrous, vain, pompous fool with unbridled ambition.

In 1933 the Nazis banned the Evening Standard and all newspapers carrying Low’s work because of a cartoon he had drawn depicting Germany’s withdrawal from the League of Nations.

In 1936 during the Berlin Olympic Games Low received his first request to tone down his depiction of Hitler in the interests of “good relations between all countries”.

In 1937 the British Foreign Secretary Lord Halifax visited Germany and met with the Propaganda Minister Goebbels, who told him that Hitler was very sensitive to criticism in the British press, and he singled out Low for attention.

Lord Halifax contacted the manager of the Evening Standard to see if Low could be toned down. He said:

"You cannot imagine the frenzy that these cartoons cause. As soon as a copy of the Evening Standard arrives, it is pounced on for Low’s cartoon, and if it is of Hitler, as it generally is, telephones buzz, tempers rise, fevers mount, and the whole governmental system of Germany is in uproar. It has hardly subsided before the next one arrives. We in England can’t understand the violence of the reaction."

It wasn’t only Hitler complaining about Low. In 1938 Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain singled out Low while appealing to newspapers to temper their critical commentary of Germany. Chamberlain said:

"Such criticism might do a great deal to embitter relations when we on our side are trying to improve them. German Nazis have been particularly annoyed by criticisms in the British press, and especially by cartoons. The bitter cartoons of Low of the Evening Standard have been a frequent source of complaint."
Weird to think, from our remove, that anyone would ever have taken complaints from Nazis seriously.
Indeed. One might be tempted to say the same thing about criticism from Chamberlain. He actually asked political cartoonists to be gentle with Hitler?

Please note, by the way, that this is precisely what furious Muslims first called for, when the furor over the Danish cartoons broke: they wanted Western governments to rein in their cartoonists, so that Muslims need not worry about being offended. (The poor dears.)

These oh-so-offensive cartoons, by the way, are not too hard to find; search for "David Low" at and you'll find them. Here's one I thought was apt:

That appeared in The Evening Standard, 8 July 1936.

Back to the present: according to Tim, Mr. Costello has a lot more to say as well. For example:
Anyone who believes Islamic sharia law can co-exist with Australian law should move to a country where they feel more comfortable, Treasurer Peter Costello says.

All Australian citizens must adhere to the framework in society which maintains tolerance and protects the rights and liberties of all, he said.


"Before entering a mosque visitors are asked to take off their shoes,” he told the Sydney Institute last night. “This is a sign of respect. If you have a strong objection to walking in your socks, don’t enter the mosque.

"Before becoming an Australian you will be asked to subscribe to certain values. If you have strong objections to those values, don’t come to Australia."
Good for him! And I'm delighted to see that Australian Prime Minister Howard is letting Mr. Costello have his say.


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