There can be no denying that Clovis is a talented illustrator and satirist. Las May is the only other regular political/social cartoonist in Jamaica enjoying wide publication and there is simply no comparison as Clovis is in color and more colorful!
Which is exactly why Clovis’ renderings are heart-rending for their partisan attacks on PNP politicians, and for the flagrantly misogynistic and homophobic cheap-shot humor in which Clovis sometimes engages.
As I write, the cartoon above is Clovis’ contribution to the dialogue — depicting Roger Clarke in a derogatory light. Don’t you ever do that Clovis! Why disrespect Busha like that? Because Butch Stewart is supporting the JLP now, we get it, Butch is free to support the political party of his choice. But a man like Clovis shouldn’t have to hold a brief for Butch. Where is Clovis’ creative control? Is someone forcing him to make these ad hominem attacks on the PNP even though it is a party in tatters, out of power, and having trouble paying its bills?
Where is Clovis’ courage? How come he doesn’t seem to have the balls to challenge the JLP and its ministers currently serving in office. To the extent that any cartoon of his since the change in government can be seen as critical of JLP politicians it has an obligatory criticism of a PNP politician as well.
More distressing than his nakedly partisan and cliche’d criticism of the Opposition, is the cartoon-hagiography Clovis engages in on Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart’s behalf. We get it, Butch is a beneficent, beatific businessman. We get it! Do we really have to be clubbed over the head with propaganda on Butch’s magnificence? Even DaVinci had patrons that needed some flattering portraits now and then (See: Mona Lisa) but I doubt it rivaled the frequency of flattering cartoons Butch commands, if they weren’t already caricatures — what else could these cartoons be described as?
Then there is the misogyny and underlying classism commonly directed at Portia.
Granted Portia has a habit of saying unfortunate things but isn’t the tiresome portrayal of her as being a market-woman cliche by now? Isn’t Clovis afraid his hand will get repetitive stress injury if he draws Portia as a ‘stray-gey’ or Omar in a dunce-cap again?
As he makes a point to note in Ross Sheil’s piece in First-Magazine, the woman dem love him. Can Clovis love dem back in his art-wuk or must he always resort to sexism to critique Portia’s politics?
And last but not least, where is Clovis’ editorial integrity? Gays are not a popular constituency in Jamaica, and no one wants to be the one to stand up for them. But to join in the gay-bashing, especially as a way to attack a political party is just disgraceful. Granted this cartoon had me rolling; first because it is genuinely funny and second due to a thought that popped into my head “Given the prevalence of certain rumors I’m surprised the Observer would print this!” But with the reality that in Jamaica gay-bashing is synonymous with genocide, Clovis should know there is no room for gay-bashing in truly civil commentary.
In closing, Clovis is an Observer MVP, his cartoons display remarkable talent and he can compete with any cartoonist available at Slate’s CartoonBox. And since there is no ready archive to go see his cartoons, like many avid readers, I make sure to stop by once every two days. That’s why we have a higher standard for Clovis, ah him set di higher expectations.
All cartoons are copyrighted by Clovis Brown who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Used here under ‘fair use’ provisions of copyright law.
Photo copyrighted by Peter Dean Richards who can be reached at email@example.com.