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today is bitchslap ted rall day

Ted Rall is a festering sore on the face of mankind. Other than that, I cannot come up with a comment that is suitable for his latest piece of ugly comic journalism.

Not for nothing, but I've seen better comic artwork on the back of matchbook covers. I've also seen better commentary written on bathroom walls. The man is not a comic artist; he's an American loather with a couple of markers and a bloated sense of self importance.

Ok, maybe I did have a comment or two.


It is an ugly cartoon. He did something earlier with the greed of WTC surviving families that stopped me dead. In that case he was actually attacking the survivors for being tacky. I hated it.

This is nearly the opposite, though -- using the dead victims to indicate the "heroism" of political actions taken since September 11.

What he is doing here is pure Jonathan Swift: using a hideous metaphor to call attention to political hypocrisy.

With Swift ("A Modest Proposal") it was eating babies, to call attention to genocide in Ireland.

People exocriated Swift, and a few Cromwellians took him quite literally, when he wrote it. But most (I think) saw it for what it was: a savage satire against racism.

It reminds me of something I read in Michel Foucault, that social taboos are sometimes intentionally violated in times of crisis, to jar the gods.

Ritual violation of a taboo (like the tribal chief sacrificing his child) to achieve a communal good. It is death to the child, and virtual death to the chief, but the outcome may be rain and renewed life for the village.

In any event, political cartoonists seem to be about the only realm in whch we permit people to do something like this -- the way Lear put up with his Fool, who spoke the truth but in repulsive terms. Because it's really rude.

I think Ted is just a nasty, small person spreading shit on the walls to shock people and get attention.

I'd have to say I'm with Mike Finley on this one.

Sure it's ugly. It's supposed to be ugly. He wants you to notice the shit he's smearing on the wall, because he feels like he has a point and it's the most effective way to get it noticed. I think he has a point too. If it offends, it's unfortunate but a lot of folks feel that to commit heinous acts and wrap yourself in a flag to do so is pretty heinous too.

Rall's style isn't pretty to the eye, for sure...he lacks the grace of an Oliphant or Ohman or even a Tom Toles. But that's not what he's about. Again, he's trying to get attention, and his unorthodox style is another way of doing so. It does highlight what he's trying to say quite effectively. Often a deceptively crude style is necessary to illustrate deceptively crude ideas.

Guess this will get me bitchslapped, too...sigh...

Nah, I'm just in a foul and Rall was my first target today.

How about a cartoon where a dead WTC victim says "I'm proud to have died so that hack lefty cartoonists can take potshots at the government which is hunting the people who killed me?" Nah...that's just not funny.

And by the way, Michele, don't you dare back off and make apologies for yourself. You were right the first time - he's a festering pustule.

Chuck, that was pretty damn funny, in a nasty sort of way. I wish I would have thought of it.

Maybe Mahmoud Kahil has a rampant, inoperable cancer that is eating him alive and Ted Rall is now openly campaigning to get the Arab News cartooning gig?

Rall may criticize the Bush administration, but his cartoons are really expressions of the feeling the far left has towards the victims of the WTC & Pentagon attacks. It’s not just a lack of sympathy, it seems to be a deep and heartfelt loathing of the people who lost their lives, and the widows and orphans left behind.

I can’t really explain this hatred, but when a ‘progressive’ like Rall claims to be a humanitarian, you know it’s a joke. That’s why the guy is a festering sore, just a symptom of a larger disease.

That is a super low blow and is the very heart of the illness in our discourse today: taking a cartoon that is flagrantly, obviously, and incontestably, anti-corruption and saying it is really "anti-9-11 victim."

I am wishy-washy politically, having voted in my day for Dole, Ventura, and Wellstone. But an attack on our nation should be a call to transcend politics and special interests.

100% of the point of Rall's fetid joke is that special interests like Eli Lilly and the desire to remove civil service protection from federal workers -- a political desire -- have transcended the horror of 3000 American being killed by a foreign attack.

Mary, your remark is a disgrace to America and the flag we love, and to dead of 9/11,a nd to the honored American tradition of banding together in time of attack.

Words matter. Your words are uglier than Rall's nasty sarcasm because you mean what you say -- he is putting us on.

I am in such despair for us all when I read hateful anti-American remarks like yours.

Of course, you will say I am not a patriot, and the partents of autistic kids are not patriots. We know how that goes now.

It is the greatest tragedy of my life as an American, to see us devour one another on the basis of ideology in the wake of a sneak attack by the murderous likes of Al-Qaeda.

How can we win this war in which our very survival as a people is on the line, with attitudes like yours?

I would say shame on you, but I think in the present political environment that concept will only seem quaint.

What aggravates me the most about this irksome pseudo-comic is the inaccurate reference to the so-called autism-causing vaccine.

This is a recently spawned urban legend that has become the most recent banner of the holistic medicine practicioners and crystal-aromatherapy-coffee enema types who neither understand nor want to understand the basic tenents of science.


Here's the story.

I thought the latest Rall cartoon was pretty spot on. People that get so upset over a political cartoon need therapy to deal with their patriotic guilt.

Chad: "crystal-aromatherapy-coffee enema types"...I love it! Funny how people who decry every medicine & vaccine on earth will believe the lies and misrepresentations of the "holistic medicine" and "herbal remedy" industries, which are, to the best of my knowledge, 100% bullshit artists and placebo peddlers. Even if I didn't have a science background, I would be extremely leery of their ridiculous and unsubstantiated claims.

And Finley: shut your pie-hole.

Ugly as it is, I say Ted hit the nail on the head with this one. George W, John Ashcroft and Karl Rove are all three guilty of wringing political capital from the 9/11 tragedy. Bush and Rove went so far as to use 9/11 footage in campaign commercials, and Ashcroft finds 9/11 terrorists at every turn as he tries to build his own little fiefdom over in Justice.

