We discuss TikTok addiction, political cartoons, China’s growing economy and potential collapse, TikTok usage among cartoonists, and concerns about data privacy. The cartoonists also touch on the limitations of drawing Xi Jinping in China and the motives behind Chinese hacking attempts.
The podcast discusses the potential ban of TikTok due to security concerns about China. The app is already banned on government devices in America and other countries. The podcast also mentions a spate of vandalism and car thefts related to TikTok challenges. The cartoonist featured in the podcast is only allowed to show one side of the story in China, and many political cartoonists in China depict the West as thinking that China will collapse, which is not the case. The podcast also briefly touches on offensive stereotypes in some political cartoons.
The podcast discusses the prevalence of anti-Western sentiment in Chinese political cartoons, including cartoons predicting the collapse of the US and Western countries. The one-sidedness of these cartoons is noted, as well as the lack of frustration expressed by Chinese cartoonists about their limited artistic freedom. The podcast also compares this situation to that of cartoonists in other countries, such as Cuba and Arab countries.
Join host Daryl Cagle and political cartoonists Jimmy Margulies, Dave Whamond, Patrick Chappatte and nationally syndicated columnist Jase Graves, as we discuss cartoons on TikTok and China which were in the news this week as Congress is considering banning the Tik Tok app because of security concerns about China — TikTok is already banned on government devices in the America and many other countries. The app has 150 million users in the USA and it’s owned by a Chinese company, Bytedance, which under Chinese law must share the data on their users with the Chinese government, if the Chinese government requests, it and Tik Tok has Chinese government officials on their board and is partly owned by the Chinese government.
Notably, the Tik Tok app isn’t available in China where Bytedance runs a similar app called DOUYIN with far less content, that is highly edited, and where children are limited to no more than one hour one hour of use per day.
We’ve got great guests today to discuss our TIK TOK and CHINA cartoons!
Dave Whamond draws TWO two comics, “Reality Check” and “Day by Dave” and he’s won a bunch of awards
Jimmy Margulies appears on Cagle.com and PoliticalCartoons.com; he’s syndicated to newspapers by King Features Syndicate and he self syndicates local cartoons to NJ papers. Jimmy has worked for The Bergen Record, The Houston Post and amNEW YORK. He won The National Headliner Award, Fischetti Award and Berryman Award.
Patrick Chappatte draws from Switzerland for the Boston Globe, Der Spiegel, Le Canard Enchaîné, Le Temps AND NZZ am Sonntag. And Patrick has won the COW at St Just le Martel
Jase Graves is a nationally syndicated humor columnist who we syndicate at Cagle Cartoons –he’s great, his columns run everywhere , he’s won a bunch of awards and he’s also a university professor –Jase is our first non-cartoonist guest on the Caglecast!
00:00:00 Humorous Conversation About Accents And Dancing To Beyonce
00:04:36 Columnist’s Perspective On Cartooning And Current Issues
00:06:35 Cartoonist’s Prediction Of Russian Invasion And China’s Response To Taiwan.
00:10:14 Provocative American Cartoonist Draws Controversial Images Of Chinese President
00:15:46 Two Motives For Hacking: Criminal And Political
00:16:42 Nsa’s Mastery Of Spying Through Technology And A Change In Appearance
00:18:19 Perceptions Of Tiktok: Spying Pandas, Angry Congressmen, And School Vandalism
00:24:02 Chinese Cartoonists Avoid Depicting President Xi Jinping In Complimentary Cartoons
00:26:02 The Importance Of Anonymous Cartoonists In Journalism
00:28:52 Cartoonist Predicts China’s Collapse, But What About The Us?
00:32:52 Cartoonists In China Depict Uncle Sam As A Mosquito Sucking The Blood Out Of Taiwan.
00:34:52 Cartoonists Avoiding Political Topics, Concerns About China’s Stance On Ukraine
00:37:07 Chinese Cartoonists Don’t Feel Frustrated Despite Lack Of Freedom Of Expression
Here’s the Transcript:
TikTok and CHINA, Caglecast Episode 11
Daryl Cagle: Hi, I’m Daryl Cagle, and this is the Caglecast. We’re all about political cartoons, and today our topic is TikTok and China. Congress is considering banning the TikTok app because of security concerns about China. TikTok is already banned on government devices in America and many other countries. The app has 150 million users in the USA, and it’s owned by a Chinese company, Daryl Cagle: Bytedance, which under Chinese law must share their data on their users with the Chinese government if the Chinese government ever requests it. And TikTok has Chinese government officials on their board and is partly owned by the Chinese government. Notably, the TikTok app isn’t available in China where Bytedance,
Daryl Cagle: the company that owns them, runs a similar app called Douyin, with far less content, and that is highly edited, and where children are limited to no more than one hour per day of use.
We’ve got great guests today to discuss our TikTok and China cartoons, Dave Whamond, who draws two comics, Reality Check and Day by Dave, and he’s won a whole bunch of awards.
Daryl Cagle: We welcome Jimmy Margulies, Jimmy appears on Cagle.com and PoliticalCartoons.com. He is syndicated to newspapers by King Features and he’s self-syndicates local cartoons to New Jersey papers. Jimmy’s worked for the Bergen Record, the Houston Post amNewYork, and he won the National Headliner Award, Fischetti Award and Berryman Award.
