Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Fishing expedition

This post seems like an example of a fishing expedition: Ted Rall is a RACIST: Undeniable evidence (part1). The author is clearly upset over the way Obama is depicted by Rall, but seems to be fishing for anything that might come across as evidence of Rall's alleged racism, from trying to claim that a poorly drawn cat is a racoon (and that by implication Rall is drawing what would indeed be a racial epithet), to droning on about how Obama is drawn in an "apelike" manner, and so on. Here's my take: the author has so far failed to come up with definitive proof of much of anything other than that Rall is at best a mediocre talent in the world of political cartooning. There are better artists out there. Rall's only minor value comes from his willingness to speak out as a critic of American empire. His figures generally look crudely drawn and apelike - see his drawings of the previous President. As far as Rall's ideological positions go, near as I can guess, he's some sort of anarchist. He has nothing nice to say about capitalism, which makes attempts to tar him as some sort of right-winger a bit far-fetched. Nor does the author's attempts to contend that Rall has ever portrayed himself as a "progressive" (same could be said of Rall's followers) - quite the opposite, really. Rall enjoys yanking the chains of those who consider themselves "progressives," and in particular enjoys yanking the chains of those who are overly devoted to the current political leadership (he's pretty equal-opportunity in that regard - Bushies absolutely got their knickers in a knot over his work during much of the prior decade).

Rall is most likely an asshole, and has perhaps limited utility among those left of the Democratic Party for his willingness to call our neoliberal imperial order by its true name. I haven't paid much attention to his comic strip or his column in ages, but at one point his work was mildly entertaining. Still, it is probably not someone whose work would be on my list of recommended reading, or one who I would go out of my way to visit at a book signing. So it goes. He's mediocre and obnoxious, and semi-effective in getting a rise out of defenders of empire (even if they refuse to be identified as such).  But beyond that, why go fishing?