Like Johnny B was saying, Ted Rall certainly lacks any vestige of grace But that doesn't mean his point was inaccurate. September 11, 2001 affected ALL of us, and the way it has been used to further the careers, finances, and ideology of the current administration is both repulsive and unforgivable.

Mike F.

I’m not just talking about this cartoon. I’m talking about Rall’s whole series of cartoons – like the one where Rall deliberately targeted the widows who lost their husbands in the 9/11 attacks. Rall deliberately targeted Marianne Pearl, whose husband, Daniel Pearl had been kidnapped and murdered. Why did Rall pick on Mrs. Pearl? Well, here’s the explanation, in his own words:

..in fact, it was confirmed that her husband had been murdered in Pakistan, I thought that she was — that she had been — my heart went out to her, everybody's did. And afterwards, I was, I think, like many Americans astonished that she was on television at all. -- I know myself, if I were killed, I don't think my wife would be doing — would be here on the show...

He didn’t approve of the fact that she appeared on television. That was why he expressed such contempt for a woman who had been recently widowed.

One of his cartoons also expressed contempt for the FDNY, with a strip that compared their lifestyle with that of third world dicators and predicted that they would become the “highest paid civil servants in the world” One firefighter said “It should be clear to everyone by now that Rall has sought to gain recognition on the backs of firefighters and their widows. He’s a no-talent bum.”


If you want some more evidence of the far left’s opinions about the victims of 9/11, I have plenty of quotes. There’s Karen Davis, the vegan (writing to Dr. Peter Singer, the animal rights activist who believes in euthanasia for disabled babies)

Ms. Davis said:

I think it is speciesist to think that the September 11 attack on the World Trade Center was a greater tragedy than what millions of chickens endured that day and what they endure every day...

I could refer you to the satirical piece, written in Britain’s Observer about 9/11, where they claimed that Yessss!! Was the first reaction of Britons (who later claimed to be appalled by the attacks)

Actually, the Observer and the Guardian are full of contempt. They have articles claiming that America is a bully who suffered a bloody nose, articles claiming that we were wasting our money using DNA evidence to identify the dead when we should be feeling intense guilt about what happened in Bhopal…

I almost voted for Nader in 2000. I used to like the Guardian. I used to like Rall. Things change.

I have been horrified and disgusted by the reaction of the far left to the events of 9/11 – and, in the past year, that hasn’t changed. I still have my subscription to the Village Voice, I still read Ralls comic, and everytime I open up the pages, I say, what fresh hell is this? Every time I visit the indymedia site, I say the same thing.

The contempt for the victims of terrorist attacks is still strong – it’s a fact, something you can see for your own eyes if you scroll down the pages of michele’s blog and read her post about the latest outrage in Indymedia, where some commenters are celebrating the deliberate murder of policeman.

I’m not questioning anyone’s patriotism. But I have to confess, I don’t understand this contempt, and this complete lack of compassion. If you could explain it to me, I would really appreciate it.

"Actually, the Observer and the Guardian are full of contempt. They have articles claiming that America is a bully who suffered a bloody nose". Nail on the head.
Yet another reason why I love the Guardian.

What Mary said. Every last word of it.

One cannot compare Swift and Rall and be taken in a serious manner.

"A Modest Proposal" was obvious satire, literate people got the point. Sure, there were some who had a problem with it. But Swift was never advocating the consumption of babies, he had a social point to make.

Rall, with this cartoon, isn't being entirely satirical. He's quite serious, in that he believes the legacy of the people who died on 9/11 directly supports big corporations that funded the Bush administration's desire to conquer the Middle East and take all the oil, and a whole mess of pottage.

There's a large gulf between serious satirical literature and knee jerk wankfests by single minded cartoonists with delusions of journalism.

Yeah. I'm sure Karl Rove shakes in his boots every time this insipid doodler sits down with a piece of paper.

Mike, Ted Rall was demonstrating his utter contempt for this country long before 9/11. To call his venomous horseshit some sort of Swiftian commentary on political hypocracy is to slander Johathan Swift.

We are not "devouring one another", we are concentrating on winning this damnned war. It's the Dimocrats who are engaged in "business as usual". They're the ones who want to empower their trial lawyer pals to bankrupt the pharmaceutical companies whose vaccines we will need to protect us against biological attacks. They're the ones who are more concerned with protecting their bureaucrat union puke pals than weeding out incompetent security workers. They're the ones who suggested that somehow, "we had it coming", because of our Middle East policies.

If Tom D'Asshole had taken the Homeland Security compromise that was offered before the election, federal workers would have more protection than they do now. D'Asshole decided that he'd rather have the political issue. His choice backfired, and federal workers got screwed.

Don't you dare suggest that it is somehow unpatriotic to respond to the venomous spews of a Rall, Chomsky, or McKinney by treating them with the contempt they so richly deserve. If they have a right to smear the reputations of the people entrusted with the safety of this country, other Americans surely have a right to respond in kind.

Riyadh delenda est!

mike finley, you are a hopeless, hateful lunatic. there's nothing remotely unamerican in anything that mary said, and you should be ashamed of yourself for using that kind of pointless, banal guilt trip on her, in lieu of a fair argument.

the 9/11 strip that slandered the widows of the attacks was gruesome and made rall a lot of enemies. now he turns around and uses the same victims to gain sympathy for union workers and overtaxed people? disgusting. he's already shown that he has no sympathy or respect for them or their losses, but he's happy to exploit their names for his own gain.

ted rall is a small-minded, heartless waste of oxygen who has mistaken shock value for talent.

just popping in to close the italics tag.

Obviously, Mary, you fail to understand Rall's point. It isn't that the far left to blame for the failure to prosecute those who caused 9/11. It's the Administration's failure, plain and simple.

