Monday, July 10, 2006

Assuming I can work out the deadline issues over several time zones, this week's "Drawing Conclusions" is going to report on an unusual situation in South Africa, where semi-disgraced leader Jacob Zuma is suing political cartoonist Zapiro for making fun of him. Zapiro is not just a big deal in South Africa but is internationally known, so Zuma is taking on a large target.

I've got regular access to Zapiro's work, but here's the deadline issue: The politically-charged comic strip "Madam & Eve" has been tweaking Zuma's nose for the past week, and I've got permission from them to use their work in this week's feature, too. The trick is going to be getting the files here on somewhat short notice. However, I think I've got things in hand, so check in Tuesday after about 4:30 pm EDT and see what I manage to put together.

In the meantime, here's a look at the face of the new South Africa: A campus gathering from about a year ago. Imagine this cheerful crowd 10 years ago! South Africa has come such a distance, and Madam & Eve really has been part of the change -- cheerfully mocking the conventions of society and the politics of power and division through the process. The huge crepe paper statue is Mother Anderson, a character from the strip. The Madam & Eve gang put this on their Web site back when it happened, and I found it irresistable.

POSTSCRIPT: The deadline issues worked out just fine. I got hold of Rico, one of the M&E gang, and we were all set. But the taste-and-sensitivity issues proved insurmountable. The problem is that the feature is, after all, directed at children. Why couldn't Jacob Zuma have been arrested for shoplifting or running a cocaine ring? By the time I cleaned up the explanation of what he had done, it was incomprehensible and still would have lit up the switchboard. Nuts. This is a good story and an important issue, but not one we're going to explain to the kiddies.


Dann said...

No guts, no glory.

They probably would have taught you a thing or two about Zuma's actions....once they figured out what they were. I estimate the time to lightbulb to be 0.86 seconds.

Mike said...

Oh, no doubt!

I used to have a Grover Cleveland cartoon in my political cartoon presentation -- showing the woman with a baby as Cleveland seeks the White House. But (as I explained to the kid) Cleveland had behaved honorably in the case. And when I talked about the place of a pregnant, unmarried woman in 19th century America, including the ads in papers for patent medicines "to regulate your period" and the number of fatalities from "illegal operations," you could hear a pin drop. Kids know this stuff.

But there's a difference between talking about it in person and putting it in the paper, in a feature aimed 'at kids.' There was no way to clean up Zuma to that point. I'd love to talk to kids about it, though, and it may come up in some presentations over the next year or so -- until it stops being "current."