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If Cartoons Had Rules

PANEL DISCUSSION

October 03, 2004|Joel Pett | Joel Pett is the Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist of the Lexington Herald-Leader. His work appears in USA Today.

The 32-page pre-debate memorandum of agreement hammered out by lawyers for President Bush and Sen. John F. Kerry covered all the bases: positioning, podiums, pens, notes, lights, cameras, actions. But overlooked by the media was the oppressive "document in principle" recently forced upon visual satirists by the two campaigns, which has already resulted in a number of prosecutions. A sample:

Michael "Mike" Luckovich

Charged with:

Gross disregard of paragraph 43(w):

"The President shall not be represented in an unnaturally diminutive manner, nor portrayed in any fashion such as to cause association with any creature of the elf, goblin fairy or gremlin families, nor any relative theresuch, or fictional adaptation thereof. Additionally, the President is to be depicted with facial expressions displaying resolve, confidence, strength and suchlike qualities deemed to be Presidential (see sub-attachment 1600p). Any depiction of the eyes deemed to be 'beady,' or of the mouth in a 'smirk' or 'smirk-like' manner, is strictly prohibited."

Patrick "Pat" Oliphant

Charged with:

1) See paragraph 43(w)

2) Flagrant evasion of Articles 02, C02, H, and He

"The Challenger shall not be depicted, represented, drawn, illustrated or otherwise rendered in such manner as to detract from his official image as War Hero. No suggestion of the lack of skeletal or structural support, or the need for internal inflation by gaseous, liquid, solid or other compound, will be allowed. Nor shall said Challenger be portrayed in other than an 'upright' position. 'Upright' shall be understood, in accordance with generally accepted principles of physics, to exclude horizontal, diagonal or other stances not heretofore associated with a podium, lectern or the like."

Frederick "Ted" Rall

Charged with:

Serial disregard of Schedule 911(01)

"The Commander in Chief's likeness, caricature or iconic or symbolic representation shall not evoke, cause association with, or call to mind any undemocratically selected official, including but not limited to: dictators, strongmen, iron fists or generalissimos. Nor shall it be associated with any past or present representatives of juntas, upstart rebellions, banana republics, puppet dictatorships or other states (excluding Florida) where the institutions of democracy are suspect, illegitimate, untested or questionably administered."

Matthew "Matt" Davies

Charged with:

1) See paragraph 43(w)

2) Casual disregard of Coif Integrity Clause, Sections

(J), (F) and (K):

"Candidates shall be accorded the courtesy of the artistic inclusion of all currently attached and functional follicles, whether artificially tinted or supported, and shall not have said follicles satirically disturbed by scissors, clippers, tweezers or similar instruments, nor by means of any manually manipulated or fossil-fuel-powered machines. In addition, no suggestion of any physical or medical shortcoming, such as implied by the presence of bandages, plasters, salves or any similar such accessories, equipment or supplies shall be allowed, accepted, tolerated, recommended, put up with, abided, countenanced or otherwise gone along with."

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