Daryl Cagle: Patrick Chappatte draws from Switzerland for the Boston Globe. Spiegel, Leard, Lato and NZZ am Sonntag. And Patrick has won the cow in St Just le Martel.
Patrick Chappatte: Say that again. Almost right. Okay.
Daryl Cagle: Oh dear. And Jase Graves is a nationally syndicated humor columnist who we syndicate at Kegel cartoons. He’s great.
Daryl Cagle: His columns run everywhere and. Won a bunch of awards too. And he’s also a university professor, and Jase is our [00:02:00] first non cartoonist guest on the Caglecast. So, welcome Jase.
Jase Graves: Thanks for having me with these talented people.
Daryl Cagle: Okay. Excuse me for reading these cartoons, because this is also an audio podcast.[00:02:13] Daryl Cagle: And so if we don’t tell people what’s in the cartoon, most of them aren’t gonna have any idea.
So Patrick’s cartoon shows two Chinese government people at the door of a typical American TikTok user, and one says, “The Chinese government now has information about you.” And the other one says, “We know you dance to Beyonce with two left feet.”
Daryl Cagle: This is very funny, Patrick, and it looks very authentic.
Patrick Chappatte: Are you trying the Chinese accent. Say it again. You got it almost right.
Daryl Cagle: Oh dear, my French accent. Well, every accent I do kind of ends up like a Russian accent.
Daryl Cagle: You’ve got all the, the Chinese guys, uh, Looking at the screens, monitoring everybody in the world and says TikTok, a tool of Chinese spying. One says, one more Rihanna dance video, and I kill myself. It’s gotta be a boring job. I think that’s a great cartoon. Thank you. This is a absolutely brilliant cartoon, you’ve got, uh, Xi Jinping standing at the gate of the forbidden city with the big Mao photo and he’s leaning in covering your Mao’s face with his face for a photo that’s being taken. I thought that was just brilliant wordless cartoon and I gotta congratulate you on that one cuz I think that’s a wonderful cartoon.
Patrick Chappatte: Thank you. Yeah, very simple visual, the kind of stuff we like. Yes. Uh, China, China is a big source of inspiration. The, the whole TikTok, uh, controversy. I chose to take all that with a little distance and, and a, and a light, uh, touch, um, you know, try to put that, put this into perspective. Um, uh, if, if, if all the data that the, the young TikTok users are, are giving away, Are the, is them dancing on, on Rhianna?
Patrick Chappatte: I think that’s not, um, that’s not too much of a big deal. And of course, if we’re talking about. Uh, uh, you know, data being stolen on, on, by by, by tech companies and applications. We need to look first at all the damage that has been done in that regard by the big tech companies, mostly from America. So it’s all a question.
Daryl Cagle: That sounds like a, what about argument that we’re used to hearing from conservatives? Oh yeah, we should pay attention to this issue because what about this other guy that’s just as bad?
Patrick Chappatte: No, it’s not. It’s not. What about is, is don’t forget to look at both sides, and that’s a discussion we’ll have later when we talk about Chinese colleagues because in their case, they have only capacity to look at the world with one perspective, which is not our case as cartoonists living in free democracies.
Daryl Cagle: Okay, gentlemen, are you just as concerned about Western companies harvesting data as you are from China?
Jase Graves: That’s an excellent question. My perspective as a columnist, writing typically about. Family issues and domestic issues. I was going to tell Patrick he did an excellent rendering of one of my daughters on that first cartoon.
Jase Graves: Um, you know, I mainly worry about, and I’m probably not as well versed in this issue as others, I, you know, watch the news. I hear about the, the Chinese threat and so forth of TikTok. My main concern with TikTok is that it wastes time. I think it’s a Chinese conspiracy to waste as much of America’s time as possible cause people stay on this app for hours. My daughters, my main concern isn’t whether China is spying on them. My main concern is whether they’re doing their homework, uh, because they’re just constantly on this app.
Daryl Cagle: True. Well then we will move on to Dave Whamond. He’s got the Republican elephant talking to the donkey. Republican elephant says, “We can’t just ban TikTok out. We need to, so kids want to leave the platform.” and, uh, the donkey says, “So make their parents TikTok so it’s no longer cool. That’s your plan.”
Jase Graves: Darrell, your, uh, your elephant sounded much less intelligent than your donkey. Was that intentional?
Dave Whamond: Yeah, so for me, uh, this is a no-brainer. It’s like with Facebook, it was cool until the parents joined, so I think the problem solved if you just
Jase Graves: do this. That’s exactly right. I mean, it, it, I think talk’s popularity has a, has a finite lifespan. Mm-hmm. Like Facebook, you know, once the, once our daughters figured out we were on Facebook, that was suddenly not cool anymore.
Jase Graves: Yeah. Once they figured out we were on Instagram, that was not cool anymore. It’s just a matter of time.
Dave Whamond: Yeah, I think it’ll be one of those things like 10 years from now, remember TikTok?
Jimmy Margulies: Yeah. It’ll be like MySpace. Exactly. One of the other things that went through a popularity thing and then fizzled out.
Daryl Cagle: You guys sound pretty confident of that. Okay, Dave, here’s another one of yours. You’ve got the beaten up an injured Russian bear standing next to Ukraine with this broken tank and happy little panda. Dropping his boat into the water ready to blast Taiwan in Chinese POCs. “Hey, that looks like a great idea.”
