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July 22, 2003 12:14 PM   Subscribe

Cartoon in Times Prompts Inquiry by Secret Service I know these guys have to investigate jokesters and fools who threaten the President, but this has the broad outlines of Federal intimidation of the press. Bah humbug on the SS, good for the lawyers for smackin' the guy down, and double good for the L.A. Times for reporting it to their readers. (Reg. req. to read story. Sorry 'bout that, kittens.)
posted by jengod (35 comments total)

 
I saw the artist being vilified by the maroons on CNN's Crossfire yesterday, and suspected they had it all wrong. The article posted here verifies that. The cartoon was *supporting* Bush. I mean, c'mon, Bush is the victim and politics is standing in the shoes of the North Vietnamese officer. Could it be a bit more obvious? Apparently the goons at the Secret Service thought so.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 12:18 PM on July 22, 2003


For those who are concerned, I believe metafilter99/metafilter99 still works for the LA Times.
posted by Irontom at 12:18 PM on July 22, 2003


why does MetaFilter's URL come up at the top of the screen? wasn't this a trick the LA times did once before? I'm not reg'ed at the LA Times but I still got to the article

On topic, I've seen the comic, and at first I thought it was a playful point about how the politics of the Iraq occupation were going to hurt Bush, and Ramirez's meaning was similar. Obviously Ramirez wasn't advocating assassination, but it is certainly within the Secret Service's purview to ascertain the reason the author chose such an attention-grabbing image. Of course, when it came out, Drudge immediately seized on it without any understanding. Par for the course.
posted by insomnyuk at 12:22 PM on July 22, 2003


Here's the NewsMax article on the affair, including timely reminders that similar episodes have occurred during the Clinton Presidency.
posted by 111 at 12:30 PM on July 22, 2003


You still have to wonder about this cartoonist's thought processes. What's next, depict a platoon shooting up My Lai village and label the soldiers "Press" and the village "Bush Administration"?
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:31 PM on July 22, 2003


Brown shirts and jack boots. Thugs.
posted by nofundy at 12:33 PM on July 22, 2003


Before other people start chiming about heavy-handedness and censorship, let me just say that this cartoon exemplifies the worst about mediocre political cartooning: tortured analogies substituting for original thought. Might as well go all the way and make it a donkey that was pulling the trigger.
posted by alidarbac at 12:34 PM on July 22, 2003


I'm not sure which is scarier, that the SS came knocking over a political cartoon, or that they didn't "get" one that is so simple and obvious.
posted by Ynoxas at 12:37 PM on July 22, 2003


politics is standing in the shoes of the North Vietnamese officer

*cough*
politics is standing in the position of the SOUTH vietnamese general, nguyen ngoc loan, director of south vietnam's national police.
posted by quonsar at 12:38 PM on July 22, 2003


Hear hear, alidarbac!

Free speech issues aside, its really just a bad, derivative cartoon.
posted by elendil71 at 12:40 PM on July 22, 2003


Brown shirts and jack boots. Thugs.

Wow, what a well-reasoned, thoughtful and intelligent response! Thank you so much for brilliantly contributing to the content of this discussion nofundy, you are the best!
posted by insomnyuk at 12:41 PM on July 22, 2003


q: Yes, of course you're right. I dashed off a response too quickly, but at least I got the gist of the 'toon (unlike the Secret Service).
posted by monju_bosatsu at 12:48 PM on July 22, 2003


i declare an upgrade to police state 1.1

now with intimidation of the press!
posted by MrLint at 12:52 PM on July 22, 2003


Here's the cartoon in question.
posted by jpoulos at 12:56 PM on July 22, 2003


Free speech issues aside, Ramirez is just a bad, derivative cartoonist, hired to replace the abrasively brilliant Paul Conrad (when he retired) in order to pander to people with the LATimes' willingness to highlight (a) a hispanic and (b) a conservative. There are many better cartoonists out there who are (a) or (b)... and even a few who are both... but their recruiting process seemed to miss them.

It just tickles me that his tendency for bad analogies has come to the attention of the brown-shirted and jack- booted thugs...
posted by wendell at 1:04 PM on July 22, 2003


What alidarbac and elendil71 said. I can't wait for the one with the words "Bush Administration" on the side of the Hindenberg.

On preview: And wendell.
posted by soyjoy at 1:06 PM on July 22, 2003


This cartoon may be a little more to the point. [self-link]
posted by mr_crash_davis at 1:07 PM on July 22, 2003


What wendell said, that is. I don't want to see the words "Bush Administration" on wendell.
posted by soyjoy at 1:07 PM on July 22, 2003


I'd comment but I don't really want to be visited by the FBI.

Were I to comment, (which I'm not by the way) I might say something like...well isn't that nice that our fucking government doesn't have anything better to do than send the FBI out after political cartoonists.

Or maybe I might say something to the effect of...how sick I am of the idiots on talk shows who picked it up and jabbered and slobbered all over themselves denouncing the cartoonist.

But I won't say anything like that either.

I'm just a citizen Mr. FBI, not really commenting on anything. Just sitting here picking my nose and loving America. By god.

Go get them pinko commies!!!! Whoohoo!!!
posted by damnitkage at 1:18 PM on July 22, 2003


it's not even a very good cartoon.
posted by crunchland at 1:34 PM on July 22, 2003


Free speech issues aside, its really just a bad, derivative cartoon.

