Figure it out

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Last updated on July 27th, 2017 at 06:34 am

I’m not sure what the point is of this Bill Leak cartoon; that’s Mount Fuji in the background, so maybe he’s aiming for some statement about new IR laws turning Australians into Japanese-type company men. Beats me. The Briefing Room is also puzzled, while Antony Loewenstein believes the image defines our nation.

UPDATE. Romeo Mike emails: “It may have something to do with QANTAS outsourcing overseas, as that’s their advertising jingle he’s used and the characters are wearing overalls. But I don’t know what the Japanese connection would be.”

UPDATE II. Loewenstein: “You poor people can’t understand the cartoon? I’m a racist? The howls and screams from the usual people is hilarious. Take another look. And spare the faux outrage.”

UPDATE III. Loewenstein explains, after a fashion:

People. I can’t say for sure what Leak had in mind…but i presume it’s to do with outsourcing jobs (in the Murdoch rag last week).

How this is racist is beyond me.

It’s a comment on a very touchy subject.

I have other interpretations – including the ever-increasing removal of jobs to other parts of Asia – but Leak, like much of his wonderful work, is both provocative and timely.

End of story. And, posting a cartoon isn’t actually the same as drawing it. Rather large distinction, but that’s just me.

I like Leak, I liked the cartoon.

UPDATE IV: I’m a friend of Bill Leak—the arguments are sometimes loud—and should point out that he’s no racist. This particular cartoon is a worry, though, for obvious reasons. Worse was that Loewenstein thought it somehow defining of Australia, a remark he doesn’t seem able to explain. Instead, he’s dodging questions:

Perhaps taking issue with Leak would be more appropriate – I didn’t draw it – but why bother with that?

Here’s one reason: because Leak didn’t claim the cartoon “defin[ed] a nation.” Your words, Antony.

Posted by Tim B. on 10/22/2005 at 09:13 PM
    1. The caltoons of Birr Reak and Aran Moil reave me cord.

      Posted by blogstrop on 2005 10 22 at 11:05 PM • permalink


    1. Australian POWs shipped to Japan as slave-labourers during World War II rejoicing at the news of the bombing of Hiroshima??

      Posted by Susan Norton on 2005 10 22 at 11:37 PM • permalink


    1. Something to do with Asian bird flu?

      Posted by Lucky Nutsacks on 2005 10 22 at 11:40 PM • permalink


    1. Iriots! Is obvrious!!

      Posted by Lucky Nutsacks on 2005 10 22 at 11:45 PM • permalink


    1. Romeo Mike is right: the cartoon clearly refers to The Australian‘s Friday scoop about Qantas outsourcing maintenance jobs. But why does Antony Lowenstein believe tbis defines Australia? Has he mistaken the cartoon’s message to have something to do with mandatory detention? I suppose one could mistake the cherry-blossom boughs (I can’t explain those, but I will ask my esteemed colleague about them tomorrow) for razor wire.

      Posted by Imre on 2005 10 22 at 11:55 PM • permalink


    1. Cripes, Imre’s a smart young chap.

      I saw it in the paper and went, “what the blooming heck is Bill on about now?”

      Perhaps Antony thinks that the outsourcing of jobs is what defines Australian, with, for example, the decline of the manufacturing industry and stuff.

      Don’t know, you’d have to ask him.

      Posted by Major Anya on 2005 10 23 at 12:00 AM • permalink


    1. It’s a musical.  The Japanese have decided to put on a tribute to Peter Allen.  Or something. … Hmmm.  No.  Don’t get it at all.

      Posted by Janice on 2005 10 23 at 12:01 AM • permalink


    1. Couldn’t be Qantas surely? Bill probably doesn’t read the business section…,5744,16994849%5E5001641,00.html

      Matthew Stevens

      “But Dixon’s Qantas is in fact one of Australia’s greatest job creators. Since 1995, Qantas has actually increased its total workforce by 10,000. Yep. While the hard-man of the airlines has talked redundancies and job-shifting, Qantas has actually created Australian jobs at an average of about 1000 a year. That is 2.7 jobs a day for a decade.”

      and, quoting Qantas boss Geoff Dixon:

      “And by making sure we get results, we get the chance to employ more Australians.”


      Posted by Forester on 2005 10 23 at 12:06 AM • permalink


    1. Mount Fuji and levitating asians. This is the pinnacle of political satire is it? I guess I need Roewenstein to exprain it to me.

      Posted by CB on 2005 10 23 at 12:12 AM • permalink


    1. Could it also be a statemant about dyslexic cartoonists.

      Posted by slatts on 2005 10 23 at 12:19 AM • permalink


    1. Check out some cartoons that seem to make sense:

      Posted by Inurbanus on 2005 10 23 at 12:35 AM • permalink


    1. #8 – Don’t expect a feral like Leak to acknowledge that kind of information.

      Its just another chance to jump up and down about globalisation being the root of all evil – and why miss an opportunity?