Daryl Cagle: It kind of started off
Dave Whamond: one, one accent and merged into another. That’s what I do all the time,
Daryl Cagle: sorry about that.
Dave Whamond: Yeah, no, that, that’s, uh, cartoon. I, I did about a year ago now, and things were starting to not go well for the Russian. And their invasion. And uh, I’d argue it’s probably even worse now.
Dave Whamond: So I, at the time everyone was thinking that the same thing’s gonna happen in Taiwan, but I think China’s probably watching the world response to this. And, uh, you know, I don’t, I think Putin thought it would go like it went in 20014 when he dipped his toe into Ukraine and nothing happened. So I think he. The world response would be, uh, you know, not what it, what it is right
Daryl Cagle: now. So let’s hope so. Yeah, you wouldn’t get a sense of that from their media. Um, right. We’re just really drumming up the war. Um, you know, I, I did some speaking engagements in, in China and I’ve gotta say China’s a wonderful place and everybody’s warm and friendly on a personal basis, but you talk to a large room and they are. Very, uh, militant anti-American and very much like, uh, they’re at a football stadium cheering their team and booing the bad guys. I think it’s kind of scary. Yeah. I came away from my visit to China thinking, wow, the food is great, and this place is a real threat.
Jase Graves: It makes one worry that China looks at Russia like the panda is looking bear and thinking, you know, we could do this better. They’re just doing it wrong.
Patrick Chappatte: I’ve been to China a few times. You were just, uh, I, I even did, uh, back then in the international, uh, Herald Tribune, a comics, uh, story in one page. It was the extensive guide of what to do in less than half a day in Beijing. Um, you know, sometimes. You spend just a half day in a place and the things you see, even Chinese people from Beijing have never seen. I saw a dog in front of a restaurant and the dog was really slaughter. I can’t tell you it’s true. Um, and you can imagine why it was, it was, it was for the restaurant, uh, stuff like that. Crazy things, but very, very, uh, fascinating place in, in, in the way that it’s you. You can see the past collision in the future in those places like, uh, like uh, Shanghai in, in some parts of Beijing and in places like Korea and Japan. and, what is very striking to me is that history those, uh, uh, places of the world, if you speak to Koreans about Japan is too, if you speak to Chinese about Japan, they will right away talk about the past. The past has, has not been dealt with. In Asia, the way it has been in Europe, the war has not been preceded.
Patrick Chappatte: So all these issues are underlying, there is, there is a lot of of issues and sentiments in between the different countries. This is gonna blow up at some point. That’s the feeling you get when you travel to Asia. That was my feeling. I don’t know about you, Daryl. I went
Daryl Cagle: to, uh, China last during, uh, the time that they were having the big protests in Hong Kong, and I would watch CNN from my hotel room and it would just regularly go black for minutes at a time whenever Hong Kong was mentioned. I think that’s pretty scary and telling. I mean, it would go black for a half an hour if they were talking about Hong Kong intermittently for a half an hour. Scary. Also, I did speeches with the, the US consulates in some different cities. I was giving these speeches to college classes and they’d have them come to the consulates to listen to the American cartoonist talk, who was really very provocative because I’m drawing images of our president and they’re not used to ever seeing a cartoon of the Chinese president.
Daryl Cagle: So that’s kind of a stark contrast for them. And what would happen was, uh, the teachers. Would not come in for the presentation. They would sit out in the lobby while the students came in and listened to the speech because that way they had deniability about having heard anything that would’ve reflected poorly on them, which I thought was really pretty strange.
Daryl Cagle: Um, it’s a disturbing place, disturbing to our values. Anyway, but we digress. We’re gonna talk some more about China later and talk. Talk about what the cartoons look like in China. Jimmy, this is one of yours. You got a guy holding up a a TikTok tablet and he says, [00:12:00]”China’s access to America’s personal data is a very big concern.”
Daryl Cagle: Then he’s got big, big tech behind him and he says, “America’s personal data belongs to us.”
Jimmy Margulies: Yeah, Patrick’s point, this gets back to what, what we were just discussing. Yeah, it is a concern that that, you know, Google and its compatriots do harvest their information, and I guess the fact that it’s China makes it a little bit more scary because of their, you know, authoritarian system.
Jimmy Margulies: But, The way I feel is that a, among the different things that we should be concerned about China, this is not the top of the list. This is maybe fourth or fifth; their other activities around the world, certainly more of a threat to US values than this is. So, in some ways I see all the hoopla about this as being a way of punishing China, but without starting a war or doing anything that is gonna really, you know, set off fireworks.
Daryl Cagle: Here’s another one of yours. Looking at the bulletin board. With a big notice that TikTok is banned due to a security issue with China and a couple of people watching. One says, “Don’t tell me China wants to steal our dance moves.” Yeah. This is, goes along. Same inspiration, a couple that, uh, Patrick did as well, had the, the same uh, take on on things.
Jase Graves: Yeah. One of my recent columns I wrote about my. You know, they get in their beds and they, they have their phones in front of their faces and they’re doing TikTok or making videos or whatever. And I mentioned that, um, you know, my daughter was exposing her dirty piles of laundry to the Chinese government, you know, for, for spying.
Dave Whamond: I was just thinking if I maybe posted a video of myself dancing. Everyone would want to leave TikTok. That might ….
