A lesson on political cartoons

Assigned to draw political cartoons on current issues, a student at a suburban New Orleans middle school depicted President Obama with a bullet hole in the head; another showed Mitt Romney and Looney Tunes characters flanking an “Obama hunting season” sign.

“Several were blatantly disrespectful and derogatory,” said parent Karen Stampley, who complained to the principal of Boyet Junior High in Slidell, Louisiana. The whole exhibit came down today and the school district has launched an “investigation.” (Here are the offending cartoons.)

Stampley also objected to two other cartoons.

(One shows) a mixed crowd of black and white, young and old people saying “Bring back ‘our’ America!!” on one side of the Washington Monument while, on the other side, a confused-looking Obama shrugged his shoulders below a thought balloon filled with question marks and exclamation marks.

The fourth shows the president’s face, a red map marked “Libya,” and a question that is illegible in the photo except for the last word and punctuation: “Obomba?”

Political cartoons often disrespect the president or other leaders. Joking about assassination is another matter. The social studies teacher should not have posted the bullet-hole cartoon. The “hunting season” cartoon was defensible, since it clearly wasn’t meant to be literal, but a wise teacher would not  have displayed it.

Was the whole assignment unwise?

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Comments

  1. Roger Sweeny says:

    As you say, political cartoons are often disrespectful. They often challenge some people’s cherished beliefs or associations. If that’s not acceptable for middle school, then, yes, the assignment was a mistake.

    (Am I the only one who feels like I’m back in 1959?)

  2. The same cartoons, but of George W. Bush instead of Barak H. Obama, would have been a different story though, right?

    • No…though I did not like Bushs policies….I would have condemend this if this was done to him. Any republicans that try to excuse this are sorry human beings!!!

  3. Lightly Seasoned says:

    No, the assignment is fine. You just have to set proper parameters. I do satire assignments with all my classes, but am very clear about what is and is not permitted under school policy. The kids grumble, but I point out that they can satirize whatever they like outside of school.

  4. (One shows) a mixed crowd of black and white, young and old people saying “Bring back ‘our’ America!!” on one side of the Washington Monument while, on the other side, a confused-looking Obama shrugged his shoulders below a thought balloon filled with question marks and exclamation marks.

    What, precisely, is objectionable about this as political satire?

  5. Oh, and Lightly Seasoned, that’s a perfectly reasonable policy. (Expect it to be ignored as the partisan sniping continues.)

  6. Um, we actually had a movie about the assassination of George Bush and no one stopped it from being shown, so I think the condemnation of a drawing of President Obama being shot drawn by a school kid is a little much. Even further, when the Regal Entertainment Group decided to pass on showing the film, they were accused of censorship:

    http://themovieblog.com/2006/10/censorship-alive-and-well-with-death-of-a-president

    So why can’t this kid draw what he wants?