You said: "It’s not just a lack of sympathy, it seems to be a deep and heartfelt loathing of the people who lost their lives, and the widows and orphans left behind."

bzzt, wrong answer, darlin'. Those on the left -- both near and far -- have sympathy for those who died and their families. It's the Shrub and his cronies who have made out like bandits, that deserve the smack in the head.

"I can’t really explain this hatred, but when a ‘progressive’ like Rall claims to be a humanitarian, you know it’s a joke. That’s why the guy is a festering sore, just a symptom of a larger disease. "

He tells the truth. His hatred is for this group of Mayberry Machiavellis who can't make a move without Karl Rove's clearance.

Where's bin Laden? Where's AQ? Where's Mullah Omar? Aren't THESE the people responsible for 9/11? I live in NYC and lost people I knew that day -- I want those people DEAD who caused this.

But nope, we can't find 'em, so let's bitch-slap Iraq around some and finish up what daddy couldn't do, so it looks like we're accomplishing something.

Nevermind that Afghanistan has slipped back into tribalism, with Karzai unable to travel outside of the city-state of Kabul without an armed guard of US special forces. Heck, he can't move around IN Kabul.

Funny how the Shrub didn't even WANT a Homeland Security Dept. until this Summer -- he was completely against it, until it became political. And this President, who promised to restore dignity to the White House, spends more money on polls than Clinton ever did.

Not that I expect rabid conservatives to understand this.

[Scott pulls the pin on the grenade]

Oh, and for those who think a small article on MSNBC is all that is required to refute the autism story, I suggest they go read pla.blogspot.com for a bit more information. He writes in multi-syllables, so that might confuse some folks.

[Scott tosses the grenade]

Well, first of all, I could draw better than Rall does when I was in grammar school, fer cryin'out loud...James Lileks, I think it was, said his work looks like he draws with a marker in his armpit, or something to that effect How true!.
One thing that bugs me about his work is how crude, almost ugly, all of his people look; I tend to believe that you can get some idea of what an artist thinks of the human race in general by looking at how they portray people. Looking at how Rall portrays people, I'm tempted to suspect he views most of the human race, the "great unwashed," with a certain cynicism if not contempt, not just the FDNY or those who died on 9/11.
The guy has abou as much tact as a grizzly bear who's had his winter's nap interrupted!

Scott, you don't happen to have a 20 sided die I could borrow, do ya?

Sorry - that was cheap. I'm feeling a bit under the weather. I think I need to go create a Rall.

bzzt, wrong answer, darlin'. Those on the left -- both near and far -- have sympathy for those who died and their families

ri-i-i-ight. explain to me where the sympathy lies in this, please.

Kiddies, it's beside the point how "good" or "bad" (subjective terms at best) Rall's art is. Political cartooning has never been about drawing purty pitchers.

And, like any political cartoonist worth his or her salt, Rall isn't concerned with whether he's being offensive or cruel or heartless or tasteless or any other adjective you care to name. He wants to provoke a reaction, be it negative or positive. He wants to stimulate dialogue about whatever point he's trying to make. That's his job, and while it may be stating the obvious, apparently it can't be stated enough.

Scott, sweetie, be careful lest you fall on that grenade.

Let's see, so far you've regurgitated some alliteration, complained that a country mired in authoritarian repression for decades is still having unrest, and argued that since we haven't seen a Very Special Episode of C.O.P.S where Omar and Bin Laden are hustled into a police cruiser that somehow Bush is a shameless opportunist.

And the following ad hominem post only adds to your insouciant charm.

Here's a big heaping helping of What with a side of Ever, guy.

And as for the MMR stuff - here's a different dissenting view. Of course, if you've decided that all information put forth by "big research" is tainted, you probably shouldn't waste your time.

See also here

Isn't everyone attacking the messenger (Rall) rather than the message, here? What's wrong with his point: that there were a whole lot of extraneous riders attached to the Homeland Security legislation which had nothing to do with "security" as such, but were items which in other bills would be lambasted as "pork?"

My point was more or less that Ted Rall is a festering sore. I could have linked to any number of his "cartoons" but I chose to link to the most recent.

Scott, your arguments might carry more weight if you could refrain from personally attacking those with whom you're arguing. You've already made up your mind about, well, everything, so why bother?

Mary, it's comments like yours that underscore the veracity of Rall's admittedly offensive cartoon target....a personal hatred of "the other side" and targetting it as un-American, inhuman and traitorous.

Sad. And how opportunistic.

While I agree with my namesake overall, I just want to point out that there are two Scott's posting in this mess. :)

And Mike F., well said.

Got the hint, Scott. I turned off the "must leave email" thing. I had been meaning to do it anyhow.

Jane, what is opportunistic about this? If anything, Rall is opportunistic, using the emotions surrounding 9/11 to make a name for himself.

A couple of observations about Rall's latest moronic effort:

1) I'd be curious to find out just exactly what Rall would prefer for these people's deaths to mean or to result in. He was against invading Afghanistan, he's opposed to war in Iraq, he believes the Bush administration knew about the attacks beforehand and allowed them to happen for oooiiiiiiiiiiiil!, and he generally opposes U.S. military action of any type. So what exactly is his point, here, except using images of terrorism victims to make a political point? One cannot exactly fault Bush and Rove for using 9/11 for political purposes, as Scott does, without being willing to fault Rall for the same thing.

2) To have previously slandered the families of 9/11 victims and the surviving firefighters, and then to put words in those same victims' mouths to make a political point, is beyond obscene.

3) It's interesting that, in the lower left panel, he blames the airlines and airport security for 9/11, rather than, say, the terrorists. Or the State Department's Visa Express program. Or the failure of the Clinton administration to react strongly after at least two attacks by al Qaeda during their watch. Or the Reno-era initiatives that prevented the FBI and Justice from adequately pursuing terrorists and sharing information. Or . . .

Excuse me for the Johnny-come-lateliness, but as a Shakespeare enthusiast, I cannot contain myself in the face of Mike Finley's shallow parallel to King Lear.

