cartoon in the paper yesterday which has raised the ire of the Minister for Transport. She is demanding an apology. Much of this has been made on page three of today's paper.
I don't particularly connect with the present cartoonist. His style often irritates me but, that said, the cartoon was not what most people would consider to be in the least bit offensive.
The original story which sparked the cartoon was to do with the way that the Premier of the state and some of his Ministers are spending tax payer dollars on "artworks" with which to adorn their office walls. I can think of better ways to spend taxpayer dollars at the present time, especially as the artists are not usually the beneficiaries. The paper took the same view. They criticised.
The cartoon showed a couple of people in our state art gallery looking at blank spaces with notes pinned to the wall saying the works were on loan to.... hardly offensive I would have thought even when the word "snaffled" was used.
The other day I used the word "snaffled" myself. I used it in an e-mail to someone at a site which sells left over cones of knitting yarn. I said something like "Thanks Sue, I managed to snaffle three and it should be enough to make her a cardigan". I had of course sent payment to the Sue in question so that she will send me the yarn in question.
There was absolutely no implication of theft involved but our Transport Minister has apparently decided that there was in her case and she wants an apology. The paper has now compounded the problem with an "apology" written by the flamingo which appears in the cartoons on a regular basis. I foresee more trouble ahead unless the Minister has the good sense to retreat. (She may not.)
Being made fun of in cartoons is an occupational hazard of politicians. They cannot afford to be too sensitive about such things. Comment through cartoon can be very funny but it can also border on libellous. If there is ever any doubt then of course someone at the paper will consult some over the potential for libel. It is the way things are done.
Although I cannot think of any examples I suppose contributors to the letters pages in the press may also be the subject of a cartoonist's pencil. Contributors can also be subject to criticism which borders on libel, particularly when they are deliberately misunderstood and used to make the point of the next writer. It too is an occupational hazard. If you don't want it to happen you don't write letters to the editor.
I suspect the Minister in this case may lose her seat at the coming election. She is only there now by the slimmest of margins and many do not believe she has done a good job. Her demand for an apology will not be well received by the public and the "apology" from the flamingo will outrage her even more. Whether the paper has gone too far remains to be seen but the Minister would have been wise to ignore the cartoon.