Daryl Cagle: Okay, this one Jimmy, is cute and I love bath cartoons. Bathtubs cartoons are are a wonderful trope that editorial cartoonists make good use of, and I love bathtub cartoons. So here’s big Chinese battleship in the bathtub with the little Chinese lady says, “I really need a restraining order on my crazy ex.”
Daryl Cagle: And she’s Taiwan. Nice. Cause she’s got a Taiwan talent. I think that’s very nice. Her crazy ex.
Jimmy Margulies: There was some. Chinese naval activity. Uh, at the time I did this, that was very threatening, so I, I think that was the inspiration for this.
Daryl Cagle: I put in three of my oldies with this. Here’s another bathtub cartoon that I did when they were having all this naval stuff around Taiwan, and I love the bathtub cartoons.
Daryl Cagle: This is, uh, one of the Winnie the Poo Xi Jinping cartoons. There’s, we could have done a whole program about Xi Jinping as Winnie the Poo. We’ve got so many dozens of Winnie the cartoons. Uh, here he is, uh, with the world tied up with. Belts and he says a few more belts and roads, and I’ll have this thing wrapped up.
Daryl Cagle: I like the Winnie the Poo. I think cartoonists draw him as Winnie of the poo, simply because they know it annoys him. And, and, uh, anybody in China that did that, they would go, uh, they, well, they’d get fired right away.
Jase Graves: Now that we have the Winnie, the Poo Horror movie that was recently released, it was it called “Blood and Honey.”
Jimmy Margulies: Do you think that people know what the belts and roads refers to? China is doing a international program with underdeveloped countries giving them money for, uh, infrastructure as a way of gaining influence there. So, and they short name for the thing is “Belts and Roads”
Daryl Cagle: … and then they tie them up with all kinds of, uh, debts and obligations, right?
Daryl Cagle: And so that they’re beholden to China forever to. It’s pretty insidious, especially through all of Africa. Here’s another one about currency wars. You know, we have a whole lot of trouble with hackers at Cagle.com, and very often they’re Chinese hackers and they will leave files on our computer, that are in Chinese because, you know, it’s kind of like they’re keeping their notes.
Daryl Cagle: They go into somebody else’s computer and they just make a mess and they don’t mind leaving their mess there. There was this one time when the NSA had their toolbox of breaking into websites stolen. We found the whole NSA toolbox on our server, uh, that they were just put it there because it’s convenient for them to have it on our server as they attack our server.
Daryl Cagle: It’s crazy and the Chinese are terrible at this, and we’ve got large parts of China blocked out because that’s where, uh, we have hacker attacks coming from, and it just relieves the stress on our, our servers. Uh, so this is a, an autobiographical cartoon about me getting hacked by the Chinese.
Jimmy Margulies: Are, are they doing it just to make mischief or are they trying to hold you ransom for money.
Jimmy Margulies: What’s their motive in doing it?
Daryl Cagle: There are two motives to the hacking. First motive is it’s just the criminal stuff that you’re used to seeing everywhere. And they’re fishing for credit card numbers. And then the second motive is political and they’re from countries that really don’t like our cartoons.
Daryl Cagle: And it’s the second ones that are more concerned to us cuz we don’t keep the credit card numbers online. And the second ones, uh, they just wanna cause damage.
Patrick Chappatte: It’s not because they enjoy the cartoons. Are you sure of that?
Daryl Cagle: Oh, boy. Uh, and they’re quite malicious. There’s a couple of times where they have completely erased our servers and it took us days to rebuild them.
Daryl Cagle: Uh, but they’re not asking for ransom like, uh, pay us off or, or we’ll erase your server. They just erase the server. No ransom demand, uh, whatever they wanna [00:18:00] do to just cause us the most pain and cost.
Patrick Chappatte: Let me do, uh, some more, whataboutism as you say. Uh, Uhhuh, it’s interesting that you mentioned the, the toolkit of the NSA, which reminds us when we speak about, uh, spying through technology that the NSA started it all and is really mastering the, the art of, uh, of spying friends and foes alike through technology.
Daryl Cagle: Yeah, those bastards. Okay.
Jase Graves: Terell, you look, you’re much better looking than this self-portrait in this cartoon.
Daryl Cagle: I used to have a, a white beard, uh, for a few years, but my wife thought it made me look old. Okay. Yeah, you
Dave Whamond: do look younger without the beard, I think.
Patrick Chappatte: you do. Yeah.
Daryl Cagle: Thank you Dave. So we’re gonna go through some of our other cartoonists. This is Paresh Nath from India drawing, a Chinese spying Trojan Horse from TikTok. Um, Here is Monty Wolverton. Dad is [00:19:00] yelling at son who’s on the phone with TikTok. He says, “No, TikTok! They’ll harvest our data. And then he goes to the grocery store and puts in a data with the supermarket loyalty program, harvesting data.
Daryl Cagle: This is from our Dutch cartoonist Bart van der Leeuwen, who draws in a kind of a photorealistic style, and he’s got the little girl. Doing her TikTok video, but actually it’s got Xi Jinping looking over her ominously. And uh, that’s, you know, I, I look at this cartoon and I think it looks pretty darn crazy.
Jase Graves: There’s Winnie the Poo again. Yeah, right?
