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"The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt." - John Philpot Curran


On Chimps and Bailouts

Whether or not you've known it by its official name, you're all familiar with the infinite monkey theorem. It states that given an infinite amount of time, it's possible for a monkey, or a roomful of monkeys, randomly hitting keys on a typewriter, to eventually produce a complex, coherent text -- Shakespeare's Hamlet, for example. It has to do with probabilities and statistics, which is why this particular illustration comes up quite a bit in discussions about evolution.

Variations on the infinite monkey theorem pop up all the time, most recently in the following New York Post cartoon by Sean Delonas:
An obvious link is being made to the recent story about cops shooting to death a rampaging 200-pound chimp. And what the cop in the cartoon is referring to is the slapped-together stimulus bill the Democrats forced through Congress without allowing anyone time to even read it -- a bill so devoid of logic and reason that (are you ready?) a chimp could have written it.

The link you may have missed (probably because it doesn't exist) is one that has more racial overtones. Leave it to our resident expert on racism, Al Sharpton, to point out what you and I may have overlooked. He issued this statement on his web site yesterday:
    The cartoon in today's New York Post is troubling at best, given the racist attacks throughout history that have made African-Americans synonymous with monkeys. One has to question whether the cartoonist is making a less than casual inference to this form of racism when, in the cartoon, the police say after shooting a chimpanzee, "now they will have to find someone else to write the stimulus bill."

    Being that the stimulus bill has been the first legislative victory of President Barack Obama (the first African American president) and has become synonymous with him it is not a reach to wonder whether the Post cartoonist was inferring that a monkey wrote it? Given that the New York Post cartoonist has come under heavy fire in the past for racially tinged cartoons including the infamous cartoons depicting 2001 mayoral candidate Freddy Ferrer and me in very unflattering ways (that ultimately was used as a campaign tactic to inflame racial prejudices), one cannot ignore that history when looking at this morning's cartoon.

    The Post should at least clarify what point they were trying to make in this cartoon, and reprimand their cartoonist for making inferences that are offensive and divisive at a time the nation struggles to come together to stabilize the economy if, in fact, this was yet another racially charged cartoon.
This is quite a stretch, even for Reverend Al, but he doesn't joke around when it comes to making mountains out of mole hills. It's how he makes his living.

So, here's what we're supposed to think: The chimp represents President Barack Obama because, contrary to reality, he was the one wrote this so-called "stimulus" bill, not congressional Democrats. And everyone knows that some cartoonists 60 or 70 years ago depicted blacks with chimpanzee-like characteristics, not to mention that a few lowlifes today may occasionally employ such a slur when referring to those with darker skin. Therefore, we are supposed to be outraged and need to join Sharpton and his followers in some sort of protest or boycott or whatever.

But let's pause for a moment. Which president has been compared over and over again to a chimpanzee? Why, George W. Bush, of course. In fact, he was the inspiration for web sites like BushOrChimp.com and SmirkingChimp.com. Where was the outrage? Where was the call for protests?

What convinces me that Sharpton's accusation is bogus is that his only complaint about the cartoon is that it is "racially charged." He makes no issue out of the fact that the chimp in the cartoon has just been shot dead. If Sharpton really thought the artist intended the chimp to represent Obama, don't you think he would have pointed out that this could be interpreted as some sort of veiled assassination threat? Seems to me that is far more serious than any possible racial implication.

Unfortunately, we're easily distracted. This little scandal has now overshadowed the real crime perpetrated on American citizens of all colors: the passage of the largest pork spending bill in our nation's history that is sure to drive the economy further into the ground.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

You see, Obama was the profferor of the stimulus package. he had a hand it writing it. Yes, the cartoon depicts Obama. He does look a little like a monkey. Now and again, so do I for that matter.

As for evolution, they said teh chances of a simple frog leg being created out of infinite monkey probabilities would be similar to a tornado conuring up a fully functional 747 jet out of random matter.

Same statistics and probabilities are more likely to prove that Obama actually is the descendant of an ape, that the fact that a living God exists, or ever did. Oh what a tangled web we weave.

3/4/09, 1:28 PM  

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