I’m that guy who is okay with Australia’s Herald Sun newspaper defending its cartoonist’s depiction of Serena Williams. I like their quote…
If the self-appointed censors of Mark Knight get their way on his Serena Williams cartoon, our new politically correct life will be very dull indeed.
I find it hard to understand how so many can have so much to say about the single frame cartoon but have nothing to say about the 1000 word editorial Chris Freind wrote (and the many others like his).
I do take issue with the Australia Herald on one point. There’s nothing new about political correctness getting out of hand. Back in 2014 Chris Rock stopped performing at colleges because they can’t take a joke, or as he says, “They’re Too Conservative.” He was later joined by Jerry Seinfeld who refuses to do the college circuit because of the politically correct criticism he was enduring for his jokes.
I first saw the Serena cartoon on a Facebook post labeling it as racist. The more I studied the cartoon, the less I saw it as racist and the more I appreciated the art. Here’s why.
First and foremost, he only had one frame to tell the whole story. That means he had to be extremely efficient in both art and words. I think if you lined up all the women participating in the US Open and showed someone the cartoon who didn’t know anything about tennis, it would probably come down to Sloan Stephens or Serena as the one they’d pick from the lineup.
With no words, he depicted her as angry, loud, and the one who smashes racquets. I’d say that about covers Serena during those few moments of outburst. He snuck in a baby pacifier on the court surface to represent Serena’s use of her status as a new mother to support her rant. Way off in the distance, you have the whimpey judge telling an accurately portrayed demure opponent with a blonde ponytail, as worn by Naomi Osaka, the only six words in the frame – “Can You Just Let Her Win?”
Game – Set – Match! I think he nailed it.
That’s what cartoonist do. Have you seen the many political cartoons of real people with their most distinguishing features extenuated? Obama always had huge elephant ears and Trump always looks like a bumbling, bloated, orange orangutan. It seems those upset at seeing Serena in a cartoon looking upset would rather she look like one of her Vouge magazine covers. Obviously, the cartoon wouldn’t have worked.
The cartoon gave us 6 words and an upsetting image of Serena. I’m not saying I like the image, but I do say it told an entire story in one small frame. On the other hand, Chris Freind gave us 1000 words and most of them far more racist sounding in his depiction of Serena Williams.
A cartoon means more than a 1000 words in our politically correct world. The artist gets attacked and the wordsmith just keeps on writing.