[00:19:42] Daryl Cagle: Yes. Winnie the Pooh. I
[00:19:43] Jimmy Margulies: like the way he
Daryl Cagle: snapped that in. Another one was Xi Jinping and his TikTok glasses. He sees the world through TikTok, Dave Grandlund cartoon with China taking their, uh, their head off of their panda suit and it’s spying inside. Uh, this one is a Frank Hanson cartoon.
Daryl Cagle: TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew is, uh, with all of the angry people in Congress looking at him. “Wow. Tough crowd” says the panda. John Darkow. Why can’t a TikTok challenge ever be about studying, getting good grades? It’s a school custodian. You know, the, the TikTok challenge where, uh, it was film yourself doing damage and being a hooligan at your public school.
Daryl Cagle: You guys have any experience with that that happened at any of your kids’ schools? Jase.
Jase Graves: I don’t know if it was as a result of TikTok, but I mean, boys have been damaging their restrooms in public schools for decades. If you’ve ever been into a boys’ restroom in a public school, you’ll know what I mean. I used to teach junior high at a public school.
Jase Graves: It was like a murder scene in there.
Daryl Cagle: Well, this, really was a, a spate of vandalism tied to TikTok, all happening at the same time and going online.
Jimmy Margulies: Well now there’s one going with with stealing cars. Apparently KIAs [00:21:00]and Hyundais are, uh, rather easy to hotwire, so there’s a TikTok challenge and there’s been a spate of car thefts with those type of cars that have forced the manufacturers to do some kind of [00:21:15]software or, or some type of technical thing to prevent that from happening. So, Hmm. You know, maybe that’s more of a threat to, to our lives than Chinese harvesting our data at this point.
Jase Graves: We, we have warned our daughters about these TikTok challenges because they do pop up every now and then. And mainly we tell ’em, you know, if we catch you doing something like this, we’ll send you technologically back to the 1980s.
Jase Graves: You know, the phone’s gone. The, the computer’s gone. I’ll give you a big, a big cheap tablet and a box of crayons and that’s gonna be your entertainment.
Dave Whamond: Yeah. Didn’t the whole Tide Pod thing start on TikTok? Cause that one just blew my mind that they were actually, that was a challenge to eat Tide Pods. I, I can’t remember if it started on
Jase Graves: TikTok or it
Jimmy Margulies: was, it was somewhere online.
Jimmy Margulies: I’m not sure if TikTok, but definitely another one of these Ill-advised, uh, activities that people picked up on. It
Jase Graves: It was very TikTokesque.
Daryl Cagle: Yeah. Yes. This one’s from Gary McCoy. The two girls with their phones, one of ’em says, “My parents are so dumb. They say, I shouldn’t be on TikTok because it’s ties to the Chinese government.
Daryl Cagle: Yeah. The other girl says, “That is so stupid. Hey, let’s do that new challenge where we become communists.”
Patrick Chappatte: Oh, you do the teenager. Well, that’s a good one.
[00:22:33] Jase Graves: You know, really, if you’ve spent some time on TikTok, there seems to be just as much, if not more, uh, conservative leaning. Videos on TikTok as there are liberal leaning videos and I don’t know who’s against China more right now.
[00:22:51] Jase Graves: In our government, it seems like it’s, this is one of the areas where people can actually come together, but it’s fairly balanced, it seems like un, [00:23:00] unless they’re stealing your data and then there therefore, you know, sending you the videos. You want to see.
Patrick Chappatte: How many of you are on TikTok? Actually,
Daryl Cagle: I’ve got TikTok on my phone, but I hardly ever use it.
Jase Graves: Yeah, I stayed up too late last night looking at it. I’ll admit it. So I don’t put myself on TikTok. That’s, that’s one of the. Fears I have about my children using it more than the Chinese government stealing our data. I’m afraid I’m going to wind up in a video.
Jimmy Margulies: Dancing. Dancing. Uh, I’m not on any social media now.
Jimmy Margulies: I’ve al I’ve seen it, uh, just by, you know, being observant, but I, I don’t. Take part. Jimmy, you’re
Dave Whamond: my hero. I’ve been trying to wean myself off for years and, and you
Daryl Cagle: did it. So, yeah,
Jimmy Margulies: Life goes on without it, let me assure you.
Daryl Cagle: So hearing, that’s the old man who’s, who’s detached from social media, member of Congress, and he says, I’m outraged out to whatever it takes to keep you safe.
Daryl Cagle: Talk did the little kid, the kid says, from mass shootings and the funny. Grandpa Congressman says, from TikTok, and here’s the kid with his phone, which is a TikTok, TikTok bomb. Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. I’m gonna switch into cartoons from a Chinese cartoonist, Luo G, who we syndicate. He’s the cartoonist for the China Daily newspaper, which is the national English language newspaper in China, which is owned by the Chinese.
Daryl Cagle: I think Luojie is a good lens into the media in China and their views of America and, uh, into what the cartoonists draw in China because the editorial cartoonists do not deviate from. The opinions that the government feels they should have, and they all have opinions that are very well represented by these cartoons that I’m showing you from Luojie.
Daryl Cagle: I’ve talked to Luojie about this and, uh, I, I ask him, “Why have you never drawn Xi Jinping?” You know, it’s a measure of democracy around the world, whether a cartoonist is allowed to draw the leader of his own country. And you know, more than half the population of the world lives in a country where cartoonists are not allowed to draw their own leaders.