Regardless of the tenor of the Fool's jabs and jibes directed at Lear at any point in the play, his unshakeable love and affection for Lear is apparent throughout. In fact, it is especially stark when Lear has hit rock-bottom, as he clings to the King in the pouring rain and desperately tries to keep the man from falling apart at the seams in despair. Would any King tolerate such wiseassery from a toad like the Fool, if said wiseassery were not clearly couched in such obvious love?

Ted Rall's facile, nasty potshots, devoid of any well-meaning, cannot possibly be compared to the Fool's affectionate nose-tweaking. If, during that horrible thunderstorm, the Fool had followed the Rall model, he wouldn't have been steadfast by the King's side in his time of crisis. He'd have been sitting off to one side under an umbrella, pegging rocks at the King and screeching, "Yeah, choke on it, you fat old fuck, that'll teach you to alienate your daughters with your arrogant posturing!! Now do you see why they hate you??"

The Swift parallel has already been addressed sufficiently, so I'll end now by suggesting, Mike, that you leave the classics alone. Or at least save them for someone a little further along the satirical evolutionary chain than Ted Rall.

Scott –

That’s true. Rall was trying to make a political point. When I first viewed the cartoon, I paid more attention to the drawings than the words. I suppose that if a group of gravediggers went on strike, and they dug up a few old graves to make a political point, I would also pay more attention to the act than their message. Sometimes actions speak louder than words, especially when those actions are incoherently crude and cruel.

I share your concerns about the victims of 9/11, and the people who planned and paid for the attacks – but I just don’t share your fears about the Mayberry Machiavellis and Shrub. Rall et al seem to believe that our President is a greater threat to our country than al Qaeda is. While I certainly don’t agree with everything that Bush does, I don’t share those beliefs.

I’ve been accused of opportunism, rabid conservatism, disgracing the American flag for pointing out a very real and existing indifference within the far left towards the victims of terrorist attacks. I’ve provided numerous examples of that indifference – an emotion that seems, to me to be a form of contempt. Rall is just a symptom of this phenomenon. Two recent examples are right here, on michele’s site:

Jane, Scott, anyone – any explanations?

Charlie – LOL – that’s a great image of Rall

Seki -- yes, I've made up my own mind, as has everyone else. There's no in-between, from what I've seen, and I lay the blame squarely at the feet of the right wing pundits who spew forth lie after lie until folks begin to believe it's true.

I, for one, have grown tired of it. I refuse to be cowed by people who can only attack and belittle as a way of ensuring their power.

But then, that's me. My blog has been about all of that for quite some time (besides the normal, everyday life things I post about).

Aw c'mon! I apologized about the 20 sided die!

...and I lay the blame squarely at the feet of the right wing pundits who spew forth lie after lie until folks begin to believe it's true.

I'm sorry but that completely goes both ways. Why do you assume all the right-wing pundits are spewing nothing but lies and the left-wingers all bastions of purity and truth?

Scott, here's the problem... what you and Rall are both missing is that while polemics play well with those who already agree with you, they don't help at all when trying to convince others who don't inherently agree as to the validity of your points.

This also, btw, applies to those who think using the term 'Dimocrats' is a worthy rhetorical trick.

Was there pork on the Homeland Security Bill? Probably. This is, sadly, to be expected. But convincing people to do something to change this will require reasoned arguments, not polemical assaults and a fingers-in-your-ears attitude to challenges to your belief structures.

It wasn't funny and it wasn't meant to be - it was meant to call attention to some of the things the current US administration has been doing over the past year. Only some of these have been done in the name of homeland security, and he may have taken an unnecessarily cynical view of those that were. That said, I think he certainly has a point worth listening to.

But this is not what concerns me most - the thing I am worried about it the denunciation of the cartoonist as a person. You might not like what he says but in a liberal democracy I would think I personally would not want to call someone a 'festering sore' because I disagreed with their views. I find it perplexing that certain people - whose posts are above - wish to promote freedom of speech unless they happen to disagree with what is being said. By all means criticise the man's position, but to try to insult him into silence is surely against the very freedom you are accusing him of not respecting.

I've seen and heard enough of Ted Rall, especiall over at the Comics Journal board, to know that when I call him a festering sore, it is not based on his comics alone, but on him as a person as well.

As far as the the right wing pundits speaking lies - have you seen what some of the left wing pundits print? There never was a plane that crashed into the Pentagon...The guy in Seattle who murdered the cop was set up by the government as a ruse....I could go on for days about crap like that.

I guess it's just not in my personality to worry to much over what a no-talent hack like Ted Rall has to say. He's isn't even worth the time it would take to scrape him off my boots. (Yes, folks, I'm comparing him to doggy poo.) Let him rant and rave all he wants. He isn't worth your time or your angst.

I don't know why I'm jumping into the middle of this mess (other than the fact that at least three of my dearest blog friends are sniping at each other over a stupid cartoon), but here goes...

I don't know Rall. I don't read Rall. I'm not gonna read Rall. If the point of this blog entry was about Rall and not about this particular cartoon, then I'm done. Goto end.

Is it possible to agree with Rall's overall theme that opportunitsts in the Bush Administration, along with business interests, are making horrible use of the deaths of 9-11 by pushing through some of the most egregious affronts to working people and to civil liberties (Total Information Access, anyone?) and at the same time find Rall's attack tasteless and unhelpful in a rational debate? Or do I have to get lumped into one side of the lunatic fringe or the other, if I dare question either the motives of the right or the methods of the left?

The cartoon was a foul carrier of a pertinent message with arguable points.

Don't be mean to each other over it. Please?


Left-wing pundits are fun to read...I'm waiting for one to drop dead from sputtering rage while writing his or her column. One wonders what their response would have been if Pat Buchanan had been elected president. My guess? Mass spontaneous combustion.

Michele, I hope this doesn't get me booted off the hero list, but here goes...

