Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Offensive liberal caricatures

Prickly City 9-23-04
Originally uploaded by mwthomas87.
So what is a liberal anyway? There are all of these caricatures and stereotypes of liberals constantly being bantered about in editorial cartoons, letters to the editor, talk radio, etc.
Often times it is the aging Hippie with his hair pulled back in a ponytail, usually wearing round glasses and dressed in either tie dyes or an outdated suit jacket (in the case of academic types). But these images are beginning to be a bit old as the Boomer generation nears retirement.
I guess the thing that offends me the most is the implication that a person with liberal political beliefs also has bad values in their personal life.
An example is this recent Prickly City comic strip - the newest right-wing political comic picked up by the San Antonio Express-News (Comic balance is currently 4-1 with Prickly City, Mallard Fillmore, Nacho Guarche and B.C. on the right and just Doonesbury on the left.)
The strip features a little girl and a young coyote who constantly make right-wing observations and take pot-shots at Democrats and liberals. The strip from Sept. 21 was particularly offensive. It has a grotesque man carrying a bottle of booze and smoking a cigarette making a pass at the little girl and revealing that he is a sexual offender. He then shouts out an anti-Bush profanity, barfs on everything and then passes out. The "punchline" is that he represents the typical Hollywood liberal.
The fact that the author tries to equate drunkeness, slovenliness, smoking, sexual perversion and profanity with liberalism is both outrageous and highly offensive. Whenever I think of a Hollywood liberal I imagine someone like Paul Newman (who actually lives in Connecticut) who launched the Newman's Own food line and gives all the profits away to charity. When I lived and worked in Connecticut many years ago I got to see firsthand the beneficial results of Newman's philanthropy.
But still this gross caricature persists in the minds of many conservatives. No wonder they find it so easy to despise liberals.
But the only problem is that I don't fit that description (and neither do most liberals I know). While I have some very strong liberal political beliefs, I am probably more conservative in most of my personal habits than most conservatives I meet.

I don't smoke.
I don't drink alcohol.
I have never taken drugs.
I don't use profanity.
I don't gamble.
I've been happily married for 14 years.
I go to church regularly (Methodist).
I wear my hair relatively short and dress in slacks and a tie when I go to work.
I drive a Ford F150 pickup truck.

So what is it about me that makes me a liberal? Is it the fact that I don't openly condemn people who don't mirror my personal habits? Is it because I am too forgiving of other people's faults? Or is it because I want the government to tax all my conservative friends into the poor house and give all their money away to welfare cheats and roustabouts? (Just kidding!)

More on this later...

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