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Political Report: Impact of a cartoon

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| Friday, May 31, 2013 7:42 AM

Political Report: Impact of a cartoon

Politics is never a millpond, ripples tend to become tsunamis and the past 24 hours is a good example of that.

The little Fairfax rag in Blenheim innocently hit the streets and suddenly the Marlborough Express is on the fast track to the Race Relations Commissioner's office.

Their cartoon went viral. It depicted four children and four adults, dressed in uniforms, walking past a free school meals sign with the cereal bowls. The two overweight, dark skinned, adults had one saying to the other: "Psst, if we can get away with this, the more cash left for booze, smokes and pokies."

The big mistake the cartoonist made, if you listen to the howls of indignant outrage, was that the two fat people were brown.

But hang on a mo, there were two other adults in the cartoon, clearly superannuitants, and no one's come to their defence!

One MP who was a running sore over the depiction was the festering Toe Henare who puffed out his chest on the way into Parliament's bear pit and declared: "My question to New Zealand is, what the hell have Maori done to deserve this sort of carry on?"

The answer is that a disproportionate number of them do get into trouble over the way they raise their kids, and that's not to say that the vast majority of them aren't great parents.

Fact is that if we were to take exception to everyone who was offended by a cartoonist poking the borax then the country would spend all it's time tied up in litigation.  Certainly if politicians took exception to the constant, unflattering caricatures of them their skin would be transparent.

The cartoonist who drew the offensive bit of humour is Scottish and makes the point that his race is forever having the proverbial taken out of them for being tight, drunk, naked bummed, sporran wearing twats.   In fact he depicts his countrymen in the same way.

Point is, cartoonists push the boundaries, they are there to make people uncomfortable, their job is to make those who they depict squirm.

To the Scottish cartoonist who gave some of us a giggle: Lang may yer lum reek!

Photo: Getty Images

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