Rall is an ass, with that I agree. However, I find it really hard to disagree with most of what he said. My own personal opionion is that the very name "Homeland Security" is frightening in it's implications. G.W. et al. have taken something, tragedy of the sort not seen since Pearl Harbor, and twisted it around to reduce our liberties, put huge holes in the First, Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Amendments, taken great liberties with our privacy, and reduced our abilty to use the courts.

Satire is a powerful tool. But an even more important tool is the open mind. We as a society should be prepared to defend ourselves. But my oath is to support and defend the Constitution. Just because they broke me and I am no longer active duty does not mean that I am free of that oath. Sure, Rall may be the biggest US-hater since the sixties, but that doesn't mean he is wrong in his questioning of what is going on in the name of "Homeland Security." It is our job as responsible citizens to constantly question those we grant authority over us. I always try to listen to the message in context, including the body of work of an author, but sometimes a thing just "is".

This post came about because I was going through some old Rall cartoons and essays. Perhaps linking to today's particular comic was an error in judgment, as most people here think this post was specifically about that issue.

It's not. It's about Rall in general. It's the same message I put out day after day about the far left and their tin foil theories and their America Is To Blame rhetoric.

Solonor and Bluecoyote: perfect comments. :)

I of course forgot my name there. Hah.

Mmmmmkay, for those on the left who still don't get it: Rall is an ass, despite whatever points he's allegedly trying to make (and his own statements about some of those cartoons belie the "political commentary" notion, and expose it for the small-minded wretchedness it truly is).

Think of him as the left-wing equivalent of Falwell, announcing the left-wing equivalent of "the gays and abortionists have done this to us!" in the wake of 9/11. The small grain of truth there -- that the radical Islamists do in fact hate the US because we possess and exercise our personal freedoms -- is lost, muffled by the bloated and inflamed asshole the message oozes from.

I have no respect for either one, because political discourse isn't best carried out in the sewers.

I have the perfect solution.
Send Rall and his fans to Guantanamo
for a little R&R. They need to come
out of their caves and get a tan.

Michele is without a doubt absolutely accurate in her depiction of Ted Rall.

The guy is morally depraved, emotionally bankrupt and without any redeeming qualities whatsoever.

Ted Rall is the left's equivalent of Rush Limbaugh. Just because two impotent windbags have a forum in which to spew their hatred and mentally underdeveloped brain dribbles, doesn't mean they are RIGHT.

Both approaches suck ass, even if there may be some inherent validity to their points.

You people better be nice to Michele, cause she will BITE you - and whatever is left of you, I will CONSUME.

Every day is Bitchslap Ted Rall Day.


Matt: Someone's views can't make them a festering sore?

What if their views are along the lines of "all my enemies, which include entire ethnic groups, must be tortured to death and their children raped with broken bottles" (And I mean, seriously holding such a view - and if you deny that people can hold such sorts of views seriously, I suggest you look at the history of the past century)?

If that kind of view doesn't make the person holding it a "festering sore" on humanity's metaphorical ass, what does?

Mister Rall isn't that bad, but I don't think it's entirely unplausible for a reasonable person to judge someone's character by his views and how they're presented. Those are, after all, perfectly reasonable data for someone's character, as long as we take context into account...

And when I do so, I find little to like about Mr. Rall. At the very least, his arrogance (which is sadly not matched with an equal amount of wit, insight, or artistry - arrogance may be forgiven in the brilliant far more than in the mediocre) and vicious manner are not the slightest bit endearing... at least not to those of us looking to blame Them Evil Republicans for all that's wrong in the world.

(Bush et al. "used" 9/11 to "further their careers"? Well, as President Of The United States, it's kinda his job to respond to things like that. The fact that it's furthering rather than ruining his career indicates he responded in a way that Americans like, not that he's being "opportunist".)

Sigivald: Bush is most definitely an opportunist. He used 9/11 as an opportunity to give us a gross display of his ability to do a good job leading our country. Shame on him.

As far as Rall is concerned... let's face it, he's had a rough year. He has been getting no love for his strips on war widows, firemen, and rescue workers. Maybe he just wanted to take a break and talk about some dead people who couldn't talk back for a change? MAYBE HE'S A LITTLE BIT STRESSED AND JUST WANTS EVERYONE TO LEAVE HIM ALONE SO HE CAN TAKE A SPONGE BATH AND RELAX? IS THAT SO MUCH TO ASK? If only people would just kinda go aloooong with what he's claiming the dead people are thinking (Come on, it's not so hard, the dead can't talk anyway, how do you know he's not right? Why are you still arguing? Argh, stupid dead people, this isn't working at all!), then he would finally be able to rest a little while. Just... just a little while. Just say he's right. Just say it... a little bit.


If the dead people thing doesn't work, he'll be going for 9/11 Bereaved Household Pets. Then the only person bitchslapping him would be that chick on Animal Planet who does the psychic readings, and nobody listens to her anyway. Heh heh. Stupid animals.

(And then there's still room for Widowed Plants. Eventually, he'll actually put words in the mouths -- or chloroplasts -- of a demographic that agrees with him.)

Nobody ever said the right to Free Speech was supposed be warm, fuzzy, and agreeable to everyone.

Rall is merely pushing the outer envelope of our most sacrosanct right in this country. Even if you think he's a vile prick--and sometimes even I, a fairly vile and offensive prick in my own right, think he goes to far--that only means our freedoms are real and not just silly abstracts we learn in high school Civics.

Nothing should be sacred in this country and free from ridicule, satire, or criticism. Are we that fragile as a nation that WORDS can do us such harm?

Feel free to call Rall every pejorative name in the book and denounce him loudly and proudly. But also at least admit that, despite the fact he's a vile prick, he's pushing the limits of our right to free speech way beyond what most Americans would have the courage to do.

