September 23rd 1968  (Age 53)

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Random Thots is brought to you by Graeme MacKay, Editorial Cartoonist at the Hamilton Spectator, in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Website:

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Friday, July 21, 2006
Not so nuanced on complainers

Nowadays I don't do a lot of cartooning on International issues, particularly anything having to do with Israeli-Middle Eastern affairs. Every editorial cartoonist knows from experience that if they stake even the most subtle position on any given issue regarding the Middle East they'll risk facing the wrath from irate letter writers. Take, for example, one response I received after drawing a cartoon marking Ariel Sharon's massive stroke...

This is not to say comments like this turn me off from drawing on Israel, but if enough people complain to my editor, which is always the case regarding anything having to do with Israel, then I start hearing demands from my masters to be more "nuanced" in my approach to such subjects. Unfortunately, and I know editors will back me up on this not so nuanced declaration, when one chooses to satirize or critique policies carried out by the state of Israel one must be prepared to face some local backlash, such as being branded as anti-semetic.

This week I kept myself in the safe zone as each of my 3 cartoons dealt with the Canadian connection to the conflict between Israel and the Lebanon based Hezbollah. Generally speaking, my targets were this week's most vocal complainers. Bill Graham complaining about Stephen Harper choosing not to mince his words by saying Israel's bombardment of Lebanon was a measured response to aggression by Islamic extremists. who complained endlessly about the Canadian effort to rescue them from being killed by rocket attacks. And finally the media, cocooned in the bubble around a travelling Stephen Harper which seemed complain to about his every word, from abandoning Canada's traditional stance of indifference in the mid-east, to his government's handling of the evacuation.

It wasn't easy to criticize Stephen Harper for much of what he said and did this week. It was refreshing to hear a Prime Minister lead without a script and it was noble of him make available his jet to rescue stranded Canadians. From wishy washy Liberals, to whinning media, to evacuees complaining about not being fed on a rescue ship, it was far easier to satirize those who were complaining than ridiculing Stephen Harper.

Posted at 09:15 am by Graeme_MacKay

Commuting Hamiltonian
July 21, 2006   10:43 PM PDT
So as an editorial cartoonist, how many times per day do people write back using the "shame" word for your latest cartoon? Have you ever considered attaching a Shame-O-Meter to your website?
July 22, 2006   02:36 AM PDT
I think its very clever, and I can see what the writer meant, but the cartoonist has to create the image out of the situation...

You inspired me to on the very brink here of creating...have to learn to draw better..
Commuting Hamiltonian
July 25, 2006   01:43 AM PDT
My complaint about this cartoon is that it is completely unrealistic. First of all, how do you put a country in a hospital bed. Secondly, Israel is 260 miles long. Drawn to scale, that means that the bed would have to be about 300 miles long. Do you have any idea how strong it would have to be to carry all that weight? The design of the bed is all wrong, as the supports would have to be completely redesigned to avoid collapse. And don't get me started on the height of the equipment. It would reach beyond the breathable atmosphere. Furthermore, for a doctor to manipulate all of those dials, they would likewise have to be about 500 miles high. That's pretty big! Almost as big as Jehovah himself. Or is that the point. Oh, I see... it's in God's hands. Right?

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