Editorial cartoons often aren't pretty, to paraphrase Steve Martin's observation about the perils of comedy. But one found in the Opinion section of today's New York Times is downright ugly.
The cartoon, alluding to this year's brutal winter, suggests U.S. Department of Commerce "Strategies for Dealing With the 2014 Icicle Surplus." Among them are using icicles as "locally sourced hydration devices," "temporary doorsteps," and "brainteasers for dogs." Then comes a suggestion that one immediately looks at again, in disgust and disbelief -- icicles can also be used as "self-destructing sabers for dispatching climate-change deniers." (Entire cartoon shown after the jump)
As far as cartoonists at the New York Times are concerned, if you are skeptical about climate change, you should die. Preferably in a violent manner. Turns out the Gray Lady's got a mean streak. But you already knew that.
Aside from its patently offensive notion that those holding different political views don't deserve to live, the panel in question also lacks a key element in political cartoons that aim to be tongue in cheek -- it isn't funny.
Imagine the outrage at the Times if Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, et al., suggested that liberals should die for not agreeing with them. Yes, things would get nasty in a hurry. Has it really been that long since the Tucson massacre and the left's demand for more civility, at least from conservatives?
Perhaps without being aware of it, the cartoonists responsible, Michael Kupperman and David Rees, suggest that the actions of the woman "dispatching" the climate-change "denier" are inherently shameful. After all, the weapon being used is a "self-destructing" frozen saber. Evidence of the crime would quickly melt. What had occurred, however, would remain a crime. Yes -- even killing a climate-change knuckle-dragger is illegal, at least for now. But give the oh so tolerant true believers more time. All crimes are justified when one is saving the world.
I can't help but wonder what other opinions warrant summary execution according to Times' cartoonists -- outspoken opposition to same-sex marriage? Ardent belief in the necessity of the Second Amendment? What if a person is an unequivocal supporter of capital punishment -- do cartoonists at the Times believe he should be executed for this? Now that would make me laugh.