Daryl Cagle: I think cartoons are the greatest barometer of freedom of the press. And, of course, in China they cannot draw Xi Jinping. But well beyond that, they have, uh, a kind of an understood direction of what they’re allowed to draw such that they don’t actually push back on the limits. Like you see cartoonists in authoritarian states like Arab countries do -they’re pushing back all the time and getting in trouble.
Daryl Cagle: In China and much of Asia, the cartoonists don’t push back. They know what their limits are and they just go along with it. I don’t know that they are even motivated to push the limits.
Jimmy Margulies: Well, I’m, I’m wondering if they would be allowed to draw something that’s, uh, you know, praising. President Xi at all, or they just avoid it all together?
Daryl Cagle: I don’t think they’re allowed to draw complimentary cartoons of Xi Jining. It’s just …
Jimmy Margulies: So in other words, there’s the assumption that putting him in a cartoon is automatically a derisive or ridiculing thing and they, they just can’t depict him.
Daryl Cagle: I think it’s, it’s just understood that they can’t draw Xian, ping, and all, all these other red lines for them are also understood. When I talked to the Chinese cartoonist, That doesn’t seem to bother almost all of them
Jase Graves: wonder if there are underground publications where cartoonists do that, that get shuffled around and distributed?
Daryl Cagle: I don’t think so.
Patrick Chappatte: No, I don’t think so. I think this cartoonist we, we can we’ll see more of doing a pretty good job as a cartoonist. Um, and some of his cartoons I would find rather interesting and, and to the point. But the big problem being like this one, which is, which is, uh, an interesting critique.
Patrick Chappatte: But the big point is, of course, he’s only allowed to one side of the story, and that’s the case for all cartoonists allowed to do this work in China. A few of them, like Badiucao, who got the uh, Cartoonists Rights Network Courage in Cartooning Award a few years ago, I met him in Geneva and he of course cannot.
Patrick Chappatte: He had to. China, you cannot live in mainland China or today, even in Hong Kong, and do a critical work of the government. Uh, the way we understand that in democracies. So he told me there were a few cartoonists. As we define them, I mean, political cartoonists able to look at things with, uh, some independence of you.
Patrick Chappatte: There were a few of them a few years ago, but uh, the government cracked down on them. Uh, mostly they were mostly on the internet and he was telling me, you can’t find them anymore. Even on the internet,
Daryl Cagle: Badiucao fled China and he worked anonymously and he wore a mask at, uh, public appearances. And I think that’s very interesting.
Daryl Cagle: We’ve got an anonymous cartoonist in our group and uh, we’ve had no problem about that with editors, but we get pushback from some of the cartoonists that are really annoyed that we do that. And I think frankly, a lot of the cartoonists would be better off around the world if they. I had the opportunity to work anonymously.
Daryl Cagle: What do you guys think? Do you object to our having an anonymous cartoon?
Jimmy Margulies: No, I mean, to me it’s like someone who is in another form of journalism wanting to protect their source in order to get the, their story out, or the point of view out if they have to, you know, be silent because they are afraid in, in some way or another, but they still can communicate that, that to me is, you know, tells a good story that, you know, they, it’s important enough that they are willing to take that risk and do.
Daryl Cagle: Yeah, we have two cartoonists in our group that were, uh, put in jail a year ago for their cartoons. They did not draw anonymously, but I think they should have, they, they would’ve suffered a lot less.
Patrick Chappatte: The cartoon you’re showing to me really qualifies as a propaganda cartoon, and that’s there we’re entering another, uh, world, the world of propaganda.
Patrick Chappatte: Uh, the features, the message, it’s all. In one direction. It’s very heavy. The, the, the representation. This,
Daryl Cagle: this cartoon is Uncle Sam drawn as, yeah. Dracula with bloody fangs. It says, how did the US drain the world’s blood? Uh, one guy says one, two reads war. He’s reading the blood on his tooth. The other guy reads a blood on the other two, says the other reads, dollar hegemony.
Daryl Cagle: Uncle Sam as a vampire is a popular, trope around the world. Here is Uncle Sam and he’s yelling at a little guy holding a book that says Chinese Collapse Theory, and Uncle Sam’s legs are cracking. And he says, when the hell will China collapse? If it doesn’t collapse, it’s going to collapse. This is very interesting.
Jimmy Margulies: I’m going to collapse
Daryl Cagle: this. Oh, oh yes. I’m going to. This is a very, broad topic that all the cartoonists pick up in China, all the political cartoonists about the West, thinking that China’s going to collapse, which is interesting because I certainly don’t get that. From my perspective in the West, the news we get is about how China’s a growing threat and their economy’s growing and you know, in 15 years they’re gonna be the biggest economy in the world and watch out for this.
Daryl Cagle: It’s, uh, it’s just the opposite of predicting that they’re gonna.
Dave Whamond: Yeah, that must be a, a theme there. I’m thinking because I, I don’t hear that here at all. Or, you know, in any of the publications I read in the, in the US either. So I, if anything, it’s more they’re worried that they’re gonna become the new, uh, or trying, or trying to become the new world leader.
Daryl Cagle: There’s really a whole lot of this in China. Here’s a guy at the blackboard running China is going to collapse in 2010, 2011 every year crossed out in the next year coming up. This is an important part of their narrative. Yeah.
Patrick Chappatte: Well maybe the question is, how many of you think the US is going to collapse before China does?
Daryl Cagle: Yeah. What about that?
