February 2nd, 2006

hit man!

Is this bad taste?

This is the cartoon that caused the Joint Chiefs of Staff to issue a strongly-worded letter of protest to the Washingon Post.

Here's the question: is this cartoon obscene? Or just in bad taste? I'm leaning towards the latter, because in the context of political cartoons, which, as we all know, use exaggeration and satire in order to make a point, the object of condemnation is not so much the American soldier as it is Donald Rumsfeld.

But it does raise the issue, especially in conjunction with the Muslim furor over Danish and French political cartoons, of what limits are placed on free speech. Is anything fair game for political cartooning? Is there a line of bad taste that we mustn't cross?