CSotD: Your own opinions should follow the facts

To set the mood somewhat gently, an announcement: I compiled this array back when the Biden/Ice Cream meme first surfaced as a way of pointing out how foolish and unhistoric it was. In fact, I went back and documented that all but three presidents enjoyed ice cream, and those three may have liked it, too. It just didn’t turn up in a web search.

When Daniel Moynihan famously said “You are entitled to your own opinion, but you are not entitled to your own facts” (or something like it), he wasn’t justifying dishonesty, obviously, but he also wasn’t justifying laziness.

There seems as much of one as the other these days, and the ice cream trope has even spread to nominal supporters of the president.

I intend to comment on it with this photo whenever it comes up, because it’s foolish, meaningless and lazy.

And it’s the least of our worries. There are far more toxic things on today’s agenda.

Errors can be somewhat innocent, as in today’s Chip Bok (Creators) cartoon, which is part of the ongoing effort to depict Biden as a dotard. Cartoonists should fact-check their accusations, but Bok would have been hard pressed to find anyone discussing this except Biden-haters because it didn’t happen.

As Politifact notes, and documents, Biden wasn’t attempting to shake hands with anyone. First he gestured to those on his right and then turned and gestured to those on his left, as seen in this CSPAN clip.

I’ll give Bok a pass on this one, because of the lack of attention from the other side. You can’t check alternative sources when there aren’t any.

Juxtaposition of the Day

Ramirez is correct that Republic Bank had a serious liquidity problem, but that problem appears to have stemmed in part from the panicked withdrawal of $100 billion by nervous account holders. Ramirez’s cartoon ran just as Republic was absorbed by JP Morgan Chase, but it still goes in the scoreboard as a bank failure. Poor timing, but fair enough.

The resulting uptick in JP Morgan stock and in the market suggests more of a mop-up than anything else, since the FDIC’s actions following the Silicon Valley collapse made it clear that banks are not, despite Stahler’s warning, in danger of a domino effect.

However, he’s entitled to his opinion, with the understanding that, as Maarten Wolterink notes, sparking a run on banks is not going to stabilize the problems currently being addressed.

Juxtaposition of the Day #2

Meanwhile, within the mission of political cartoonists to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable, Anderson and Milbrath do an admirable job of pushing back against Texas Governor Gregg Abbott.

Abbott, and Cruz and Cornyn, are entitled to their own opinions about immigrants. After all, the people of Texas elected them knowing their hostility towards immigrants, education and LGBTQ+ people.

And nobody in Texas was ever shot and killed by a legal citizen, right? They’d have passed laws to keep that from ever happening again, right?

If these are the people we are supposed to fear — two victims of the murderer — their apparently attractive features shouldn’t change our right to hate them and to discount their value.

But, then, people like Anderson — who consider it a cheap shot to discount them by referring to their alleged legal status — and people like Milbrath — who are revolted by people who claim to be Christian but profess profoundly anti-Christian values — have the right, and, in a democracy, the duty to denounce Abbott and his crew.

While, even if you share Abbott’s opinion of immigrants, he was mistaken in denouncing Diana Velasquez Alvarado, murdered as she sheltered her child with her own body, as an “illegal immigrant.”

When someone has the resources of a governor at his finger tips, this sort of thing goes from being “a mistake” to being a lie, or, referencing Milbrath’s cartoon, a God-damned lie.

Let us not forget that the Samaritan was both a hated alien and Christ’s answer to “Who is my brother?”

And now to the major story in all this: Martin Rowson’s commentary on the resignation of BBC director Richard Sharp for having failed to disclose a major loan.

Rowson is known as a brutal critic. He was a guest at an AAEC Convention a few years back and his hard-hitting work drew gasps (and laughter) from American editorial cartoonists who wouldn’t dare go so far.

But this one has caused an uproar even in Britain, which ought to be used to such things, because Richard Sharp is Jewish and those who look for offense found plenty. And many people who didn’t know that Sharp was Jewish are also offended, now that it’s been pointed out.

Start with how he was drawn.

Here are photographs of Sharp, of Boris Johnson and of Rishi Sunak, all of whom appear in that cartoon. Judge for yourself if you feel Rowson has exaggerated Sharp’s features more than those of the others. But his critics swear he made Sharp look more Jewish, without commenting on the other caricatures.

Sunak is shown in the Goldman Sachs box because he once worked for Sharp at Goldman Sachs, but Rowson is accused of writing about gold sacks and showing Sunak as a puppet because Jews are slandered as money-obsessed puppet masters, while Boris Johnson is shown sitting on a pile of shit with a pig behind it, because — the critics say — Jews don’t eat pork and something something something.

Finally — one hopes — there is a squid in the box because Goldman Sachs has been known as the Vampire Squid, but, according to Rowson’s accusers, it’s actually an octopus that goes back to Nazi tropes about Jewish bankers.

I haven’t seen such a hunt for revelatory, definitive clues since the death of Paul McCartney.

Rowson initially responded with a generic “Sorry if you took it wrong” response, which infuriated the Twitter mob and a fair number of Tories happy to see him up against the wall, including the Telegram, one of Britain’s largest newspapers and a Tory defender.

Rowson subsequently responded with one of the most complete apologies and in-depth explanations I have ever read, not only from a cartoonist but even from an analyst of cartoons.

It is absolutely required reading for anyone in the trade or interested in the trade or interested in fairness.

Let me repeat: It is absolutely required reading for anyone in the trade or interested in the trade or interested in fairness.

No music today. Go read that, instead.

9 thoughts on “CSotD: Your own opinions should follow the facts

  1. His linked response may have unfortunately been the best action for his career in this current society, but that doesn’t change the fact that way too many people were desperately trying to be offended by his cartoon. The uninformed could be forgiven for not immediately recognizing the “Goldman Sachs” logo and assuming different words, but that’s pretty much it. (Not knowing /why/ any particular seemingly-random element is present is another thing, but immediately and baselessly assuming bigotry is a personal problem.)

  2. Does anyone expect us to read SMALL WHITE print on a background like that? Sorry – much as I’d like to read his ‘splanation, I can’t.

    1. It isn’t particularly small, at least on a for-real computer. Perhaps on a phone. Try expanding it. It’s a perfectly normal font size.

      1. I’m reading (trying to) on a 21″ monitor. It’s more the white print on a distracting background that annoys me. I webauthor, and am very conscious of this when I make a website.

    2. @Andrea, Bleeding Cool also covered it and you can read it here -https://bleedingcool.com/comics/martin-rowson-apologises-as-guardian-cartoon-labelled-anti-semitic/

  3. Hi Mike. Thank you for the link to Mr. Rowson’s cartoon and essay apologia. What was funny for me was looking at the three photos, then scrolling back to look at the squid, then scrolling down to look at the photos again, I thought, “That squid doesn’t look anything like Rishi Sunak.” It took another look at the cartoon to see the P.M. in the box next to the squid. Then I laughed.

  4. Abbotts “reward” offered no helpful information about the suspect, no description or image.

    It’s been reported elsewhere they called 911 times asking for help. Because likely, if not violating an ordinance about shooting a weapon within the city limits, he was probably violating a noise ordinance.

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