Chad, thanks for the link on the autism-vaccine story. I swear if one more ass had brayed about the poor autistic children being run over roughshod by George Bush in the SUV Eli Lilly gave him, I was going to kick a hole in the TV (or computer, or newspaper, whatever).

How come none of these oh so compassionate schmucks ever talked about what this particular issue is really about, namely, the ability of big shot trial lawyers with stupid, pliable juries to extort massive amounts of cash from American corporations. And as these lawyer scum roll naked in their money pile, the cost of their greed is passed on to us, through higher drug prices or R&D reductions slowing medical progress. There's the story.

Tort reform now, or we are all screwed..... and this is coming from someone who plans to go to law school.

"Nobody ever said the right to Free Speech was supposed be warm, fuzzy, and agreeable to everyone."

Another thing nobody ever said is that he doesn't have the right to free speech. Free speech doesn't mean immunity from being criticized for what you say and the way you say it.

"Nothing should be sacred in this country and free from ridicule, satire, or criticism."

Including Rall.

"Are we that fragile as a nation that WORDS can do us such harm?"

If that's the case, why are you worried about the words of people who criticize him?

"Feel free to call Rall every pejorative name in the book and denounce him loudly and proudly. But also at least admit that, despite the fact he's a vile prick, he's pushing the limits of our right to free speech way beyond what most Americans would have the courage to do."

What's courageous about it? If he's courageous, then people like Coulter and Limbaugh are courageous. In other words, bullshit.

In other words:

"Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Ewin made me visualize Ted Rall taking a sponge bath.


As for Rall's right to free speech and his art and all that, all his work inspires in me is the wonder that I was apparently born without whatever colossal gall makes someone stick a magic marker in their ass, use it to scribble onto a piece of toilet paper, and hawk the results to major news chains. To think I could be rich by now.

I'll spring for a LSD and jalapeno enema for him if that'll help cheer him up.

Here's a vote for vile prick. If he wants to debate policy, etc. then he should quit scribbling and start writing. I know why he doesn't do that, though-I've read an article or two by him and, in the world of journalism the best he can aspire to is mailroom clerk.

I've stopped reading him. He's not worth my time, and never was. It just took me a while to realize that.

David, it would be a shame to waste good LSD (assuming there's still any out there) on a hack cartoonist like Rall.
And he is a hack, in the worst sense of the word. The man simply isn't capable of original thought or incisive political commentary. He's been flogging 9/11 for over a year now. It's gone beyond stale and into rancid.
In terms of political commentary, he's certainly no Walt Kelly or Oliphant or Herblock. He's not even in the same league as Toles. Heck, Lynda Barry can kick his butt any day, and she doesn't even really DO political commentary.
In terms of cartooning ability, well, let's just say I haven't seen any evidence of it yet (but then, I judge everyone against Walt Kelly and R. Crumb.)

10 years after Ted Rall is dead, no one except his closest relatives will even remember who he was or what he looked like. He is an artist with a hole in his soul the size of a cement truck and hes trying to fill it with all the misguided anger he can dredge up.

Will Ted Rall ever do anything to make the world a little better? I doubt it. Can he inspire, not really. Can Ted Rall lead and inspiree the rest of us to his idea of Utopia? no. Is Ted "funny"? sorry, I dont think so.

Is he Pathetic? you bet!

He is simply the 35 year old version of the first kid in kindergarten who finds he can get a reaction out of the teacher by saying "poo-poo" out loud. The rest of us have moved on, but Ted is still amazed.

I kinda like saying "poo-poo", actually.

But that's just because it's fun to say, not because it generates a reaction.

Try it. C'mon. You know you wanna.

Re: the alleged autism-causing vaccine. Whether you buy the allegation or not, you've got to admit that slipping the Eli Lily provision into a Homeland Security bill reeks of opportunistic political favoritism . . .


The opportunism in demonizing the left/liberals is replacing political debate with charges of "hating America", "un-americanism", "treason", "supporting terrorism" regardless of the criticism of the source of said criticism. "If you don't agree with my point of view, you hate America" is great spin, but makes for lousy policy and decisions.

Jane –

The only person who called anyone anti-American in this very long thread was Mike F., and he used that epithet against me, because I objected to the attitudes of the far left. Your response was “well said”. Would you call that opportunistic?

Did you see Michele’s posts about Indymedia cheering a cop-killer, or the Frenchman who claims that a plane never crashed into the Pentagon, that it was all a CIA plot? I thought that those were just more examples of Rall-style contempt for the victims of terrorism.

But that’s just my explanation. What’s yours?

Mary, I went back and read your original post that prompted my remark to you. And this "contempt" that the "far left" (whoever they may be....seems to be everyone from the NYT to Gore to Chomsky depending on who's using it) has for the victims just doesn't play in my opinion, and is indicative of the "left is heartless/unamerican" stuff I'm talking about.

I went to the "Missing: Last Seen at the WTC" exhibit in NOLA during the week of 9/11 and it is probably what informs my present comments as much as anything. It stripped the politics out of it...the crap about the Left and the bullshit about the Right....and it brought 9/11 back down to the personal stories of every person who died that day in a series of handmade posters that, as the exhibit pointed out, resorted to a very untechnological means of communication in this very sophisticated age.

I think lots of people are making great hay of this, not the least of which is the airline industry, the federal government, the "patriots", and the litigious families themselves in some cases.

And I think that Ted Rall, and I don't care if he's personally an asshole or not, reflects some of the cynicism, rightly or wrongly.

I don't read Indymedia, and I don't read DU or any of the other stupid sites. I think they, or the wingnut Frenchman, represent the extreme fringe and I give them the credibility they deserve.

How's that?

I would certainly hope the government is making "great hay" of it. I would be worried if they didn't.

To me the extreme fringe, the far left or right is anyone who uses or approves of using violent or brutal tactics against random passersby or Americans in general to make a political point. Indymedia & white supremacists are extreme. So are Jerry Falwell and Ted Rall. I don’t think Rall is cynical - he’s nasty and brutal. But liberal democrats like Al Gore couldn't be called extreme.

