The Raving Theist

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Matter of Interpretation

November 1, 2005 | 16 Comments

It’s the worst Rosa Parks cartoon ever says Brittney Gilbert of Nashville is Talking, the blog of W-KRN-TV (News 2) in Music City. “Tasteless” and “bizarre,” adds Evariste of Discarded Lies:

ParksJesusFinal.gif

Brittney doesn’t say where she found it, and Evariste got it via Brittney, so there’s only speculation regarding the motives and intent of the original cartoonist. Evariste opines:

I think it’s supposed to be a sweet tribute, that poor Rosa kept fighting her fight till she died and finally got to stop and come to Jesus, but it’s not even accurate. Rosa Parks on the bus was a seminal moment for America, but she went back to a quiet life after that, and America changed. I’m sure the cartoonist meant well, but this just leaves my jaw on the floor.

Brittney herself adds nothing to her characterization of the work as “worst,” but one of her readers offers this defense:

I don’t really see the problem with it. To me, it just shows her commitment to the struggle that she would still be holding on to that seat even in death. The outstretched arms of Jesus are uplifting showing her that she doesn’t have to fight anymore now that she’s with him. She then makes the funny little quip. I quite like it actually.

Speaking for myself, I included the panel as part of my obituary cartoon round-up on Parks simply because it fit the motif of the rest of the entries — Rosa goes to White Heaven, run by and for Caucasians. I don’t see how its stands out as significantly different from the others, all of which depict the pearly gatekeepers and bus drivers as white men. Rosa’s crack seems to make the theme more explicit, perhaps; but then again, as the commenters point out, it could be argued that the true message is that, as Rosa apparently concedes, a person’s seat-worthiness should be measured by the content of his character rather than the color of his skin. Rosa’s offer to Christ might also be viewed as more patronizing than servile — if all those drivers are going to presume to announce that they’ll permit” her to sit anywhere on an empty bus, she’s entitled to do the same.

But we’ll never know what was truly meant by it. For all we know, the author might have been some atheist trying to prove that all it takes to make people take an idiotic cartoon about corpse in a flying bus seriously is a little bit of Jesus.

Comments

16 Responses to “Matter of Interpretation”

  1. zombiedeathkoala
    November 1st, 2005 @ 7:16 am

    My reaction to that cartoon was simply to scream at my monitor, “JESUS WASN’T CAUCASIAN, YOU DINGBATS! JESUS WAS ONE OF THOSE SCARY BROWN PEOPLE, YOU KNOW, THE ONES WHO YOU DON’T FEEL COMFORTABLE SITTING NEXT TO ON THE TRAIN BECAUSE YOU THINK THEY’LL LOOT YOUR SILLY SUBURBAN ASS. GET WITH IT.”

  2. Dada Saves
    November 1st, 2005 @ 7:54 am

    It makes sense. People who take imaginary friends into adulthood would have a hard time discerning parody from serious intent.

  3. JUST_ANOTHER_PRIMATE
    November 1st, 2005 @ 8:19 am

    I don’t see what is shocking about it. It’s not quite as shocking (or funny – depending on your perspective) as the one where jesus is comforting a young boy with the boy’s head in “jesus’ lap” … (in the vain of “how a Roman Catholic priest would console a young boy”) …

  4. MBains
    November 1st, 2005 @ 9:35 am

    For all we know, the author might have been some atheist trying to prove that all it takes to make people take an idiotic cartoon about corpse in a flying bus seriously is a little bit of Jesus.

    Ding Ding Ding!!!

    We have a Winner!

    (but all ya “won” is a nice jewish boy to drive you to work in the mornin’…)

  5. Mister Swill
    November 1st, 2005 @ 2:34 pm

    Wow. This is the funniest thing I’ve read all day. Did these people even attempt to figure out who the cartoonist was? And then notice a suspicious lack of signature? And then sort of notice that it’s an unabashed bad cut-and-paste job?

    Sheesh.

