Thursday, 4 October 2007

polka dots or not.

O n Tuesday I showed a cd cover that, unbeknownst to me at the time, has been attracting some controversy. See here and here as to how and why the image is racist. I would not presume to interfere with anyone's right to take offence, but while modern caricatures are unusual on classical era music, they are not completely unknown. I showed a cd cover by cartoonist Bill Leak back in June, depicting Mozart seated upon the toilet, and while I didn't think it relevant to say so at the time, I'm not too keen on that one either. Perhaps there is something of a Victorian streak in me. I am more attracted to a cartoonist of the calibre of Jerry Robinson, whom I quoted here yesterday on an unrelated topic:

Robinson often draws in an angular humorous style as in the 1992 cartoon above. Then in this attractive illustration of the young Mozart which I scanned from the Robinson interview in the Comics Journal #271, the artist has taken the trouble, unlike the fellow in the controversial cartoon, to know how a violin is held by its owner, and gives us a nicely observed drawing of a young lad in 18th century period costume. My dislike of the other images mentioned above is due entirely to a problem we find with many cartoonists. They have only one way of doing things.



Blogger drjon said...

The gist of that Zick fellow's racism argument seems to rely on polkadot being a "minstral" or "clown" pattern.

Not sure how far back the association with clowns goes, but I'm pretty sure the polkadots associated with clowns have always been big polkadots.

As for an association with minstrals, I can't say myself I'm aware of one, and a quick google turned up naught.

What that illo looks like the most to me, in fact, is a pyjama top!

Reading between the lines of Mr Zick's deconstruction of the letter-in-defence from the record company, however, I do note that he seems to be very unhappy with the Author, and I rather suspect he's actually unhappy for some other unspoken reason, and using a manufactured concern as a cover.

It's not the best comic image in the world, either, but I'm not sure it deserves the ragging it's being given over there...

(no offense meant and none should be taken, all opinions my own blah blah, I am a well-known idiot blah blah, etc...)

4 October 2007 at 04:08:00 GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

polka-dots are racist?


Maybe that author has a trauma and had to wear polkadot shirts to school and was bullied by big burly mistrals of african persuasion.

I really cannot find another logical reason over this cover.

(that statement would make for a nice funny t-shirt, though)

4 October 2007 at 04:37:00 GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I could be wrong, but I'm pretty certain that illo of the young Mozart is taken from a photo of a statue of same. I used a photo of said statue on a design job years would account for Robinson's knowing how to hold a violin and depict period costume(it's a very nice drawing just the same).

I doubt Bill Leak had any photos of Mozart on the loo to refer to.

4 October 2007 at 06:15:00 GMT-5  
Blogger Eddie Campbell said...

4 October 2007 at 06:27:00 GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Saint-George was a handsome and dashing mulatto (I hope the term isn't deemed racist: he had a black mother and a white father, is all I mean) who cut quite a dashing figure at court and dazzled the ladies. In that context, I fail to see how caricaturing him as a handsome negro serenading a bushel of excited damsels is racist.

Yeah, the drawing look a bit dashed off (he is capable of much better, but I suppose a lifetime of doing fast cartoons for various satirical papers may have skewed his style toward haste) and the chosen colours are rather garish. But Cabu is a black & white (absolutely no pun intended) cartoonist, and colour is definitely not his strong suit. I still fail to see any racist intend in this caricature.

You should see his caricatures of French white politicos.

4 October 2007 at 17:52:00 GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yeah... i cant see it.

people like over reacting...

6 October 2007 at 00:30:00 GMT-5  
Blogger William J. Zick said...

Hello Eddie,
I am delighted to hear of your stack of Saint-Georges CDs! We need more classical music fans who are open to great music by Saint-Georges and other composers of color. Your posts have brought hundreds of visitors to my blog! Please see my blog for a comment on Minstrelsy:
Best wishes,
Bill Zick

7 October 2007 at 14:21:00 GMT-5  
Blogger William J. Zick said...

Hello Eddie,

The beat goes on! As of the evening of Oct. 8, "The Fate of the Artist" has referred 14 of the most recent 100 visitors to the AfriClassical blog. I have added your blog to my list of Favorite Blogs, and I have been reading it frequently.

Best wishes,
Bill Zick

8 October 2007 at 19:27:00 GMT-5  

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