Thanks for the answer. I’d like to see the “Last Seen at the WTC” show. But, unfortunately 9/11 was a political act.

I don’t really understand what ‘making hay’ means. Does it mean trying to profit in some way from the attacks? Does it mean expressing anger about the attacks and working to prevent more of them?

As for myself, I don't think Mr. Rall's freedom of speech should be censored (though on the other hand I must confess I was glad when the NY Times pulled his tasteless slam at the WTC survivors from their net site.)

I realize political commentary often gets edgey and uncomfortably sharp, and this is especially noticable in cartoons - images can have a murch more immediate and jarring impact than words. I guess the question is when do the edginess and sharpness slid over into really bad taste?

And I still suspect, BTW, that Mr. Rall's drawing style, which makes everyone look crude and unattractive, might indicate a certain lurking cynicism about most of the rest of the human race...The reason I suspect this is that he gives EVERYONE the same treatment. Does this make any sense?

On the other hand, I did see one longer piece he did, in one of the comics commemorating 9/11, that wasn't snide or cynical at all, in spite of his style. Instead, he shared his apparently honest shock, sorrow, and confusion, as he described what he'd been doing that day...

Michelle, yes the Homeland Security legislation is one example of how they're making hay with it while the sun shines over Saudi Arabia and Pakistan and other harbourers of terrorists.

Mary, it means using an event to take care of unrelated business.

And Mary, thank you for the further comments....I was too harsh in my initial post.

"As for myself, I don't think Mr. Rall's freedom of speech should be censored"

Who said it should? Why do people keep refuting an argument nobody has made? (Well, Alan Keyes has, but nobody sane...)

"And I still suspect, BTW, that Mr. Rall's drawing style, which makes everyone look crude and unattractive, might indicate a certain lurking cynicism about most of the rest of the human race...The reason I suspect this is that he gives EVERYONE the same treatment. Does this make any sense?"

Depends on whether you think that's a stylistic choice on his part, or simply due to a lack of talent.

Jane –

I didn’t phrase the question very well – I was just wondering what actions you thought were taking advantage of 9/11.

But if you’re also deeply suspicious of Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, and think that something should be done about them, then I guess we do agree.

And about Rall - it's hard to tell if his style is a lack of talent - but judging from the way he draws arms, he never took an anatomy/life drawing class.

I guess the question is when do the edginess and sharpness slid over into really bad taste?

I think a better question is, does the First Amendment, in addition to guaranteeing us the right to free speech, also lay upon us the mandate of making sure we speak up so that enough of the "right" things are said, and enough of the "wrong" things drowned out? Taste eventually comes down to a judgment call, even if a mild one; a court of public opinion.

Personally, I don't think so (I don't have a problem with the court of public opinion, I just don't necessarily feel I need to participate in it at all times). I think my mandate is to speak with my vote, and only say something when I feel it needs saying, in the security of knowing that I'll be able to when that need comes. I think if persons wish to rant and rave, they're free to, and I won't talk back unless I damn well feel like it. I voted, and they heard that, alright.

The funny thing is, Rall seems to believe in the mandate. He seems to think that because so many people disagree with him, he has to be louder and louder with his "right thoughts" in order to drown all of them out. And the only way for him to get louder, is for him to get nastier, edgier, and more offensive.

The reason why that's funny is that if everybody believed the same as he does, there would be so many voices screaming so loudly that he would be run out of newstown on a rail in two seconds (free market of ideas, baby... some things go out of business). It's the people who don't find it necessary to scream that permit him to keep his street corner.

That's why this isn't about censorship. It's really about a rather ridiculous situation. Here we have this guy screaming at us, and most of us don't really feel like screaming back, we just want to pass on by and get to the grocery store like normal folks. What, exactly, do we do with him? Is he just a part of the scenery? Can we perhaps get a county order to plant some shrubs in his shoulders, or is it just plain bad taste to leave him there at all?

Okay, so it's 4am, and strange things are striking me as funny. But there you are.

I think of Rall as the equivalent of Mr. Hankey the Christmas poo, but without the festive costume, and in Nut n' Corn Crunch instead of Classic Brown. (If you saw this week's "South Park," you'll understand.)

It basically comes down to this: Does "having a point to make" give someone a free pass on being an asshole?

What the heck did flight 93 have to do with Eli Lily? And since when do vaccines cause autism?
And why hasn't this guy been kicked from here to Kahzakstan?

Every day, firefighters literally wade into the mouth of hell. They put themselves in peril beyond possible imagining to save the lives of total strangers.
Every day, policemen walk out the front door and put their lives at risk to protect the innocent and keep the peace. They run the risk of eating a bullet, just so that ordinary citizens can walk the streets in relative safety and go about their lives undisturbed.
Every day, paramedics wrestle hand-to-hand with Death itself for the lives of innocents. They face down geeks, freaks, drug-crazed flashback victims and hysterical people of every stripe-- and do their damnedest to keep them alive even when the immediate environment is exploding into unholy chaos.

These people aren't paid a tenth what they're worth.

On September 11, hundreds of policemen, firemen, and paramedics and thousands of their innocent charges were killed by a sadistic and cowardly attack by some of the most worthless scum on the earth.

And then some little sharpie-marker scribbling pissant hack comes along and CRAPS on their graves, mocks their families' grief, and spits on the nation that is pursuing their murderers to further his own career...
and when any and every person with a scrap of decency rises up roaring in rage at this desecration, they are expected to accept that "it was only a joke"???
That wretched, snivelling pile of festering monkey snot should be persona non grata from shore to shore in this country. He should not be able to walk out his front door without being met by a hail of stones, catcalls and fists. He should not be able to give his name without having dog shit flung at him. He should be shunned anywhere the American flag flies or where people still remember the sacrifice those men and women of 9-11 made.
And the only job he should be able to get anywhere should involve a paper hat, a spatula and the words "do you want fries with that ?"