  6. Choobus
    November 1st, 2005 @ 3:32 pm

    Well, I’m sure those nice young prussian blue chicks will be glad to know that Honky Heaven awaits them, and that Rosa herself is white there too. That seems like an ironic reward for her though.

  7. Johnny Huh?
    November 1st, 2005 @ 5:12 pm

    I like how people think Jesus was white and had blue eyes. Or maybe its a really sly joke on Rosa’s eyes?

  8. cumdrinker
    November 1st, 2005 @ 8:17 pm

    when I’m dead I’m going to walk around with my name and date of birth/death on a fucking bag.
    This cartoon is offensive, not because of the content but the quality. It is fucking shit. You could lock me in a fully loaded up portable toilet with a notepad, tip it down a hill and I would still draw a better cartoon, albeit it one that was literally shit.

  9. AK
    November 1st, 2005 @ 9:07 pm

    Clearly, this cartoon got more people minds thinking, and provoked bigger emotional reactions, than any of the other cartoons. And a big part of its offensiveness the accuracy it presents in its take of western social popular belief. It imagines a white Jesus with Rosa submitting to Him as demanded by God. Yes yes we all know Jesus wasnt “white” (actually he never existed) but as popular Christian society, including the black Christian society, portrays Him as white, then he might as well have been white. This is a modern cartoon describing modern social situations.

    What offends people the most about this cartoon, I think, is that it is an accurate and logical portrayal of the conclusions/consequences of Rosa Parks story when reconciled with popular Christian superstitious beliefs. In other words, Rosa Parks would have to betray her history in order to satisfy the requirements for Christian salvation.

  10. Jason Malloy
    November 1st, 2005 @ 9:38 pm

    Jesus was black, Reagan was the devil, and the government is lying about 9/11. Thank you.

    I know the meaning of ‘white’ is very fluid in North and South America, but it was never ‘blonde hair and blue eyes’, if only because even in northwest Europe a majority of people don’t even have these traits! In pre-1950s America, southern European, Semitic, and Lebanese people from the circum-Mediterranean region were considered ‘white’ if assimilated, and though I don’t know the details, it is highly probable this would be the case even in the old deep south. In other words people of the stock and region of this alleged Jesus person would certainly not be considered “black” (as in a physical anthropology type originating south of the Sahara), they were a Caucasian people much like the people who inhabit the region today. Socially they would not be considered ‘black’ either today or pre-1950s by most black and white Americans. They were and are considered ‘white’. None of this means or has to mean Nordic Jesus is anything but laughable.

  11. onetwothree
    November 2nd, 2005 @ 12:36 am

    Oh, right. After her death she becomes Jesus’ fellow traveller.

  12. Unpartisan.com Political News and Blog Aggregator
    November 2nd, 2005 @ 9:29 am

    Thousands to Honor Rosa Parks at Funeral

    Thousands of people prepared to honor Rosa Parks at her funeral Wednesday, after at least 60,000 pai

  13. benjamin
    November 2nd, 2005 @ 9:44 am

    Rosa Parks would have to betray her history in order to satisfy the requirements for Christian salvation.
    I have always wondered why slaves converted to the religion of their masters, and why their descendents continue to embrace it. I can’t picture myself doing that, if put in the same situation. I would pretend, if it kept me from being whipped. But at the first opportunity, I would want my family to abandon that religion.

  14. Anonymous
    November 3rd, 2005 @ 5:17 am

    benjamin, I’m afraid the reason is that most people are dopes who believe what they’re told as little children throughout their whole lives. It only takes one generation of liars/believers to convince every generation that comes after.

  15. Cure4Pain
    November 8th, 2005 @ 10:36 am

    If you look at the text in the dialogue bubble anyone with even minimal Photoshop experience can tell that the dialogue was changed. It doesn’t match the rest of the pitch and pixelation of the rest of the cartoon. This is sad.

  16. ron
    November 11th, 2005 @ 4:31 pm

    the rosa parks part of the bad photoshop job was taken from a mike lester comic that can be seen at the top of this page – http://cagle.com/news/RosaParks/1.asp

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