Open Thread: Of Monkeys, Cartoons, and Stimulus Packages

by Latoya Peterson

What’s your first response to this picture?

Over at Gawker, where Hamilton Nolan posted the image and an update, there has been some conjecture as to what the cartoonist meant to convey.

They brought up a news hook where there was a trained/pet monkey shot by the police after attacking a woman in California in Connecticut on Friday.

Others ventured it was a rift on the old monkeys/typewriters/Shakespeare joke.

Now that you’ve seen the comic, with and without some additional context:

1. What was your first thought?

2. Did it change based on the context?

3. Does a cartoonist have a responsibility to clarify failed jokes?

Update: If a cartoonist has a record of using bigoted imagery or racist/sexist/homophobic jokes, does it change the context of these jokes?

(Thanks to Kimberly for the tip; RJG and Baiskeli for the update.)

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Racialicious is a blog about the intersection of race and pop culture. Check out our daily updates on the latest celebrity gaffes, our no-holds-barred critique of questionable media representations, and of course, the inevitable Keanu Reeves John Cho newsflashes.

Latoya Peterson (DC) is the Owner and Editor (not the Founder!) of Racialicious, Arturo GarcĂ­a (San Diego) is the Managing Editor, Andrea Plaid (NYC) is the Associate Editor. You can email us at

The founders of Racialicious are Carmen Sognonvi and Jen Chau. They are no longer with the blog. Carmen now runs Urban Martial Arts with her husband and blogs about local business. Jen can still be found at Swirl or on her personal blog. Please do not send them emails here, they are no longer affiliated with this blog.

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