What chaps my butt is that what I just posted would be grounds, to some people, to claim I am for "censorship." That is not censorship: it is criticism.
We all have freedom of speech; what walking piles of crotchrot like Rall have forgotten is that with that freedom comes the responsibility to accept the consequences. Having the freedom of speech does not mean you have the right to be protected from scorn for what you say. Especially when that scorn is deserved. If you have the right to say anything you please, you do not have the right to to run to your lawyer if the rest of the world tells you you're a walking pile of crap and wants neither to associate with you nor reward you-- financially or otherwise-- for your crapitude.

The curse of widows and orphans on Ted Rall and all his works.

Ted Rall rocks!

Ted Rall is a whiny little dickweed who is still re-living his high school days when he was bullied mercilessly. Would've loved to both observe and partake in the festivities...

this guy is a joke. i never heard of him before. why doesn't he go to iraq and live and see how his so called political humor would go over with his good buddy sadam.
rall and all his gore supporters and movie star friends should move to iraq and express there opions. oh thats right men and women have lost there lives to allow these idiots to be free. i think if this clown was in iraq his balls would be to small to speak out against sadam. later

I can only see the last three posters. Laura sums it up, "madd" is a moron, with a penchant for violence and a inferiority complex, and "redbeard", Rall has been to Iraq. And the freedom that those people fought for is the freedom to express whatever we choose, be it that you agree or not. You are obviously an uninformed, facist redneck. The truth is that more than half the people on this page haven't the slightest clue as to what is going on in this country, or the world for that matter. Watching CNN for two minutes just doesn't cut it. Ted Rall is an amazing jounalist, and social commentator. You can only wish to be as smart and as informed as him.

Also, to anyone referring to "those that died" on this page...

First, name two that YOU KNEW PERSONALLY. Then, name two significant dates in two significant wars. Honor system, off the top of your head. Then, just for kicks, name the capitals of any three Arab nations.


I didn't think so.

One more thing...I almost forgot, I meant to tell "definitly madd" that inspite of his derilict need to think he can beat up anyone and everyone in the world, and has the right to do so, he is probably a pussy.

Being a pussy myself, I know one when I see one.

Cody, you're setting a standard for legitimacy of opinion regarding the WTC that is silly on the face of it. Why would you have to know TWO victims? Why, in fact, is personally knowing ANY of the people who died relevant to a person being entitled to object to a vile act of terrorism committed against his or her fellow citizens?

As regards the rest of your "challenge", I'll take you up on it. Significant dates and wars:

Early October, 732. Battle of Tours. Decisive defeat of Abd er-Rahman by Charles Martel turns tide of Moslem expansion into Europe.

May 29-30, 1453. Fall of Constantinople to Ottoman Turks. Followed by 3 days of pillage.

June 28, 1914. Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, immediate cause of WWI.

September 5-10, 1914. Battle of the Marne, ditto.

June 22, 1941. German invasion of Soviet Union, WWII.

December 7, 1941. Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, ditto.

June 4, 1942. Crushing Japanese defeat at Battle of Midway, double ditto.

Capitals of Arab nations:

Jordan: Amman
Syria: Damascus
Iraq: um, Baghdad
Saudi Arabia: Riyadh
Sultanate of Oman: Muscat

OK, so now what did we just prove? Anything?

Let's see here. . . .

July 4, 1863 - Vicksburg surrenders (Civil War)

November 11, 1918 - Armistice Signed (World War I)

May 23, 1618 - Defenestration of Prague (Thirty Years' War begins)

October 24, 1648 - Treaty of Westphalia signed (Thirty Years' War ends)

Iran - Tehran
Egypt - Cairo
Lebanon - Beruit
Abu Dhabi - UAE (from reading Garfield)

And you don't deserve to be in the same thread as the 9-11 victims' names, Cody.

If you think Ted Rall is a 'journalist and social commentator' instead of a tired, juvenile hack, you're far too stupid to ask for any kind of intelligence test.

Now go fuck yourself.

Oooh, ooh. I'd forgotten the Defenestration of Prague. Ouch, that's gotta hurt.

Well said, SparcVark.

You have to feel sorry for people like this. He will do or say anything that is anti-American,or anti-Bush. All in an effort to call attention to himself. All because he has nothing inteligent or interesting to say otherwise. And it's much eazier to bash then to contribute.

This is why I consider it a waste of my time to follow the thread and read all the posts:
after 15 minutes of my time and seeing that it is, for the most part, true that 90% can't differentiate from making a point and making an ass out of oneself. Plus the broad swipes that frequently include more personal and often four letter insults. I feel like I need a shower now. This is the 1st and last time I'll waste my time at this spot. I think everyone should get a life.

Ted Rall was born in 1963, and could very possibly have been a thalidomide baby, only it was his brain, not his limbs, that were severely and grotesquely malformed.

He desperately needs to be heavily medicated and institutionalized for the rest of his life. Sharp objects like pens and pencils must be kept from this microencephalic miscreant.

I had the quite unpleasant misfortune of seeing this lisping, mincing bowl of seedless semen on HBO's "Bill Maher Vents His Cancerous Spleen... Again" show, and puked up my Cheet-os and Colt .45. What a waste of fine food.

I'm baaaack!

Hey Cody, you ARE a pussy. Quit watching ABC's "The View" and the Oxygen channel to get your news.
And the word is spelled D-E-R-E-L-I-C-T, not 'derilict.' More typo corrections if you want them, you pussy.

Read Ted Rall's inspiring memoir "My War With Brian" to get an insight into your "brilliant" hero's inability to get on with his life after nearly beating his "bully" to death in high school. Whatta stud!

Hey man, you spelled 'definitely' wrong!
No shit, just Google 'definately' and you'll get a million hits! HA!