Daryl Cagle writes on his blog about whether international cartoonists’ perception of the United States has changed since 9-11. Daryl concludes that editorial cartoonists – regardless of their nationality – are good barometers of the public opinion of those in their respective communities and that America was held in distain before 9-11 and that hasn’t changed.
International political cartoonists revile the USA in a uniform drumbeat of daily digs at America. The academics don’t notice that international political cartoons before 9/11 were almost as negative about America as the cartoons now. After our matching, weeping statues, the American and international cartoonists diverged. On 9/12, American cartoonists started drawing patriotic cartoons portraying resolve, strength, and the virtues of the New York Fire and Police Departments, standing tall as twin towers. American cartoonists drew scores of images of a strong Uncle Sam, threatening eagles and a newly militant Statue of Liberty, demanding revenge.
Just after 9/11 the international cartoonists depicted the irony of mighty America put in its place. A favorite, foreign symbol for America is Superman, and we saw scores of images showing both Superman and Uncle Sam defeated, injured, bleeding and grieving. The worldwide cartoonists treated 9/11 in the way that tabloids treat fallen celebrities: with delight in the spectacle of a beautiful actress who is overweight, or getting a messy divorce — or better yet, caught in a drunken scene, screaming racial epithets so that we can see that the rich, powerful, famous, conceited, fallen star was a hypocrite all along.