By Diogenes (articles ) | Mar 24, 2004

In a recent effort, cartoonist Pat Oliphant portrays Justice Antonin Scalia as a mafioso in the 1920s mode, sitting in a duck blind wearing a loud suit with machine gun at the ready, saying to Cheney, "Dis is da life, Dick!"

I happen to find Oliphant's point of view detestable here, but that's not a problem. He clearly set out to provoke Scalia admirers to teeth-gnashing and Scalia haters to amusement, and he succeeded. Personally I don't object (in principle) to a cartoonist's using consciously offensive ethnic stereotypes as part of his weaponry, although it seems somewhat gratuitous -- even from Oliphant's political perspective -- in the present instance.

No, what really rankles is the editorial policy of the newspapers like the Washington Post that link to or feature Oliphant and company. The playing field is preposterously un-level. If it's fair game to make a Supreme Court Justice of Italian origin into a sub-literate Murder Incorporated mobster, fine. But then every other ethnic group should be open (no fair complaining!) to the same treatment by caricaturists.

Well, we all know it's not going to happen. Think of the fallout if the privileged groups -- those for whom a "hands off" edict has been decreed -- were submitted to mockery at a level of insult equivalent to Scalia da mob boss wit da ugly mug and da tommy gun. The mind reels.

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  • Posted by: - Mar. 24, 2004 8:33 PM ET USA

    I think Oliphant should do one of Ruth Bader Ginsburg as Ma Barker being a bodyguard for Margaret Sanger.

  • Posted by: extremeCatholic - Mar. 24, 2004 4:43 PM ET USA

    More of this: That disgraceful and anti-Catholic sculpture at Wasburn University is still standing. The Kansas Board of Regents has just approved its permanent display.

  • Posted by: Sterling - Mar. 24, 2004 10:48 AM ET USA

    Diogenes, what paper did you see this cartoon in? The Globe?

  • Posted by: - Mar. 24, 2004 8:25 AM ET USA

    Last night, on ESPN's "PTI," a white commentator said to his black counterpart from the Washington Post, "I can't talk about race - you know that! You can but I can't." That's as close as it ever comes in the mainstream media to an acknowledgement of the unlevel playing field. And nobody within this huge public-policy-manipulating instrument can or will advert to it. Fair game for ridicule are whites, men, Catholics, fundamentalists, heterosexuals; their opposites are absolutely off-limits.