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analyzing rall's comic

Obviously many people are confused about Rall's comic. Everyone is deciphering it differently and I'm getting angry emails as well as emails asking me to clarify the statement of the strip for them. Frankly, I'm a bit confused myself after seeing all the varying takes on it.

What do you think he's saying?

[click for bigger image]


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» I can't even begin to imagine what sort of sick message this is supposed to be sending from The People's Republic of Seabrook
...other than "I'm Ted Rall, and I'm an insensitive wacko jackass"....... [Read More]


He's saying, "I'm an a__hole"!

That's the message of all his strips, isn't it?

i think he's sayng that we're being too lenient with the saudis, when they made up the majority of the bombers. but just because he got one thing right doesn't make him any less of an asshole.

He probably thinks he's saying that even in the face of an on-coming plane and theories that the Saudis have been involved all along, the most important thing is that the US remains friends with any middle-eastern country it can, even if they are sticking domestic terrorism right up your ass.

What he's actually saying is "I'm an asshat who doesn't mind spitting on the memories of the dead to make a political point"

I'm still sticking with "It's more important to appease the Saudi's than to protect the US."

Or maybe it's "we let them destroy the World Trade Center because we think they're important"

I'm not familiar with Mr. Rall's work, so I don't have the preconceptions that some of y'all have.

The cartoon seems pretty obvious to me: the Bush Administration is valuing its relations with the Saudis higher than the lives of its own citizens. There's about, oh, 28 pages of evidence to support that position.

"i'm getting paid to talk out of my ass"

but then, that's just what i think he says with EVERY cartoon he draws and editorial he writes.

What he's saying is, "I'm still stealing oxygen to which I haven't been entitled for years, if ever."

Yes, tasteless, but in his twisted way TR is honoring the WTC victims. He feels that what he sees as our government's refusal to deal directly and openly with SA concerning not only 9/11 but their long-standing support of the Islamofascist agenda is a grave disrespect to the memory of those who suffered at the hands of the SA government's policies and tacit approval. Just as Rush Limbaugh uses the phrase "illustrating absurdity with absurdity", TR is saying the statement made in the strip is just as absurd as us not directly dealing with SA in the light of what happened.

(Bet that's the first time anyone connected TR and RL!)

I think the cartoon makes a valid point and surprised to see something this witty from Rall.

I think it is saying "US friendship with the Saudis is more important than 3000 American lives."

Why is that so hard to see?

Well, it's probably a shot at both the business community (ie the oil industry since the person speaking is in one of the towers) and the Bush administration, considering the Saudi government has been known to fund terrorists, and the fact that what, 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudis?

There were probably more subtle ways to make that point, but Ted Rall isn't exactly one for subtle messages.

To be honest, ambiguous cartoons like this are good at one thing: allowing people to read whatever views into them that they'd like some ascribe some sort of despicable malice to Rall, some think he's making poignant (if tasteless commentary) -- it seems to me that a lot of the interpretations are little more than projections of either anticipated feelings toward Rall or feelings toward the administration...

I'd be surprised if TED RALL even knew what Ted Rall was saying. Except that Bush = Hitler, of course.

I am really not good with politics. But have you notice how the text ballon comes from the building? Someone in the building is talking just a second before the second jet hits. They are hoping that the Saudies will not get angry because Americans are going to die. Why? maybe because we're going to reteliate? And the attack would be, as hard as we try it not to seem that way, against the Muslims in genral? The Saudies have the best relationship with America among all other Muslim countries, no? So the terrorists are going to get pissed beacuse they need the Amricans.
The biggest question here that confuses me is why the American victims are saying this? Why not the terrorists, it would make more sese that way.

anyway, it was nice to think about this.
hm, what did I just say?!

Shay said:

"I am really not good with politics. But have you notice how the text ballon comes from the building?"

I noticed it, and was wondering if it was intentional. Being controversial and somehow confusing always provokes reactions.

He's saying "Let's hope this doesn' mess up our relationship with the Saudis."

Are you people having a hard time reading the bubble?

Okay, it seems that he is saying that our dealings with the rest of the world is overlooking the plague of terrorism. We are too worried about protecting "friends" and creating new "enemies" when we (the world) should be going after terrorist no matter where they are.

To me the image suggests that only at gunpoint or in this case the nose of a plane and the inevitable collapse of the WTC is the US government forced to admit that there is a fundamental problem (pun intended) in its relationship with the house of Saud.

Like Ted Rall would back a smack-down of Saudi Arabia?

I think it says that "protecting Bush Saudi relations is more important than protecting americans", that's how I read it at least.

A more effective version, slightly less offensive, would point the bubble at the cockpit.

The way it reads now, with the bubble from the tower can be read at least two different ways - 'honest' Ted Rall speaking satirically for the dead, or... you figure it out. Some things ought not to be spoken.

How is the cartoon ambiguous? The meaning is pretty clear to me.

As Dave said, Rall is "illustrating absurdity with absurdity". He's highlighting the absurdity of the Bush administration's (apparent) belief that being friends with the Saudis is more important than preventing terrorism by putting the words into the mouth of a WTC victim.

Shocking? That's his intention. Tasteless? Maybe. Unclear? Not at all.

And I don't get how pointing the bubble at the cockpit would make any sense whatsoever.

