A response to Chris Foulds

The Kamloops This Week ran a political cartoon last week, it looked like this:


My good friend Duncan took exception to the picture and let his disdain be known via Twitter and the editor of the Kamloops This Week, Chris Folds responded using his editorial column Tuesday.

It was also on Tuesday that I saw Israel’s reluctance to the Iranian-American brokered nuclear deal that will, in the USA’s eyes, take Iran away from the red line. Israel was the only major hurdle against this deal.

I found this political cartoon from The Guardian newspaper and I thought it would be interesting to simply change a few words of what Foulds himself wrote and apply it to caricatures of other people, in other papers around the world.

This is purely satire folks.

You can find the original article at this link: http://www.kamloopsthisweek.com/foulds-if-you-find-this-cartoon-racist-the-problem-lies-in-your-mind/

Here we go:



If you wanted to study racism in editorial cartoons, you could do a Google search online and encounter a rich treasure trove of offensive artistry.

Some are recent (like every depiction of Muslims, have you seen how they portrayed the Prohphet, peace be upon Him) and some stretch back more than a century.

Or, you could pick up a the Nov. 25 edition of Pars Times, look at page A8, completely misinterpret the illustration by artist Mahmoud Adeli, call the editor and rail in a most nonsensical manner, then wander down to the Mosque to ask Imam to do something about a perfectly fine artistic political statement that you created as racist in a mind not quite ready for prime time.

A problematic byproduct of our ultra-sensitive society today is the ease by which serious charges, such as racism, are tossed around.

In the Nov 25 edition of PT, I ran the editorial cartoon that appears above this column.

It depicts a Jew (or Rabbi, for those who consider “infidel” to be derogatory, though I certainly do not, and I am part-infidel “which I shouldn’t even be admitting”) as being a serious hurdle standing in the way of The Great Satans proposed nuclear deal with Iran, despite the recent framework agreements reached between the foreign ministers of Iran and The Great Satan.

A reader, Shlomo Cohen, called to claim the cartoon was racist.

When I asked how he came to that conclusion, Cohen said he took issue with the fact the cartoon made it appear as though only Jews are opposed to the nuclear deal.

An odd view, to be sure.

So, I asked, the cartoon is racist in its treatment of gentiles and their objection to the Nuclear proposal?

Cohen replied that, if I could not see how it was racist, there was no point in discussing the matter.

He then proceeded to attend Mosque that day and denigrate in public this newspaper with his completely misinformed interpretation.

Cohen’s visit to mosque was tweeted on social media and, sure enough, I received via Twitter one other admonishment for publishing the editorial cartoon, this from Faisul Ebrahimi, a co-host of a university radio-station program.

We went back and forth in that 140-character universe and agreed to disagree.

At one point, Ebrahimi  asked how many Jews are employed in PT newsrooms, to which I responded: Who cares?

I hire blindly, by virtue of talent on paper, not ethnicity in blood.

When I emailed Adeli, the artist behind the editorial cartoon, he responded to his critics.

“Really? Racist towards whom?” he asked. “It’s said that to ratify the nuclear deal with The Great Satan, there will still be hurdles to get over, even though [President Barack] Obama has ‘okayed’ the deal. I’m saying there sure will be hurdles and their name is Jews.”

Hence his cartoon.

Adeli is correct. There are many others besides the Jews opposed to nuclear deal but, as Adeli noted, no other group has equal the power to stop the deal.

If there was objection to the manner in which Adeli portrayed the Jews in her cartoon, he is not buying it.

“The Jews were portrayed as some having long hair with beards — some do wear beards — and wear hats,” Adeli said.

“As an artist, I reserve the right to illustrate Jews in such a way that will make them recognizable to the casual viewer while still being respectful.

“They will not allow the nuclear deal as they say it will embolden Iran to create nukes over time! Seems a traditional depiction makes more sense than Jews in business suits.”

“The facial features are exactly the same as all the facial features in my cartoon characters —  big noses. I depicted Jews demonstrating their power by controlling all the media in the United States — a hurdle that will be difficult, if not impossible, to get over.”

