No, the response to it isn’t an overreaction – bonus! there’s something in Mr. Delonas’ work to offend almost everyone! – it’s the action of the police in the cartoon itself that is excessive.There’s a West Wing episode (Season 1, Episode 3), in which my one-time happy place president (he’s been recently replaced), Jed Bartlett, must respond to an attack on an American plane. He’s pissed and wants to respond with the full might of our military strength but is urged towards a more “proportional response” by Leo as well as his Joint Chiefs of Staff.
So in the context of this cartoon, is shooting the person who wrote the economic stimulus package a “proportional response” to disagreeing with it? No, it’s not – or at least it shouldn’t be. Which makes the violence of the thing more frightening than funny (and no, there’s not a hint of satire anywhere to be found). But in light of recent events as well as what our new president represents, the horror of the smoking gun and the bullet-ridden body is much more troublesome than the monkey imagery (which is clearly a riff on the recent rampaging chimp shot by police news story).
Besides, it’s not the first time a president has been compared to a chimp. Just run “chimp” and “George Bush” through an ol’ Google image search.
And to answer Kleinheider’s question, “Is it racist to use the expected knee-jerk reactions of some in order to stoke controversy or just bad taste?,” it’s both. And if you re-write the question this way, “Is it racist to use the empathetic reactions of some in order to stoke controversy,” then it’s evil too. We have to start having serious conversations about race in this country, as U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder recently pointed out, and we must move beyond having them only when an Imus-like controversy pops up.