Buffalo Willard

Buffalo Willard

The second Presidential debate occurred on Tuesday of this past week. In strong contrast to the first, President Obama utterly thrashed his challenger; or, in the words of conservative media, it was “a tie, or perhaps a slight Romney victory.”

While a big part of Obama’s success this time around could be attributed to a much more energetic effort on his part, another important element was Romney’s attempts to set poorly-concealed rhetorical traps which then backfired, like Yosemite Sam trying to trick Bugs Bunny into blowing himself up with an explosives-rigged piano.

Another element of Romney’s demise, and certainly one of the most memorable individual moments of the debate, came from him once again saying something which sounds vaguely like it came from the journal of a serial killer. The phrase “binders full of women” echoed loudly across the web as soon as it tumbled from the candidate’s mouth, resulting in Twitter accounts, hashtags, and a Facebook Page with over 100,000 likes before the debate was even over.

That’s what this cartoon refers to, quoting a well-known scene from The Silence of the Lambs. I felt the murderer Buffalo Bill’s flaying of his female victims in order to wear their skin might be a good (if very exaggerated) metaphor for Romney’s recent attempts to make gains with women voters, because his appeals to that demographic are only skin-deep: The policies of his party, and his selection of Paul Ryan as running-mate make it abundantly clear that he doesn’t really care about doing anything for women to whom he isn’t married; and since his own personal policies on subjects ranging from abortion to equal pay in the workplace are ambiguous at best, he’d more than likely be a threat to women’s rights by functioning as a mindless rubber-stamp for the Party of Trans-Vaginal Ultrasounds, no matter how far to the fringe it decides to tack during the next four years.

The metaphor also applies to Romney’s business record, since “flay” can refer to the act of “depriving or stripping of money or property,” according to Dictionary.com. I find this to be a fitting description of what Bain Capital did to struggling companies under his leadership.

But I think the focus on gender-related issues is vital, because I found Romney’s attitude, and insistence of getting the first and last word on every subject during both debates very off-putting. It called the techniques of Pick-Up Artistry to mind, techniques such as “negging.”

As a female friend of mine said, “His performance reminded me of every asshole who’s tried to pick me up at a party by ‘dominating’ the conversation… basically talking over everyone else so you can see how damn witty and alpha-male he is.”

I couldn’t understand why so many people ate it up during the first debate, so before Joe Biden mopped the floor with Paul Ryan last week, I toyed with the idea of a cartoon comparing Romney to Gaston from Disney’s Beauty & the Beast–a selfish, stupid, violent loudmouth whose obnoxiousness is inexplicably celebrated by the community and lusted over by brainless “Bimbettes,” even as he openly plots to “persecute” the elderly and feeble-minded so as to force someone to marry him, whether she likes it or not!

How could people be fooled by such transparent arrogance and dishonesty? Surely women should’ve reacted in the same manner as my friend?? But no, polls after the debate showed Romney narrowing (and in some cases winning!) the gender gap, as well as all others. Apparently, Americans as a group are more like the Bimbettes than they are like Belle.

On an unrelated subject, I was pleased and relieved that this site’s readers came through with donations to renew the domain name – and some people are still helping out! As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I’m thinking it’d be a good idea to start doing more online advertising: The first two campaigns I ran on Facebook and Google (Adwords) with their service-trial coupons produced decent results during their brief, Mayfly-esque existence, especially Facebook. If you haven’t already, please shoot me a few bucks to put towards that!

This entry was posted on Saturday, October 20th, 2012 at 6:23 pm and is filed under Cartoons & Commentary. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

5 Responses to “Buffalo Willard”

By » knowtheory (October 21st, 2012 at 6:48 am)

Dude. That’s dark, and hyperbolic in a way that’s not illuminating or funny. You’re just comparing Mittens to a psychotic serial killer who wants to kill his victims to wear their skin. When people bring up the divisive tone in modern elections this is going to be one of the things that springs to mind for me.

Would you say this cartoon is similarly out-of-line? Or is it different, because Romney and Bateman share characteristics like occupation and physical appearance?

Just trying to figure out where you think the line is.

You don’t think Romney screaming something as absurd as the line in the final panel is funny? I thought that was funny.

I also probably should’ve mentioned the child torture prisons run by Romney’s campaign associates/high-profile donors, and owned by his private equity firm in the body of the article, since it seems quite relevant to the imagery.

Would the cartoon be more fair if it showed Romney holding a child hostage in the pit instead of an adult woman, since that’s an act he’s directly profited from in reality?

To me, the complaints I’ve heard about this cartoon seem like the reaction people are reported to have had when told the facts about Paul Ryan’s budget proposals: “That’s so absurdly evil, it must be a lie!”

People want to believe Romney has at least the flickering of a conscience; that deep down, he means well, because the alternative impugns the basic goodness (or at least redeemability) of mankind, and is very demoralizing.

But an analysis of his professional career, his early political attitudes as a child of extreme privilege, and his debate performances paints a picture of a man without empathy; a sociopath with no concern for others beyond how faking it might benefit himself. He’s the perfect physical synthesis of Ayn Rand’s socioeconomic theories, and their initial inspiration of William Edward Hickman.

And on the specific subject of people with psycho-sexual issues, his disrespect or even hatred of gays and lesbians is well-enough documented, if not surprising, considering his religious upbringing.

I dunno, I don’t like the fact that I have to read a long explanation on a cartoon to get it. I mean I totally understand the ever-present sociopathic vibe coming from the guy as he is required to emulate human emotions, but this just looks like you’re trying to make him look like a murderer without any context, which is only half a step above putting a Hitler mustache on him. Awesome coloring job though.

Adam, I don’t like that fact, either–it is worth noting, however, that this isn’t the first time I’ve posted an illustration as part of a blog article instead of as a standalone piece in which you could take the article or leave it. The above-linked Mitt Romney: American Psycho post was another, though admittedly, it was far more intentional, in that case.

It may also be worth noting that, traditionally, editorial cartoons have been designed to be paired with articles, in their home papers–that doesn’t excuse this one’s failings as a standalone piece of symbolic art, but it does grant a small amount of existing precedent, at least.

Finally, as I mentioned in the previous comment, I don’t think the connection between Mr. Romney and literal acts of torture and murder are quite as tenuous as most cases of extreme hyperbole, such as the cliche of comparing someone to Hitler, and his comments in the 47% video sealed, for me, the belief that he would kill someone for no reason other than money if he thought he could do it without any negative social repercussions.

Regardless, I hope I can avoid the readability issues this cartoon had with the next one!

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