I don't see anything particularly offensive about this one -- it just says "hey, a bunch of people getting killed is okay, as long as we don't lose the Saudis as our buddies." It's just pointing out how stupid it is that the U.S. continues to stand behind the Saudis and cover for them when they've obviously done us so much harm.

The person speaking is in the tower--thus, he is most likely a business person, not a politician. This seems to be a shot at business people, saying that they value money/oil more than they do their own lives.

But why try to decode somebody like Rall? I'd rather spend time trying to figure out what my dogs are trying to say....

Clearly it is the hijackers making the comment; They hope this will not stop the Saudis from providing them, the hijackers, with endless and abundant funding even though the hijackers have implicated the Saudis in the WTC attack. DOH! Why can't anyone see that? It is as plain as the nose on their face!

i don't mean to spit in anyone's eye, and i do not generally enjoy rall; however, he makes a powerful point and brings the discussion about our relationship with the saudis to its lowest common denominator. as a cartoonist with one panel at his disposal, this is a commendable effort.

I suppose it's meant as a jab at Bush and the business community in general. However, since every President I can remember has dealt with the Saudis, castigating Dubya for doing the same thing seems somewhat unfair.

The Saudis do support and appease terrorists. They've been doing so for a long time, in an effort to divert attention from their own sorry regime. The US Government has been well aware that they've been doing it for a long time. We allowed them to get away with it because they were ostensibly one of our few "friends" in the region, they scratch our back from time to time, and the terrorists weren't directly impacting the US.

Obviously, that circumstance changed on 9/11/01. However, even if Bush wasn't in bed with the oil companies he would probably still be working with the Saudis because our practical alternatives are limited. The Saudis are corrupt and do not deserve our support, but if we were to divorce ourselves from them now, with Afghanistan and Iraq already in turmoil, the potential would exist for the entire region to descend into chaos and mayhem.

If we really are serious about encouraging democracy in that part of the world, we will have to start pushing the Saudis hard toward democratic reforms. As much as I detest the Saudis, though, for now I think we'd better concentrate most of our energy on getting solid civil societies esablished in Afghanistan and Iraq. It sounds like we're basically letting the warlords have their way in Afghanistan, which is not an encouraging sign. If we fail in Afghanistan and/or Iraq, what we do with the Saudis probably won't matter.

What he's actually saying is "I'm an asshat who doesn't mind spitting on the memories of the dead to make a political point"

why would he stop now?

Reminds me of the story of the father and son looking at the WTC memorial in the year 2035...

Oh, I agree with the cartoon all right. It's just that since 9/11 Rall has been at the forefront of the self-blaming Kumbaya singers. It was all our fault for being big and rich and imperialistic n stuff. And NOW, all of a sudden, he's on board with "It was really their fault after all"?

Nuh-uh. He's not saying it was the Muslim/Arab wacko Saudis' fault; he's saying it was the Bush's oil friends Saudis' fault. See, it's easy to compartmentalize that way. It was the oil sheiks' fault---they paid people to do this and Bush is sheltering them. But it lets the Little Brown People as a whole off the hook.

I realize that this is a lot to infer from one cartoon, but the only other explanation is that someone has whacked Ted with the Mother of All Clue Bats. I'm fairly sure we would have noticed that. There'd have been some sort of seismic disturbance.

Like Ted Rall would back a smack-down of Saudi Arabia?

Good point, Hoodie!!! Nice about face there, Ted. Imagine if we actually took action against Saudia Arabia. As if Ted wouldn't ascribe that to Bush and his oil buddies trying to take over Saudi oil, too.

His crap is tiring and opportunistic. It's all a shell game. So long as he can point his finger at yet another perceived Bush failure, he figures we'll forget how pathetic his tired rant on Afganistan, then the Iraqi quagmire, then the missing WMD, and then the "bring the troops home" mantra has become.

Is it possibly a poignant point ? Maybe. But as long as Ted Rall is involved in it, what jumps to my mind is, even a blind squirel finds a nut once in a while.

He's saying that "we" (Bush, capitalists, jews, americans, undocumented dishwashers, etc.) "arranged" 9-11, and that we were worried about implicating the Saudis. Hence the redacted 9-11 report, and so on. Obvious to me.

Building go boom. Bush bad.

"Let's hope this doesn't mess up our relationship with the Saudis" is an absurd thing for someone inside the WTC to be saying. That's the point of the cartoon: "clearly, the situation has moved beyond these concerns."

It's not inconsistent for someone who opposed the Iraq war to suggest confronting the situation with the Saudis. If the Saudis were really involved - and who knows what's in the 28 pages - suggesting that we should deal with that before we start attacking third parties isn't really that unreasonable a position, is it? And it doesn't necessarily mean we should attack Saudi Arabia and impose unilateral regime change - it just means, you know, deal with it instead of covering it up and blaming everything on Saddam.

Of course, there are realities - you can't just casually torpedo the US-Saudi relationship. But, I mean, you can't just casually torpedo Manhattan, either.

Speaking of which, I don't get people saying "OK, I see his point, but does he have to exploit 9-11 like that?" His point is about 9-11. It can't be separated. What's he supposed to draw, the Oklahoma City Federal Building?

"Jeff" ... has the answer .....

"He's saying that "we" (Bush, capitalists, jews, americans, undocumented dishwashers, etc.) "arranged" 9-11, and that we were worried about implicating the Saudis. Hence the redacted 9-11 report, and so on. Obvious to me."