In fact, Adeli added, he named the character “Stereotypical Jew” in honour of Adeli’s Jew friend, whom he always introduces as “my Jew friend.”

There are many instances of actual racist articles or cartoons being published and resulting in an apology from those who made the grievous error in judgment. Look at Dennmark?

When Cohen called last week, he demanded an apology from me for publishing the cartoon.

This week, I will be waiting for an apology, on behalf of PT, from Cohen et al for sullying the name and reputation of this newspaper based on a classic knee-jerk reaction tied to a lack of critical thinking on their behalf.

And I will pass on the mea culpa to Adeli.


I suppose I should share my thoughts.

It seemed like the editorial wanted to just point out that there are far more racist things out there to be seen aside from this innocent portrayal of Indian people. Also the inclusion of the artists perspective seemed like a strange parsing of words, “some Indians DO wear feathers, it’s not like I portrayed them as savages!!” *quotes are made up*

Then the final “one of my good friends is a Native” was enough for me.

I’m not saying the cartoon is racist, pictures speak a 1000 words.


My grandpa John William Hammond died one year ago today.

November fourth was a Sunday. I had spent hours with him on November second and third. When I was told my grandpa was put into palliative care it didn’t really connect. I knew what palliative care meant and when my aunt told me, the tone in her voice hit it home.

I was hosting my radio show when my phone buzzed, I didn’t want to check my messages until after the show but I knew.

The text from my aunt announced his passing, that he was with the family and that she loved me.

My grandpa was an enigma wrapped in a riddle. He never talked about anything personal with me, we would talk about fishing, the Kamloops Blazer’s and whatever came to our minds when I drove with him in his Ford truck. I knew from my dad that grandpa was a heavy drinker in his early days and my dad and his siblings felt the impact of that for their childhood/young adulthood.

It was and is still difficult to imagine my grandpa in that state.

I didn’t have much contact with my grandpa during the last 10 years of his life and I regret that. What I do not regret is I was able to have an honest conversation with him in the Spring of 2008. I was able to tell him how much I loved him, that I was a gay person and that I regretted not spending him with him. He told me that he loved me no matter what and that being gay is something that a person cannot choose.

I made my peace with him.

His health deteriorated a lot in 2008 and beyond.

When it came to be..that my grandpa had died on my grandma’s birthday I thought, “sheesh grandpa..”

My aunt filled in the gaps when we had a chance to speak. The family went out and bought my grandma a piece of cheesecake for her birthday and my dad was getting her flowers from the store. They sang her happy birthday and as she ate her cake, my grandpa quietly passed away.

“It was the most beautiful moment I have ever experienced,” said my cousin Rae at my grandpa’s funeral.

It seems that he waited so he could celebrate with the family and then quietly left the party.

Always a gentleman.

About a month later my grandma gave me a mix CD.

The choice of songs is exquisite and I have been trying to write something about it for a year. The perfect blend of catchy tunes stretching 50 years of music history.

The Tractors – Badly Bent
Dan Hill – Sometimes When We Touch
Little Jimmy Dickens – May The Bird of Paradise Fly Out Your Nose
Narvel Felts – Funny How Time Slips Away
Dolly Parton – I Will Always Love You
Fats Domino – Blueberry Hill
Conway Twitty – Danny Boy
kd lang – Hallelujah
BJ Thomas – Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song
Ray Charles – Georgia On My Mind
Tompal Glaser – Put Another Log On The Fire
Elvis Presley – Blue Christmas
Tony Orlando – Knock Three Times
Willie Nelson – Nothing I Can Do About That Now
Gary Fjelgard – Ten Years Old And Barefoot
Bryan Adams and Pavarotti – All For Love
Freddie Fender – Wasted Days and Wasted Nights
Kim Barnes – Betty Davis Eyes
The Platters – Smoke Gets In Your Eyes
Gordon Lightfoot – Early Morning Rain
Don Gibson – My Elusive Dreams

I used to think that my grandma made the CD for me. A year after my grandpa’s death, it feels like a valentine for him.

Love you grandpa! Sorry I brought that whoopie cushion to the house during a family dinner. Surely you must have known Di was going to put it under your seat?