Pat Oliphant is talented, but for years nows the chief thing about him has been that he’s weird. He becomes inflamed at will and lets loose with a vehemence that leaves me wondering about the artist instead of his target. For some reason he depicted Jacques Chirac as a streetwalker in a skirt because Chirac was against the Iraq war. But he also depicted George Bush as a helpless twit for ordering the war, and Condi Rice as a Dragon Lady type coolly smoking a cigarette in a holder while George buried his head on his desk. Yeah, George Bush, worrying. Then, in another cartoon, he showed Condi as a parrot telling Bush over and over he was doing good. That time, at least, he got it right, but what the hell? Furious and random is a bad combinati0n.

Oliphant can draw, but there wouldn’t be much point to his stuff otherwise. The gags are sometimes obvious, sometimes incoherent, and usually a few inches or feet into crazy-uncle territory. Now Tom Spurgeon links to one where Oliphant makes fun of Sarah Palin’s religion for being so freaky. The last-days stuff and antiabortion stuff would be just fine as targets, and so would Palin’s inability to talk like an intelligent person about most policy matters. But making fun of tongues speaking is just making fun of people for being different. Spurgeon likes that the old man is still “a total ass-kicker,” but to kick ass you have to connect. Oliphant winds up with a dent in the wall and blood leaking out of his shoe.
UPDATE: I fixed the cartoon link.

UPDATE 2 (by Noah the Interloper): Tom Crippen responds to Tom Spurgeon’s response