Today, the Boston Herald newspaper published a cartoon that depicts a man showering in Barack Obama's bathroom. It's a commentary about the Secret Service's recent history of putting Barack Obama and his family in harm's way. It also contains a completely unnecessary and racist joke about watermelons.
Here is that joke, as it appeared in the Herald this morning.
— Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) October 1, 2014
We know that the joke is unnecessary because the same comic appears in a different form on the GoComics page of its artist Jerry Holbert. Here is that version:
Huh: In Jerry Holbert’s GoComics archive, the toothpaste is “raspberry-flavored.” Who changed it to watermelon & why? pic.twitter.com/datXEdKUoL
— Neetzan Zimmerman (@neetzan) October 1, 2014
Perfect! A blandly understandable newspaper comic with no racism whatsoever.
It appears as if the comic was originally turned in with the crack about watermelons before being altered after the fact. According to Talking Points Memo, Holbert said that he used the "watermelon-flavored" line because he just really likes watermelons:
He told the hosts that he had "no intention at all of offending anyone" and that he doesn't "think along the lines of racial jokes." While he acknowledged that his jokes can be "naive" or "stupid," he said he was definitely not racist. He repeatedly emphasized that he "wasn't thinking of the racial element" when he used watermelon toothpaste.
"I was thinking of myself," he said. "I really like watermelon."
An overall terrible excuse, made even less believable by the Herald calling Holbert's cartoon "satire":
Contributors to our Editorial and Opinion pages have the right to express their views, and satire is clearly used in Jerry Holbert's cartoon today.
Either Holbert didn't know what he was doing, or he did. Either the Boston Herald knows what its cartoonists are doing, or it doesn't. Not that it really matters all that much—soon we will all be ash ground beneath time's bootheel.
[Image via AP]