Tags: sarah palin

28 Feb 2009, Comments (15)

The writer and the cartoonist

Author: Helen

Last year, some cartoons which accompanied two of Miranda Devine‘s articles caught my attention. One article (they’re both in the SMH, as always) is about feminists – they all hated Sarah Palin ‘cos they’re nasty. The other is about cougars. You know- women of a certain age who are desperate to partner.

In the Sarah Palin vs. feminism article, Devine asserts – and I hope you’re not eating breakfast while you read this – “in her brief starring role on the global stage [Palin] has been a powerful psychic enema, flushing out the poison at the heart of establishment feminism for all to see.” Now newcomers to Devine World will be saying “But, Sarah Bernhardt and Kathy Lette are not exactly spokespersons for feminism. And US feminists defended Palin against sexist commentary while a lot of male commentators wallowed it it”. Well, Devine is Strawfeminists R Us, so let’s not waste too much time on her under-researched opinions.
Edd Aragon, 1

What intrigued me was the cartoon; it’s so over the top. Well, the “feminist” depicted isn’t the Full Stereotype, judging by the heels and dress, although the hair looks as if it’s long and grey – an absolute no-no for Western women- but the depiction of the “feminist” is so, for want of a better word, hectic. Mad, tongue lolling, muscles like a skinned rabbit; Over-coloured, gesticulating wildly, jumping up and down on the face of the hapless Palin.

Hmm. Now for the other article, about cougars in the city of Sydney trying to find love. Miranda begins with the well-worn old starting point that women aren’t partnered these days because they’re too damn fussy, then points to one of those risible “statistical surveys” that our MSM love so much, suggesting that these fusspots should simply move to different suburbs to beat the odds. But! that doesn’t mean they should be, god forbid, calculating, like her old School Chum from Ascham, who persists in having preferences (Devine refers to this as having a “shopping list”). Never mind that the demographer Bernard Salt, refers to men as “product”.

Edd Aragon,2

Here, the cartoon shows a woman who’s just doing femininity in an ordinary way: a nicer haircut, pearls, drop earrings, lipstick, manicure… but the image is, if anything, more terrifying than the picture of the “feminist”. The woman’s huge, over-life size teeth are actually chomping onto the tiny man. The poor, tiny, powerless man! This woman will eat you alive.

Because, remember, in the eyes of the lecturing Miranda, you’re damned if you’re feminist and damned if you’re not. (If women were so powerful and terrifying, why should they have to move house to find a partner?) The image says something else – men, some men, fear strong women. Really fear them.

I googled the cartoonist, and discovered he has a blog. Does he hate women? Far from it, if his blog is anything to go by. You can easily find other caricatures he’s drawn which don’t show the subject as fearsome or terrible. So, what gives?

Do cartoonists tailor their artwork to the piece of writing it’s going to be published with, or does the writer exhort the artist to make an image nicer, naster, scarier to fit what they’re saying? I can’t work out why these images are so horrible; they don’t really jive with the artist’s whole body of work.

As I said, no particular reason for this post except that I realised how little I know about the mechanics of articles-with-cartoons and whether, or how, the writer and the cartoonist communicate to put across the message. I’d be interested to hear from any cartoonists if there are any reading!
Crossposted at Hoyden About Town

Update 1/03/2009: Pavlov’s Cat writes an interesting response from the writer’s side of the fence.

Tracee Hutchison comes late to the party in noticing that some of the criticism and abuse of Sarah Palin is pure and simple sexism. Better late than never. But there is no excuse whatever for the way she ends the article.

Why aren’t we similarly learning about the price of Barack Obama’s suits? Or what it cost to deck out Michelle and the kids in those colour-toned matching outfits at the nomination acceptance? I’d estimate $25,000 for the four of them on that night alone — minimum.
It is plainly absurd, but the stories of Palin’s clothing extravagances squeezed her and Cindy McCain back into jeans this week as a counter-blow while Obama spent millions of dollars on a single ad.
And just why has Palin become such juicy fodder for comedians when comment on Obama’s race and colour are completely off limits? Clearly it’s OK to pillory women but it’s not OK to pillory people of colour. Why? I’m not sure. America, after all, has a proud history of burning white women at the stake so it’s not as though discrimination and recrimination have been exclusive to colour.
It would just be uncool to make fun of black people, so let the woman take the hit. Clearly. I don’t like Palin and the thought of her in the White House terrifies me. But playing the woman — once again — as political sport is even less attractive to watch.

Seriously, Tracey, have you been asleep through this whole campaign?

15 Sep 2008, Comments Off on Bullshit generates Methane

Bullshit generates Methane

Author: Helen

You’re all familiar with the populist narrative that greenies and lefties are all out-of-touch elites who like to “sneer at” ordinary (suburban, small-town) people. (Current example: the Sarah Palin campaign vs. the elitist, arugula latte-drinking Obama). It’s so popular in Australia at the moment, you can hardly open a newspaper without being scolded for daring to suggest that the way we build our cities, and travel around them, could possibly be improved. Public transport is a concern for upper middle-class wankers; Real people love their cars so much, they don’t care that they’re trapped into using them. As for the price of fuel, well, er… something will come along, don’t worry.

As for not building great swathes of housing development, inappropriately sited, overlarge, artificially cooled and out of reach of train or tram lines, that’s just those greeny lefty elites forcing their elitist concerns on the Real People again. Real People want big houses and they want them to look Tuscan and have no eaves and anyone who wants to take that dream away from them is just an over-educated latte-sipping poopyhead. Development good, conservation – and re-thinking our ways of building and getting around – bad.

This view is as popular in Labor and certain self-identified “left” groups as it is in Liberal and right-leaning groups.

I do wonder whether the deep and abiding love for Tuscan-style villas built to the fenceline isn’t the product of lavish and expertly targeted marketing rather than something deep in the Australian soul, and such marketing couldn’t have created an equally enthusiastic market for more appropriate housing, but that’s a discussion for another day.

Last week, an entire suburb was evacuated because the developer had built on land next to a landfill containing methane gas. The developer chose to build on the land to make money, and probably got the land at a bargain price because of the proximity to landfill. The council which owned and operated the landfill first opposed building so close to the area, as did the toothless Environment Protection Authority, but the developer went to VCAT. The bureaucrats at VCAT overturned the opposition and now we have a complete dog’s breakfast out at Cranbourne. None of these entities are from the greenie left. They represent the “hooray, development!” mentality.

This is a disaster. Without warning, these people have had to pack up their houses and find accommodation for themselves and their young children for an indeterminate period. If and when they’re allowed to return, their houses may be worthless. Many of them are walking a financial tightrope already and this will send them to the wall.

Cranbourne and Casey have been a byword for urban sprawl for years. We’ve had item after news item about the lack of infrastructure, social isolation and car dependence, debt, poverty and disadvantage. It’s time the boosters of road-based suburban sprawl admitted the problems with this social model. The methane problem is acute, but the problems of this area are chronic.

I wonder how deeply these non-elitist, non-green, pro-development business suits and bureaucrats care about the people in that suburb. Let’s call this Roveian anti-elitism for what it is: an excuse for governments to neglect infrastructure and due process and private companies to extract maximum profits from the “ordinary Australians” they’re supposed to represent, and then move on. They are the out of touch elites.
Crossposted at Road to Surfdom