Simi Valley, Calif.
In Naomi Klein’s brilliant analysis of the Iraqi elections in her February 28 “Lookout” column, she writes, “If it weren’t for the invasion, Iraqis would not even have the freedom to vote…and then to have that vote completely ignored.” Bush did promise to export American-style “democracy” to Iraq, didn’t he? The “freedom” to have one’s vote ignored is fast becoming a hot trend in America.
I read with interest David Corn’s “Democrats & Withdrawal” [Feb. 28], highlighting the need for the Democrats to come up with an Iraq exit policy. My suggestion: Democrats should press for an Iraqi national referendum. Let the people decide if we should stay or go. If the Iraqi people want us to leave, President Bush and Congress should immediately withdraw our troops. Iraq is not a colony. We must prove to the world that Iraq is an independent nation, and we are not occupiers.
Richard Goldstein remarks in “Cartoon Wars” [Feb. 21] that “there’s a long history of bigotry in editorial cartoons.” If we go back far enough into the nineteenth century, we do find some pretty vicious racial and ethnic stereotypes in editorial cartoons. Much of that disappeared fifty years ago, but Goldstein implies that it continues apace today. Mostly it doesn’t. Goldstein is pretty clearly a visual illiterate when it comes to cartoons. He remembers that “during the 1996 campaign, Bob Dole was often drawn with a withered arm, or shown as a patient on an operating table.” The depiction of Dole on an operating table (assuming this picture ever appeared) probably had more to do with his age, which was often the subject of editoon ridicule. But I doubt any full-time editoonist ever portrayed Dole with a withered arm. I know quite a few editorial cartoonists, and none can recall seeing such a cartoon. Can Goldstein produce a copy of even one? Given that he thinks cartoons are from the realm of childhood fantasy and that giving GeeDubya a tiny nose and large ears makes him appear “infantile” rather than chimplike, I pretty strenuously question whether he can accurately decipher any cartoon.
Richard Goldstein writes that Postcards From Buster and SpongeBob inflame conservative tempers, and that right-wingers “aren’t really worried about cartoons turning kids queer. Their aim is to see that homophobia is free to operate, and…to keep children from seeing gays as part of the human community.”