Opinion: an Admirable Cartoon – which cost a Job – about a Golfer ignorant of Death and the ordinary Folk willing to face it




The golfer stands and casually rests his weight on his left hip; in every way a whitened figure en-route to the hole. Behind him is a straight-lined, tightly controlled, well-mown world. The ball is nowhere in sight. Its actual placing doesn’t matter to him, certainly not to us watchers – and especially not to the adult and child lying prone in the water.

He has a barely perceptible frown at being mildly discomforted over the interruption to his game. He doesn’t seem to understand the reason for the hold-up in play and thus has no problem speaking to the dead migrants as if they were alive, although he doesn’t look directly at these little people. Might he be a selfish coward?

The prominently-placed speech purports to show the mannered, even reasonable, behaviour expected of these sportsmen, which runs contrary to the many remarks over the grifter golfer’s cheating and lying on the course. Which pales into insignificance when the rest of his life is assessed.

In this militarised zone the only threat is from those dark ripples in the watery distance. That robust, comfortable white golf cart is a means of get-away and a refuge for its current occupant; a temporary dwelling which appears as if too small for its user who might struggle to stay within it.

It’s a top-down view for us as on-lookers. From our vantage point there is a gulf between the cello-like curves of fat barely kept in above and below the belt of the golfer and the thin exposed bodies drowned below. In death, the victims look normally proportioned (and they have only that now) in comparison to the chubby pincered arms; the hint of moobs and the love-lavished helmet of hair which reveal this strange creature to be a freak of nature. One of us yet unlike us in many ways.

There is quiet in this cartoon, a calm after a storm, and that is the way he likes it. It is his world, he believes, and we just live in it. It is convenient for him these migrants’s resting positions render them anonymous and therefore less able to command the spotlight.

Their names were Oscar Alberto Martinez Ramirez and his daughter Valeria. She was one month shy of being two years old. The cartoonist who drew this is called Michael deAdder. He worked for the same paper for 18 years as a freelancer, employed by James K. Irving and Brunswick News Inc. but is now an unemployed cartoonist. In theory all of their names are as important as the golfer’s. In practice…

Who will judge this game which is being played? It hasn’t ended yet.

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