by Daryl Cagle
April 26, 2005
Mixing the words "rat" and "Nazi," the British tabloid "The Sun" dubbed the new pope "Papa Ratzi" in a banner headline. American newspapers are more polite to the conservative pontiff, criticizing him in editorials but avoiding Nazi metaphors. Growing up in Germany in the 1930's, Ratzinger was compelled to join the Hitler Youth and the German Wehrmacht. As a defender of conservative church doctrine, he was labeled as Pope John Paul II's "rottweiler." Cartoonists have seized on these images, portraying the pope as a snarling dog, and putting him in the role of the Fuhrer, reviewing troops of goose-stepping sheep or Cardinals.
©Daryl Cagle, Slate.com
The recent cartoons criticizing
the new pontiff come from cartoonists who don't like his conservative
views. Australian cartoonist Paul Zanetti depicts the pope saying,
"Forward to the future" as he leads his sheep down
a hole labeled "the past." Canadian cartoonist
I drew a breathless television reporter, with her finger on her ear-piece, delivering the breaking news from Rome: "...WAIT ... I'm now being told that Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the new pope, is NOT ... repeat NOT called a 'German Shepherd,' he's a 'Rottweiler'. He WAS in the Hitler Youth, but he did NOT, repeat NOT, play Cliff the mailman on 'Cheers.'"
Foreign cartoons are always more harsh than those from America. Brazilian cartoonist Lailson de Hollanda shows an evil-looking pope at the window, with a crowd chanting "Heil Pope! Heil Pope!" Slovakian cartoonist Martin Sutovek shows the pontiff wearing blinders, like a race horse. Brazilian cartoonist Simanca draws the pope as a shark, about to chew up little fish labeled "homosexuals."
Cartoonists are bomb-throwers.
If this column runs with no cartoons, I'm sure there is nothing
to worry about. If this column runs with sample cartoons, I know
that somewhere, an editor is hiding under his desk.
Daryl Cagle is the political cartoonist for Slate.com, the opinion site of The Washington Post. He is a past president of the National Cartoonists Society and his cartoons are syndicated to over eight hundred newspapers, including this publication you are reading.