I was happy to see the Jamie Cameron's Feb. 13 letter to Xpress criticizing "cartoonist" Randy Molton. Aren't cartoons supposed to be funny sometimes? Aren't they supposed to convey a touch of intelligent social commentary?
All Molton does is draw crude images characterizing the demographic he wishes to attack as being ignorant, slobbering, subhuman creatures. As Mr. Cameron noted, that kind of stuff was funny when I was in sixth or seventh grade, but not thereafter.
Molton's standard "cartoons" are reminiscent of the drawings that used to be printed in public newspapers in the early part of the 20th century, depicting blacks as subhuman. Those overtly racist "cartoons" used the very same elements used by the standard Molton cartoon: exaggerated physical characteristics and speech that are not really caricatures as much as mean-spirited denigration. Some section of the population found those cartoons "funny" also — not because they were actually funny, but because they enjoyed seeing such images of blacks because it reinforced and legitimized their own prejudice.
Of course, these days it's fine to trash the character of a certain certain section of the populace in public — as long as that demographic is white.
— Michael D. Ivey
Randy Molton responds: Good points. But cartooning, like any art form, is subjective, and being a Southerner, I think that I understand the culture as well as anybody. Yes, my characters are grotesque. That’s just how my style has evolved, even though one could argue that my characters look as though they haven’t.