      Posted by JamesP on 2005 10 23 at 12:36 AM • permalink


    1. Obviously Bill was scraping the barrel with this one. Must have had something better to do.

      Maybe one day he’ll actually with the Archibald. “Eleventh time luckey, hey Bill”

      Posted by Mospact on 2005 10 23 at 12:42 AM • permalink


    1. Unless I’m mistaken, the Leftard has disabled comments.

      Posted by J F Beck on 2005 10 23 at 12:48 AM • permalink


    1. How about the dimwit commenter on Loewenstein’s blog who had to ask if those ‘nips’ were “Japs, Chinese or Vietcong?” Evil Pundit pointed out the subtle clues to him.

      Posted by slammer on 2005 10 23 at 12:52 AM • permalink


    1. #14, Nah, I’m seeing new ones on the thread over there.

      Posted by Sortelli on 2005 10 23 at 12:53 AM • permalink


    1. #14
      <sarcasm> i can’t understand why he would do such a thing</sarcasm>

      Posted by Mospact on 2005 10 23 at 12:53 AM • permalink


    1. But the story in The Australian refers to China and Singapore. The cartoon refers to Japan.

      Surely Bill Leak couldn’t be so racist that he can’t tell the difference between Chinese and Japanese?

      Posted by Evil Pundit on 2005 10 23 at 12:59 AM • permalink


    1. Cross posted at dreamboat’s:

      Ah, I get it. I finally get it.

      The fact that the cartoon people are Asian is just a piece of misdirection. Ergo, it’s not racist at all.

      Pay attention people and understand the nuances. The fact that the cherry blossoms are pink is obviously a reference to the feminine side and the people in the blue jump suits refers to the masculine.

      The Pagodas and Mt Fuji are, for anyone to see phallic.

      The message of the cartoon is “Men and women should have sex at home”.

      How’d I go Ant-sy?


      Posted by The Thin Man Returns on 2005 10 23 at 01:08 AM • permalink


    1. Who’s getting mad at faux?

      Posted by Inurbanus on 2005 10 23 at 01:46 AM • permalink


    1. At least a couple of illogicalities here.

      From Leak; the outsourcing stories refer to Asia, particularly China and Singapore, and North America. Then why do a cartoon with only Japanese symbols, Mt Fuji, cherrybossoms and a temple? If you were going to outsource to anywhere in Asia to cut costs, Japan would be the last place to do it. I’m no cartoonists but referring to more than one potential outsourcing site would seem to make sense, rather than just refer to one that wasn’t mentioned but was, i suppose, close enough for bill’s purposes.

      From Loewenstein; “i don’t really get it but it defines Australia.”  ??

      What on earth does he think defines Australia?? Confusion?

      Posted by Francis H on 2005 10 23 at 02:22 AM • permalink


    1. Nora, here’s a crossposting of my own:

      You know what’s the most telling, Ant? All your usual suspects who rush in to take bullets for you when you post something silly are strangely absent on this thread. This post of yours is so on the nose that even they won’t touch it. Here’s a hint, Antony – this shit is not okay and has overtly racist overtones to it. A spectacular own goal, I feel.

      Posted by James Waterton on 2005 10 23 at 02:27 AM • permalink


    1. Ah! sorry to bust in again but I think i get it.

      See, if Bill had referred to a poorer Asian country like China, he could too easily have been taken to task for making fun of a decision (in a condescending and possibly racist way)  that could see good jobs being made available in a developing country – something most normal people don’t have anything against. By referring to Japan he makes it look as if Qantas is making a country that is already wealthier than ours even better off – and at the expense of Aussie battlers.

      I think my theory is good except – given what was in the article, why not just have a bunch of American tradesman jumping in front of symbols like the Statue of Liberty golden gate bridge etc. That would have got everyone to whom Leak tries to appeal guffawing at the Qantas decision.

      My theory may need some adjustment.

      Posted by Francis H on 2005 10 23 at 02:31 AM • permalink


    1. Janice-I think you are right about it being a musical, but I can think of only three that might use happy workers singing in front of a backdrop of Mt.Fuji.  It’s either Sayonara, without Marlon Brando, the intro to The Mikado or Madame Butterfly’s suicide scene, without Madame Butterfly, Lt. Pinkerton or the suicide.

      Posted by Pat Patterson on 2005 10 23 at 02:37 AM • permalink


    1. #23- my theory is that Leak was high as a kite.

      Posted by slammer on 2005 10 23 at 02:46 AM • permalink


    1. Once again The Ant demonstrates his agility….to stick his foot in his mouth, whilst his head is firmly inserted up his arse.

      Posted by The_Real_JeffS on 2005 10 23 at 02:48 AM • permalink


    1. JeffS,

      Foot in mouth, and head up ass, that has to be really, really painful.  Of course lefties do love self-imposed pain, don’t they?  Being a miserablist seems to be their utmost ambition.  Geesh, what a fucking terrible way to live your life.