Patrick Chappatte: Back to his cartoon again, A lot, some of his cartoons make really interesting and valid points and, and get you thinking. But uh, again, what is, what is really disturbing to me is the total one side of of it. I. He can present this perspective, he’s not allowed to any other opinion. And we did an interesting experiment, which did not last long. back then when I was still with the New York Times, we started translating cartoons in Chinese on the, on the New York Times China website. And then they started. Uh, distributing those cartoons on social media in China. Now, I don’t think many of those readers would’ve been exposed to the kind of cartoons we did. Uh, translating China, as you know, too bad. Um, the, the New York, the, the New York Times decided at some point, I think it was one or two years in the process of. Translating in Chinese to drop all political cartoons and my contract in 2019. But that was an interesting experiment that we did.
Daryl Cagle: Well, let me add that, uh, Patrick was a cartoonist for the International Edition of the New York Times. He was in there regularly, and then another cartoonist who had nothing to do with Patrick drew a cartoon that was offensive and embarrassed the New York Times that they ran it and the Times decided to simply not deal with editorial cartoons at all, ever again, and that was the end of Patrick’s tenure there.
Daryl Cagle: Frankly, the New York Times has gotten into a lot more trouble with their words than they have with their cartoons over the years. I would much prefer to see that they just stop entirely printing words.
Patrick Chappatte: Yeah, they just thought the cartoons were too complicated to deal with or maybe. Too funny for them. I don’t know. Uh, but you know, Daryl, it was not just about the international edition because the new, the, the, the cartoons, uh, 10 years ago, uh, started being on the New York Times website, on the New York Times social media. And then, uh, 2017 we started translating them in Chinese and, and Spanish on, on those websites.
Patrick Chappatte: So they were actually. It seemed that they were in the process of opening up more and more to political cartoons, and then that happened. And indeed, they freaked out and took the decision that, it would be safer not to print any cartoons at all, because cartoons can get you into trouble, which explains maybe why no Chinese cartoonist is allowed to draw Xi Jinping because you don’t know.
Patrick Chappatte: You know, a lot of things can happen in one single cartoon.
Jase Graves: That’s, I wonder if the New York Times has a TikTok presence. You know, just about everybody has a TikTok page.
Daryl Cagle: Well, anyway, this cartoon shows the western media as Pinocchio, which is, uh, pretty common in Chinese cartoons. They do lots of pinocchios.
Daryl Cagle: He’s holding up a long list of problems of human rights in his Xinjiang, but of course his nose is long because all of that’s a lie. And Uncle Sam looks at that without looking at the Middle East. Here is one of Luojie’s Hong Kong cartoons. Here’s one of the Hong Kong protestors with his bloody knife and his Molotov cocktail, sabotaging the election. But he’s really a marionette puppet controlled by the west because, uh, you know, all this Hong Kong business didn’t really come from Hong Kong. It came from the west
Jimmy Margulies: outside agitators.
Daryl Cagle: Here clearly it was America (that) blew up the Nord Stream pipeline. Not really much of a question. I think you’re kind of getting the idea.
Daryl Cagle: I asked, Luojie “Why is it you’ve never drawn Xi Jinping? Why is it you never drawn anything critical of China?” American cartoonists, most of our cartoons are critical of America and, Luojie says “You don’t understand. I’m like a cheerleader, and China is my team.” I think that’s pretty much the attitude of the cartoonists in China.
Daryl Cagle: Here’s Uncle Sam, the mosquito sucking the blood out of Taiwan, which is sucking the blood out of Taiwan’s people. Because of course, Taiwan’s people wouldn’t support their government. Here’s Taiwan’s president who …
Patrick Chappatte: Even, even though they vote, they vote for them. Right? They have the right to vote.
Daryl Cagle: And here’s Uncle Sam with a remote control controlling Taiwan’s president, who is fighting with boxing gloves, crushing all of the Taiwan citizens.
Jase Graves: One of the previous cartoons that you showed that depicted the, Taiwanese terrorist, I noticed that the, it was a very stereotypical. Almost offensively so, Asian face on that character. Whereas these that you’re showing now, the faces look a lot less Asian, than the terrorists face did.
Jase Graves: I don’t know if that means anything or if there’s anything to that at all. Um, but the, the eyes on the terrorists were, were much more pronouncedly Asian than, than the ones on these others
Jimmy Margulies: Now that Jase brings that point up. I say, yeah, that to me, it reminds me of the, the anti-Japanese cartoons that circulated in World War II, where that, that kind of maniacal expression on the face. Very, very good observation there.
Daryl Cagle: You know, sometimes the foreign cartoonists in our group will draw cartoons featuring people of their ethnic group or their country in such a way that it is offensive to editors here. We get that sometimes with Mexican cartoonists, drawing Mexicans with big sombreros.
Daryl Cagle: And here’s Uncle Sam, the war addict with all of his, uh, drug needles stuck into his arms. War, war, war. Here’s Uncle Sam the octopus. Pouring gasoline and missiles and fire and grenades all around the world, and what Uncle Sam fears the most, what’s on his mind that’s most scary to him is world peace. Mm-hmm. And much less than world peace. He’s worried about China.
Jimmy Margulies: Well, I was noticing I didn’t see any cartoons except for one that mentioned Russia or Putin. Are these, uh, is this particular or his fellow cartoonist, uh, allowed to comment on what’s going on in Ukraine, or is that also something that they just don’t touch for fear of striking the wrong chord.
