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Hot Topic: Funny? Sexist? Creepy? Readers weigh in on Ayotte cartoon

We asked Monitor readers last week whether they found a recent editorial cartoon sexist, as a couple letter-writers did. The drawing, by Mike Marland, depicted U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte as a lapdog to a National Rifle Association honcho. Here’s a sampling of reaction:

Of course it’s sexist

Re “Ayotte as lapdog. Sexist?” (Monitor Opinion page, April 27):

The image of any woman in a man’s lap being petted and called “good girl” while he sports a snarky grin is offensive and disturbing. And, yes, it’s sexist.

The mere act of portraying her as a dog, maybe not, but the sub-sexual domination of the man with the woman in his lap is.

That you have to ask the question is even more annoying than your allowing it in the Monitor. If a black politician were portrayed by your cartoonist with a farmer dominating him with a whip and some other slavery-toned context, would it be racist? At least admit it’s sexist and move on.

Yep, we’re all grown-ups and we realize that some political satire includes racist depictions and sexist depictions.

To mask what “it is” under the guise of “is it?” lacks the backbone to just say, “Yeah it is, and we allow that in our paper.”



Marland speaks
the truth in cartoon

Once again, I cheer Monitor cartoonist Mike Marland for speaking the truth in his recent editorial cartoon depicting Sen. Kelly Ayotte as a lapdog to National Rifle Association spokesman Wayne LaPierre.

My dictionary defines lapdog as “a small, easily held dog kept as a pet.” That pretty well describes Ayotte’s relationship to the NRA. Note the definition of lapdog makes no reference to sexual behavior by the dog or by the person keeping the dog as a pet. Marland, Ayotte and LaPierre are all off the hook for sexual misbehavior, or suggesting sexual misbehavior. The Concord writer who objected went well beyond the explicit content of the cartoon.

It’s noteworthy that Ayotte was the only senator from the Northeast, regardless of political party, to vote against the bipartisan background checks legislation introduced by Sens. Joe Manchin and Pat Toomey. It is unfortunate indeed that deranged minority positions like those of the NRA get such out-size media time and space on the page.

Among the few truth-tellers we have today are the cartoonists, bless them. They are like the prophets of old, reviled by both the guilty and the greedy.



In cartoons, subtleties matter

Re “Ayotte as lapdog. Sexist?” (Monitor Opinion page, April 27):

Calling Sen. Kelly Ayotte a lapdog is no big deal. But the depiction did give me pause. The caricature’s mouth was darn close to the NRA’s business area. If the head had been on the arm of the chair with the dog lying sideways and the scratching on the dog’s back, it would have been less salacious. In my opinion, it was out of bounds.

Another example in Saturday’s paper, the “Marvin” comic strip, afforded me the opportunity to play moral police. I rarely read “Marvin” because it is not funny to me. But comics are there to appeal to all, and beginning readers and others probably enjoy the simple story lines. The Saturday comic reads “PG-2 Gross Scenes That May Be Too Intense For Viewing By Babies. Parents Tongue Wrestling.” Marvin’s parents are shown sitting upright on a sofa embracing and kissing rather chastely. He is peering at them with very wide open eyes. Wouldn’t “kissing” have sufficed?

One of my favorites, “Rose is Rose,” features smooching on a regular basis. The line is not crossed by referring to or depicting kissing as tongue wrestling.

Sometimes the subtleties do matter. In the case of Marland’s cartoon the metaphor was apt, but the end product was offensive.




Re “Sexist cartoon” (Monitor letter, April 26):

Kudos to Jonathan Cohen for such a great letter. The cartoon he was referring too is quite offensive.

Gun control is a very important issue, and things like this offensive cartoon only cause a distraction from working together to figure something positive out.


Everett, Wash.

Legacy Comments5

Keep em coming mike!

Now Van, that won't happen, birds of a feather, flock together

Marland must be slipping..no Hitler mustache on LaPierre.

Sexist-Absolutely, Creepy-Definitely, it is only funny only to Creepy, Sexist Misogynists like Marland the Misogynist. It is time to Marland the Misogynist and get someone funny that everyone can enjoy and not Marland's ilk- extremist liberals that will say and do anything for partisan political gain.

Time to fire Marland.

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