      Posted by David Crawford on 2005 10 23 at 03:35 AM • permalink


    1. I’d do a crosspost of my own, but Loewenstein’s post makes me cross.

      Posted by TimT on 2005 10 23 at 04:20 AM • permalink


    1. David, lefties seem to be a glutton for (self-imposed) punishment.

      Posted by The_Real_JeffS on 2005 10 23 at 04:40 AM • permalink


    1. Ah so! Me so solly, Lowenstein san! I rike very much funny picture of honorable salaryman stealing western round eye job! You not at all sneering refty hypocrit scumbag!

      Posted by Amos on 2005 10 23 at 04:51 AM • permalink


    1. The sacred Fujiyama is covered in rubbish (literally) right up to the snowline. Empty Coke cans, poly containers, you name it, all dumped by the locals who climb and “worship” there. Silly bastards. If Leak can claim to get inside their minds to any extent at all, he must have been involved in many hanami events and smoked a couple of rolled leaves, as well.

      Posted by you bet on 2005 10 23 at 05:19 AM • permalink


    1. Must find loot cause.

      Posted by blogstrop on 2005 10 23 at 05:57 AM • permalink


    1. If it had turned out that this cartoon had been done by a non-lefty, would the other lefties have still applauded it, or would they be condemning it?

      Posted by Blithering Bunny on 2005 10 23 at 06:47 AM • permalink


    1. I think I have it – he was channeling Michael Crichton from the 90’s maybe?

      Mind you I dont think outsourcing jobs to Japan is a way to save money.

      Posted by rbresca on 2005 10 23 at 07:09 AM • permalink


    1. #25, Slammer is right.  Leak should definitely not cartoon on evenings when the AA meeting has been cancelled.

      Posted by cuckoo on 2005 10 23 at 07:30 AM • permalink


    1. If you Aussies can’t figure it out, imagine how confused I am here in America.  I went to the cartoonist’s site to see if there was something of a thread going to help decipher the latest cartoon.  That only confused the matter further.
      But I can offer a guess of sorts.  Mt. Fuji is symbolic, as it was once a dynamic volcano and is now dormant (like the Japanese economy vis-a-vis the last thirty years).  It can, and may, erupt again.  The cherry blossoms represent spring, and renewal of life after a dormant stage (recurring theme here).  The pagoda represents nothing, it just happened to be in the picture that the cartoonist plagerized.  The blue suits represent peace while the motto above represents Japanese desire to try to annex Australia once again; a sort of re-awakening of Japanese militancy (more recurring theme).  Clearly the artist is stating that he feels the Australian continent is in danger from the Japanese; that the whole area is under imminent threat despite the current peacefulness.
      I agree.  Let me know if you need to borrow a nuke or two.

      Posted by Diggs on 2005 10 23 at 08:07 AM • permalink


    1. Aaaaah sooo crose Diggs-

      Birr Reaks-must have been dlopping the acid-and he see into future.

      Chinese have taken over Tiawan because that bleak away province.  Once we get Tiawan we leap to Japan.

      President Hirrary Crinton give us Japan because no SDI and we say we going to make the place rook rike vorcanoes have brown up all over the prace.  We wove that democrat Truman -he give world H-bomb-now we rule.

      So we discover through complicated DNA testing that the Aborigines really are beronging to us, and we love you rike that for rong time.  See are outstretched arms?  We coming to bring you Aussies back into the ford.

      Prus we run outta women fork with that One Child Poricy sooo…..

      Mamma I’m comin’ home!

      That Ozzie Ousborne is some good shit-you name city after him?

      Posted by madawaskan on 2005 10 23 at 10:39 AM • permalink


    1. I might not always agree with his take on things but, in so many ways, Leak is a gifted and admirable man.

      Not sure what Anthony’s driving at, though.

      Posted by C.L. on 2005 10 23 at 11:13 AM • permalink


    1. This thread would probably make more sense if the link still linked to the right cartoon. Dunno how the budgies in the current one define Australia.

      But how dare you deny Flavius Antonius’ right to define Australia for the rest of us.  His distinguished ancestor made a good living defining the Jews for his Roman readers after he’d finished betraying them.  Some things are simply timeless.

      Posted by richard mcenroe on 2005 10 23 at 04:22 PM • permalink


    1. The obvious point not made yet is why didn’t the editor ask the same questions, and block publishing this stupid nonsense?
      That says a lot about The Australian, where the opinion page has been infected by hysterical Leak so much that the letters now echo his rabid anti-Americanism and anti-Howardism.
      If only ol’Murdoch knew how his flagship is foundering these days -editorials excepted…

      Posted by Barrie on 2005 10 23 at 06:22 PM • permalink


    1. #21 What on earth does he think defines Australia?? Confusion?

      Poor understanding of geography?

      Posted by Art Vandelay on 2005 10 23 at 09:23 PM • permalink


  1. Surely Bill Leak couldn’t be so racist that he can’t tell the difference between Chinese and Japanese?

    If he is, no leftist will ever call him on it.

    Posted by Stoop Davy Dave on 2005 10 24 at 04:49 PM • permalink