I thought point was that we don't put free speech issues aside, even for a bad, derivative cartoon.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 1:36 PM on July 22, 2003


I miss Paul Conrad. He still draws and his cartoons appear in Slate's editorial cartoons section, but you can see how the man's hand is getting shakier with age. His fire sure isn't, though.

And I'm still not sure who's denser: the people who thought the cartoon was anti-Bush, or Ramirez for drawing it. Good gravy, but what a hack!

Does anyone here have a good political cartoonist working for their local paper?
posted by RakDaddy at 1:45 PM on July 22, 2003


Were I to comment, (which I'm not by the way) I might say something like...well isn't that nice that our fucking government doesn't have anything better to do than send the FBI out after political cartoonists.

Well, in your view of the world, they shouldn't be doing anything at all apparently. They sent ONE GUY! Doesn't matter that you don't THINK the FBI "got it" or not. And it's not for you to judge where the FBI draws the line on investigate or not-invesitgate. If this cartoonist shot the man tomorrow, aside from everyone's jubilation (here on MeFi, that is), you'd probably pipe up something like, "well if the FBI wasn't so stupid they would have seen the warning sign right under their nose".

So while I agree with your point of how sick you are of the idiots on talk shows who picked it up and jabbered and slobbered all over themselves denouncing the cartoonist, you're doing the same thing to the FBI, CIA, SS, whoever.
posted by Witty at 1:46 PM on July 22, 2003


why does MetaFilter's URL come up at the top of the screen?

The LA Times shows the site's referrer link at the top of a printer friendly page. If you click on the printer friendly link at the original story it would show a link back to the original story since that would be the referrer to the printer friendly formatted padge. Since MetaFilter is linking directly to the printer friendly site, it shows MetaFilter as the referrer
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 1:49 PM on July 22, 2003


Anyone remember that Kids in the Hall skit (or was it Saturday Night Live) about how it was illegal to even mention killing the president, but whenever someone tries to explain the law, the secret service come in and tackle the guy?

Anyone? Anyone?
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 1:55 PM on July 22, 2003


Well, in your view of the world, they shouldn't be doing anything at all apparently.

I will hazard to speak for damnitkage by suggesting that there are a lot of things the FBI should be doing. For example, preventing terrorist catastrophes using the data they already possess.
posted by squirrel at 2:16 PM on July 22, 2003


The Times does still run Conrad occasionally, RakDaddy. There was a good one a week or so ago, where Conrad shows Bush with a noose around his neck, made from those 16 famous words from the State of the Union speech. I wonder if the Secret Service visited him for that one...
posted by InfidelZombie at 2:24 PM on July 22, 2003


I find the whole "Imagining the Death of the King" thing to be ridiculous. Especially because no one makes a mention of the large number of (usually the mentally unbalanced and protesters) people who are arrested each year for "Threatening the Life of the President."
Any guesses? 10, 20? Perhaps 100 or more each year? People *arrested*, and some incarcerated because they *say* something. No do, say.
And dammit, of course they try to blur the line between actually *saying* something that "Threatens the Life of the President" and "Protesting the Policies of the President to his Face or Even at his Speech Followed Later by his Photo-Op."
Is it the RIGHT of the President to go through his entire term and not see a single protest sign?
posted by kablam at 2:47 PM on July 22, 2003


squirrel, your link hardly supports your point.
posted by Witty at 3:38 PM on July 22, 2003


"There's a lot of shared failure and blame to go around," said former Rep. Tim Roemer, D-Ind., who was a member of the joint intelligence panels that conducted the inquiry.

So, being part of a group of fuck-ups means the FBI is less of a fuck-up, Witty?
posted by squirrel at 4:20 PM on July 22, 2003


That's one lame cartoon, but I support his right to be lame, anywho.
posted by signal at 5:21 PM on July 22, 2003


Anyone remember that Kids in the Hall skit (or was it Saturday Night Live) about how it was illegal to even mention killing the president, but whenever someone tries to explain the law, the secret service come in and tackle the guy?

It was The State.

And yes. That show still warms my heart.
posted by nath at 5:28 PM on July 22, 2003


So, being part of a group of fuck-ups means the FBI is less of a fuck-up, Witty?

According to the article, the FBI wasn't involved in this. It was the Secret Service. The Secret Service deals with threats to the president, not the FBI.

Counterfeiting too..
posted by SweetJesus at 9:12 AM on July 23, 2003


Brown shirts and jack boots. Thugs.

The health, wellbeing and safety of the president are of tantamount importance regardless of who is in the White House. Hence all threats or perceived threats must be investigated. I ask nofundy if he'd rather live in those other western "democracies" were one can go to jail for insulting any head of state? I ask nofundy if he'd like to revise his bullshit statement. But then again, I don't expect reason and the actual facts to change nofund's fundamentalist troll.

To dumb down to nofundy's level

US = Investigated for threats against the president

Other so called dormancies = Arrested/jail/fined for insulting any head of state (ex: Italy)

I see no problem here, other than someone being too stupid to understand the cartoon.
posted by Bag Man at 11:26 AM on July 23, 2003


Bag Man, that's a straw man y'got there. Yeah, there are a zillion ways our government could be worse. The fact that this action is not more unjust doesn't make it just. If I dent your car rather than crushing it, does that make me not a vandal?
posted by squirrel at 3:20 PM on July 23, 2003


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