One of Australia's leading, and most controversial, cartoonists has decided to portray the Australian prime minister, John Howard, and the foreign minister, Alexander Downer spattered with blood in his Christmas message, with the words "Celebrating another successful year in Iraq' underneath the image.
The cartoon, by Leunig, featured prominently in Melbourne newspaper, The Age.
Did Leunig go too far? Is it tasteless? Or biting political comment?
It's not particularly creative. Images of prime ministers and presidents flecked by blood have been prominently displayed by anti-war protestors since the the Iraq War began, as well as being a fairly steady favourite of anti-war marchers since the 1960s.
But 'Peace On Earth & Goodwill To All Men (conditions apply)' is funny.
It's funny, because it's true (as the mafia don on The Simpsons would say).
Peace On Earth & Goodwill To All Men doesn't mean maybe some peace after this next invasion, and it doesn't mean goodwill to just these guys and those guys. It means peace everywhere and goodwill to everybody, no exceptions.
Andrew Bolt, Herald Sun opinonist and steady Leunig promoter (by regular criticism), didn't try too hard to come up with this headline for his blog post on the cartoon : 'Heart Of Hate'.
Standard right wing reactionary attribution. It's all about hate. If you dare to criticise the PM, if you dare to make fun of him or mock him, then you must hate him. Ridiculous.
It's interesting to contemplate why Leunig's cartoon received these kinds of comments on Bolt's blog. The key word is clearly 'sick' :
This man is a seriously sick puppy...My favourite is definitely, 'Leunig's madness is beyond description. This is despicable'. It would be perfect for the cover of Leunig's next book.
What a repulsive “cartoon” - it’s sickening really
Leunig’s madness is beyond description. This is despicable.
he needs a great deal of mental help.
That is sick.
The guy is seriously warped
Leunig is a sick bastard.
Words can not describe my rage at seeing this horrid offering from such a miserable, stinking, rotten, flatulent representative of the Left.