A recent editorial cartoon by Theo Moudakis, cartoonist for the Toronto Star, has created stir from those whose livelihoods (one in seven Canadians) are tied directly or indirectly on the “Big Three” automobile manufactures in Detroit. The cartoon depicts a couple doing holiday shopping under a banner labeled, “cheap crappy toys” and the wife asking if the toys were made in China and the husband responding, “Worse, made in Detroit.” GM Canada led a letter writing campaign that generated close to 400 letters in opposition to the cartoon.
The Public Editor responded in a column that when she first saw the cartoon she felt it was “provocative, though not particularly humorous,” and the cartoon shouldn’t be seen as a reflection of the views of the paper, but of the cartoonist.
Reaction from the editor appears to be of support.
“Editorial cartoonists are, by nature, edgy and controversial. So, too, are late night TV hosts,” said editorial page editor Ian Urquhart, who approved publication of the cartoon. “Both use satire, which can be taken as offensive by some in the audience. But the forum of public debate would be worse without them.”
Moudakis, who has won a National Newspaper Award for editorial cartooning, understands he hit a nerve but didn’t set out to offend. “I certainly wasn’t trying to belittle or hurt Oshawa autoworkers,” he says. “Editorial cartoonists can be cheap shot artists, you can’t deny that, but in the end, we don’t mean to hurt anybody.”