The following text belongs to an individual signing as "easier_rhino" in a splendid cartoon forum which i would link you to if i wasn't a selfish bastard who wants to keep all good things to himself.
It's a text i wish i had the wit and patience to write, so i 'm gonna pull some strings so that it can replace the ten commandments in every school, court,public place, Charlton Heston's house and anywhere else they still value the ten commandments:
OPEN NOTE TO PEOPLE WITH OPINIONS:
Why exactly do you think that it's a good idea to call people names? Or insult people, at least in ways which have little or nothing to do with the topic of your argument?
Schoolyard taunts don't really make your point any more well reasoned, or stronger, or more persuasive, or even more intelligent. And unless they're really really really really really really good ones, they don't make it funny either. The only thing that insulting people does is cause your opponent(s) to foam at the mouth and insult you, plus anyone who's undecided to think "Gosh, this is juvenile."
I speak to all, liberal and conservative. Calling Bush "Monkeyboy" or Ted Kennedy "Drunk" might seem amusing, you have to be preaching to the choir for anyone to laugh. If your only purpose is to say something insulting and you're older than about 13, you should really examine your life closely. If you don't have a cogent argument and just want to smear someone, it's usually bleedingly apparent from reading what you write.
Same goes for rehashing old feuds. The fact that George Bush served in the Air National Guard has very little to do with his economic policy. It might say something about his character, but if you want to debate that, debate it. The fact that Bill Clinton did not serve in the military has very little to do with his feelings on education and wellfare. Again, not necessarily nothing, just very little. There are more effective arguments against Iraq than to mention that George Bush was a poor student at Yale. There are better ways to counter these arguments than to point out that John Kerry and John Edwards are obviously homosexual. Do we judge George Washington's legacy by the fact that he never once denied smoking marijuana?
Like Monty Python once said, an argument isn't the automatic naysaying of every point your opposition makes. Ah, it makes me think back to Socrates, and his famous speech to the court: "Nuh-huh, stupid Sparta-lover!"
Believe me, I can appreciate a well-formed insult. It should be original, of course, appropriately vitriolic, perhaps even a little brutal. But the point is that it's not much of a logical argument.
"I think we should get out of Iraq because Georgie Porgie can't tie his shoes, so how can he expect to be commander in chief. He's too busy on his ranch cutting brush."
Hey, I might agree (you'll never catch me saying one way or the other, though) but it's still not much of an argument, and it's not much of an insult either. If, on the other hand, one simply wants to be insulting...
"George "Dubya is the only thing I know how to spell" Bush is a two-timing, capitalist-worshipping, fascist-thinking, flag-waving, drug-intake-denying, crony-supplying, right-wing, no-brain, terrorism-ignoring, gun-toting, WMD-imagining goombah without the basic human decency to save a drowning child if no one was looking, and he smells bad too."
Now that's not an argument (and I neither affirm nor deny the sentiments involved). That's an insult. Op-Ed, rather than Socrates, so to speak. I respect that (in fact, I own a book called "The 776 Nastiest Things Ever Said" which is full of them).
With regard to cartoons, I love them all and want to bear their children (as soon as technology allows, of course), and my comments above were solely directed at those argumentative souls who wish to convince us their points are valid by means of sophomoric insults rather than actually making those points.
As a final note, I acknowledge that there is such a thing as satire, which can be both insulting and argue a point. Many of my favorite cartoons fall into this category. But there's a difference between Oscar Wilde and calling Ted Kennedy a drunk or spelling George Bush with a dollar sign.
That is all. Tonight's dinner will be creamed chip beef on toast.
PS: Please don't write replies to this post saying "yeah rite on man i think bu$h is a nazi we should get out of iraq u r so rite." Or the other way round. Life is too short."