Just thought I’d step in here and add an additional layer to Herb’s on-the-money assessment of SNL’s portrayal of Governor Paterson.
Like Herb, I simply didn’t recognize the bumbling character of the decidedly non-bumbling man SNL was attempting to caricature. As a political humorist, I relish seeing others take stabs at politicians to see if they picked up on something I missed, or if they simply miss. The fact they went after Paterson’s inability to see actually made me wince. I’ll gladly criticize and make fun of Governor Paterson, but there’s no hardship in limiting myself to parodying the things he chooses to say and do. It’s safe to say he didn’t choose to be legally blind, so I don’t go there. Same with President Bush – Someone I could never be accused of being kind to. He’s a recovering alcoholic, and I wouldn’t stoop to making fun of that serious disease in my cartoons.
I should add that I’ve earned my stripes on the disabilities in cartoons dilemma. Many, many years ago, when I was a green new hire here at The Journal News, I drew a cartoon about Ed Stolzenberg who was then President of the Westchester Medical Center. I depicted him driving an ambulance (with “WMC Budget” written on the side) off a cliff. After it appeared in the paper, I was then informed that he was in fact legally blind. I was mortified. Fortunately he had a great sense of humor, and while I stood by my criticism of his budget, he accepted my apology for the metaphor with good grace and understanding. I won’t be doing that again. And neither will, I hope, SNL.