Z Blog: Cartoon your hearts out, Iran
What a great idea! A Holocaust cartoon contest. How do I enter?
Only, I hope the Iranians realize they aren’t breaking any new artistic or racist ground drawing anti-Semitic cartoons.
Artists have been drawing hunch-backed, hooked-nosed old moneylenders since the very first ducat was minted, since before Shylock was just a gleam in a young Shakespeare’s eye.
Fuzzy-bearded and befuddled rabbis have appeared in newspapers and posters from the Middle East to Central Europe to the Midwest. In fact, I think cartoons were probably invented as another vehicle for Europeans to be anti-Semitic, and the legacy has been passed down to modern times.
In France in the 1930s, we were depicted as a giant, beady-faced spider slinking over the globe; in Brazil in the same decade we were drawn as a cobra snaking across the map of the world; in Spain, the Jew was a fat, child-molester type squeezing a globe dripping blood as if it were a lemon ” or maybe a matzah ball.
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And then there’s Mel Gibson’s delightful cinematic version of the Jews.
Of course, the Jews aren’t the only race or culture who have a been a boon for intolerant cartoonists. Blacks and Asians remain popular stereotypoes to this day. Even a compassionate genuis like Dr. Seuess went a little overboard with little slanty-eyed Japanese midgets in the cartoons he drew supporting the allies in World War II.
So I look forward to the handiwork of Tehran’s cartoonists. I bet they can come up with some doozies. But if there were a few submissions from Jewish artists, those would probably be even funnier. An article in the New York Times recently declared Jews of Eastern European extraction to be the funniest people on the planet.
As for the Holocaust, the Austrians just put an Englishman in jail for denying the genocide ever happened. Yes, it’s despicable, yes, this guy’s a clown, but as long as he’s not actually inciting genocide, he should be able to say whatever loony things he wants.