Daryl Cagle: I hear watching the news here about how China is picking up the Russian narrative about them really fighting NATO and not fighting Ukraine, and a lot of the Russian arguments about Ukraine, supportive of Russia. But I haven’t seen that. It seems to me like they avoid the topic.
Dave Whamond: I was just gonna say, I was, I thought it was interesting to hear the Chinese cartoonist’s opinion of that he feels like he’s a cheerleader for China. Uh, originally I thought maybe they felt slightly persecuted that they might face retribution for certain, uh, themes they might want to cover. Um, but maybe just that’s the, the worldview of the news that they receive.
Dave Whamond: You know, maybe it’s slanted one way or the other. And, uh, Uh, censorship maybe, uh, comes into play there. So I have a friend who gets all his news from Breitbart and he’s on, you know, his worldview is quite a lot different if that’s, that’s all that he’s coming in. And then all the, his algorithms from social media would cue to that.
Patrick Chappatte: Relating to the very definition he gave of his work being on team. That’s the very definition of, again, propaganda, which is the opposite of political cartooning and what it should be. And I think in history we have seen many cases where cartoons, which are a very powerful tool of communication and persuasion, have been used as a propaganda tools, you know, the Nazi and the Jews.
Patrick Chappatte: So it’s, to me, it’s really, um, terrible to see that, to see. The talent and the art of political cartooning being reduced to a propaganda tool. So maybe he’s convincing himself, maybe he’s convinced again, he’s a, he’s a crafted, uh, talented cartoonist. But if he was given the opportunity tomorrow to draw on whatever he wants and say what he thinks, uh, about the government I’m just wondering, uh, I’m pretty sure he would be doing different
Daryl Cagle: cartoons. I don’t know. We kind of project to think that people would want to criticize if they were free to, but. I don’t get that impression when talking to Chinese cartoonists. They don’t feel frustrated. You know, you talk to cartoonists from Cuba, they’ve never been able to draw a Castro. They really wanted to, they’ll escape the country and do that, but not in China. That,
Patrick Chappatte: that’s it. That’s it. If you live in a, in a, in a prison, if you want, you have the choice to try to convince yourself. Uh, you have some freedom in inside yourself. Uh, but you talked about Badiucao, so you know what it ii the, uh, Chinese, I mean, and, and you know Ai Weiwei, uh, that’s, that’s also someone, uh, who’s very interesting to hear. The, the artist Ai Weiwei, they need to leave China. That’s the, the only choice they have.
[00:40:54] Daryl Cagle: You hear that from the Arab cartoonists, just about every Arab country. Uh, they can’t draw their own leaders and they’re just as frustrated, but they push back really hard and they wanna get out and have freedom to draw their cartoons. And I’m hearing that from more cartoonists in India as well. They’re broadly not allowed to draw Prime Minister Modi. It’s, uh, a scary situation for them. Now in particular, as the government is coming down harder on the press, I think the situation in the world is getting worse.
Patrick Chappatte: To your point, there is a cultural aspect of it. In Asia, for example. Representing a leader or having this person, this leader, lose his face through a caricature. That’s something they are very, uh, aware of. And that’s cultural. That’s one side of it. But then in India you have different parties and they, they pick at each other. They fight each other, and you have different political visions and cultures, which is not the case in dictatorships or autocracies.
Daryl Cagle: Scary stuff, gentlemen.
Jase Graves: Okay. I still enjoy a good Chinese buffet.
Jimmy Margulies: Thank you for including me these distinguished guests.
Daryl Cagle: Well, I hope you guys will come back. We’re gonna be doing one of these every week, and uh, I’d love to have you again.
Patrick Chappatte: I have one question. Thanks. We mentioned TikTok. Uh, how many of us are on TikTok? How many cartoonists, uh, feature the work? In a way or another, maybe dancing with their cartoons on TikTok?
Jase Graves: That’s a good question. I don’t seriously, if none of you have ever have been on TikTok lately, you ought to either take a look at it or find someone who has it and you probably, I’m not telling you anything you don’t know.
Jase Graves: You know, it started out as this dancing app where people danced and posted their videos. It is bloated into, so, many other areas than that. I mean, there’s comedy on TikTok there. There is some dancing on TikTok. There are videos of police arrests on TikTok. There are television preachers on TikTok, and it’s addictive. I mean, you, you just get sucked into this rabbit hole of interesting things to look at.
Dave Whamond: Similar to Twitter. I, I’m sort of, you know, the same way. I spend way too much time on Twitter and it is addictive. Mm-hmm. So it sounds similar to and how Twitter started out now. It’s kind of, you know, since Elon uh, took over, it’s become something else now.
Dave Whamond: It was nice. I’m meeting all of you.
Jimmy Margulies: Yeah, you as well. Enjoy your very good line. Yeah. Take care.
Patrick Chappatte: Same. Let’s meet on TikTok soon.
Daryl Cagle: Yes, I’ll we’ll do another podcast. Please remember to subscribe to the Caglecast, SUBSCRIBE wherever you’re getting your podcasts. And if you didn’t see the video edition and you’d like to see the cartoons, go to Cagle.com or Apple Podcasts, or YouTube or Spotify to watch the video and you’ll see the cartoons that I only described in this podcast. Thank you for coming, and we’ll see you on the next Cagle Cast.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Take care.