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Kentucky Governor-elect opposes Syrian refugees. And Joel Pett

Kentucky Governor-elect Matt Bevin has come out opposed to resettlement of Syrian refugees in his state. In response Lexington Herald-Leader editorial cartoonist Joel Pett ran a cartoon depicting Bevin as scared of his own adopted children from Ethiopia.

Bevin stated the following in response:

?They say a picture is worth a thousand words,? Bevin said in a statement. ?Indeed, today, the Lexington Herald-Leader chose to articulate with great clarity the deplorably racist ideology of ?cartoonist? Joel Pett. Shame on Mr. Pett for his deplorable attack on my children and shame on the editorial controls that approved this overt racism.?

In an opinion piece that ran today Joel responded:

Did I attack his children? Of course not. Was the cartoon racist or critical of adopting children, as some are suggesting? The fact that he adopted children from Africa, a continent whose promise and challenges I routinely draw about, is the thing I admire the most about Bevin.

I did use the fact that he has children from another country in a piece designed to express outrage over a legitimate hot-button political issue. (Bevin used them in photo-ops and on TV commercials over the past two campaigns, but that?s another story.) I did this with my name signed to it, in a newspaper with a long history of tolerating and publishing opinions of all persuasions and on a page labeled ?opinion.?

Community Comments

#1 Carl Moore
November/20/2015
@ 7:02 pm

No, the cartoon is not racist and Pett is not attacking Bevin’s kids. However, it is badly drawn. Where did Mr. Pett learn how to draw perspective? Granted, true perspective is not a requirement for a well-drawn cartoon. But when badly rendered perspective distracts from the cartoon, a cartoonist is making a mistake. No, it’s not a serious mistake, but a pro shouldn’t be drawing a desk that looks like it’s about to take off down an airport runway.

#2 Paul Berge
November/21/2015
@ 1:22 pm

Hey, Carl, Joel has never tried to be Hugh Haynie.

But what is it about people who disagree with an editorial cartoon that they think that somehow it isn’t really a cartoon, only a mere “cartoon”?

#3 Dave Stephens
November/21/2015
@ 2:09 pm

There is nothing whatsoever “badly drawn” about this stellar example of political cartooning and graphic design – the artist simply chose a quirky style that does not rely on standard perspective to be effective and clear… Joel Pett is clearly at the top of his game… I suppose this doesn’t have to be obvious to everybody, but I’ll wager it is pretty obvious to most people reading here…

#4 Carl Moore
November/21/2015
@ 6:01 pm

Not only is it badly drawn, the gag is so over the top, so ridiculous – that Bevin is afraid of his adopted kids because they’re from Africa and therefore are a threat – it goes limp for lack of punch. Governor Bevin should rest easy. What we have here is a badly-drawn cartoon that belongs in the “Dud” file.

#5 Joel Tieg
November/21/2015
@ 9:51 pm

Is this the same Carl Moore?
http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2015/04/carl-moore-says-he-punched-a-bear-in-the-face.html

#6 Mike Keefe
November/22/2015
@ 8:27 pm

The laws of perspective. Let me see. The first name that comes to mind is Picasso. Not only is Pett’s cartoon a valid comment on the issue, it is a piece of art consistent with his praise-worthy output over several decades. To zero in on perspective is to miss the much larger picture.

#7 Mike Lester
November/23/2015
@ 8:41 am

Cartoonists are free. Period. Personally, like Fight Club I have only one rule: you don’t talk about people’s kids.

#8 Melanie Simms
November/23/2015
@ 9:10 am

Joel Pitt needs to be careful. I don’t like how this cartoon is presented, personally. I find it condescending. The governor has a moral obligation to protect US citizens FIRST. What part of that do you NOT understand? And WHY do you not understand that I might add? Stop attacking a law maker for placing our security FIRST.

I think this was done in poor taste, honestly.

#9 Reflex76
November/23/2015
@ 3:17 pm

This reminds me of Rick Perry’s reaction to Jack Ohman’s “Texas is Booming” cartoon about the West Texas (poorly regulated) fertilizer plant explosion.

Exactly what an editorial cartoonist is supposed to do, get under the skin of those in power.

#10 Clay Jones
November/23/2015
@ 4:45 pm

When a politician uses his kids as part of his resume, attacking him over his kids is fair game. This cartoon did not attack the children, just their blowhard father.

Poor taste? Condescending? Welcome to editorial cartooning. It’s an art in disrespect. I’m not even going to touch the criticism of Joel’s art because I don’t want to validate that nonsense. By the way, Joel has a Pulitzer.

#11 Mike Lester
November/23/2015
@ 5:03 pm

I agree. If Gov. Bevin publicly used any of his children to promote his political platform in commercials or ads they’re fair game. But if he simply revealed he had kids adopted or otherwise they’re off limits. At least they are for those of us who don’t need to attack children to attack a politician. Think, Trig Palin.

#12 Clay Jones
November/25/2015
@ 10:10 pm

It’s not like Bevin put his daughter in an ad calling his opponent a liar. Oh wait.

#13 Mike Lester
December/23/2015
@ 10:19 am

Here we go again:
http://www.nbcnews.com/politics/2016-election/ted-cruz-blasts-washington-post-cartoon-daughters-monkeys-n484901

fwiw: the Obama daughters have both been featured in campaign ads but I don’t recall ever seeing them in a cartoon.

fwiw2: I’m crazy about Ann. I also think she’s crazy to go after kids.

#14 Mike Lester
December/23/2015
@ 10:41 am

fwiw3: Here’s an Obama campaign ad from 2012 using his girls:

http://www.newsbusters.org/blogs/nb/mark-finkelstein/2015/12/23/willie-geist-calls-out-msm-bias-disgusting-wapo-cartoon-mocking

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