"He instinctively can find the shining greatness of our American culture and does a good job of highlighting it (although he also does have those rare lapses when he writes about hockey, but that is something caused by impurities in the Eastern waters or something)." Erik Keilholtz
Under the patronage of St. Tammany
Mark C. N. Sullivan is an editor at a Massachusetts university. He is married and the father of three children. Email
If Rene Gonzalez couldn't draw, he'd be the unspeakable Ted Rall, whose latest prompted this e-mail sent this morning to the editor at Universal Press Syndicate:
Lee Salem, Executive Vice President and Editor
Universal Press Syndicate
4520 Main Street
Kansas City, MO 64111-7701
Dear Mr. Salem:
According to his blurb at the Universal Press Syndicate comics site, Ted Rall has an "irreverent attitude" that combines with "deft use of satire" to "make his work as fun to read as it is thought-provoking," while his "ability to connect with current culture gives his writing an of-the-moment perspective that is edgy and sharp."
No doubt there are some who regard Mr. Rall's comic dismissal of the late Pat Tillman as a "sap" and an "idiot" [link] as deft satire.
No doubt some regard Mr. Rall's column of Veterans Day last, written in the guise of an Iraqi "resistance" fighter urging the killing of American soldiers [link], as fun to read and thought-provoking.
No doubt some regard Mr. Rall's mocking of Daniel Pearl's wife and the widows of 9/11 [link] as edgy and sharp.
I am not one of these readers. I find these items loathsome, and I'm willing to bet the great number of people do, too.
If there is indeed a fever swamp to which Mr. Rall does appeal, why does Universal Press Syndicate wish to reach it? What is the upside of continuing to provide a venue for work that not only is deeply offensive but – it should also be noted – so poorly drawn?
Mr. Rall's art, such as it is, fails in humor, in originality, in talent, and in grace, and seems motivated as much, if not more, by twisted pathology as by ideology. His work shocks and offends, but does not enlighten. It does not speak, in some new or brave way, to the intellect or to the heart. It does not enhance, but coarsens, public dialogue. Why does Universal Press Syndicate continue to run it?
A similar e-mail was sent to Michael Getler [email@example.com], ombudsman at the Washington Post, which carries Ted Rall at its Web site.
Dale Price writes of Rall: I can't think of a more appalling sack of offal working in major media. That's saying something, when you think about it.
As Dale notes, the First Amendment that protects by no means compels the publication of Ted Rall. It's hoped a cascade of e-mails and letters will bring this distinction home to Universal Press Syndicate and other media outlets that carry the derivative, horribly drawn, but supposedly "edgy" anti-Americanism of the Generation X Lord Haw Haw.