Editorial cartoonist links PDF to U.S.-Muslim misunderstandings

In the past on several occasions we’ve noted indicators of
the growing popularity of Adobe Acrobat, Adobe Reader and/or
PDF, such as in our July 2003 article ‘HREF=’http://www.planetpdf.com/mainpage.asp?webpageid=2914′
TARGET=’_NEW’>An Acrobat Mystery: A dark and stormy (and
monstrous) PDF‘ that featured references to
Reader and PDF in a commercial, fiction best-seller.

This week we’ve run across another example — the
inclusion of both Reader and PDF in the dialogue of an
editorial cartoon, one focusing on the conflicts between the
U.S. military and the Muslim world. HREF=’http://www.tedrall.com/’ TARGET=’_NEW’>Ted Rall,
described as ‘America’s hardest-hitting editorial cartoonist
for Universal Press Syndicate,’ opens his four-panel,
black-and-white strip with an excerpt from a recent New York
Times HREF=’http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/nation/2920229′
TARGET=’_NEW’>article about the alleged failure by the
U.S. to adequately explain its Middle East policies and
intentions to Muslims. The article is based on a
recently released ‘HREF=’http://www.acq.osd.mil/dsb/reports/2004-09-Strategic_Communication.pdf’
TARGET=’_NEW’>Strategic Communication‘ report [PDF: 1.8
MB], issued by the HREF=’http://www.acq.osd.mil/dsb/reports.htm’
TARGET=’_NEW’>Defense Science Board. According to New
York Times journalist Thom Shanker, the report ‘scolds the
government for casting the new threat of Islamic extremism in
a way that offends a large portion of those living in the
Muslim world.

src=’http://www.planetpdf.com/images/trallcomic_pdfref1.gif’ width=’252′ height=’244′
border=’0′ alt=’Ted Rall comic’ align=’right’>Editorializing
on that theme, Rall’s first cartoon panel opens by showing a
laptop-equipped Muslim presumably viewing a U.S.
military-based Web site, preparing to download a document.
The text reads:

‘Here it is … ‘FAQs: Why We Bombed Your
Village, Killing Everyone You Loved.’ Download PDF

The final
cartoon panel shows a pair of Muslim men at a local Internet
cafe, huddled at the laptop, attempting to better understand
American policies by downloading and reading various
hypothetical documents, at least some of which are indicated
as being in PDF. But Rall uses that as a way to illustrate
part of the communication problem — one of the Muslim
characters is saying:

src=’http://www.planetpdf.com/images/trallcomic_pdfref2.gif’ width=’247′ height=’192′
border=’0′ alt=’Ted Rall comic’ align=’right’>

‘Americans are Dogs! Their ‘Why We Prop Up
Hated Dictators’ PDF Doesn’t Open.’

The second Arab man, for whatever reason shown waving a
small U. S. flag, responds:

‘No worries, Dude! Just download Adobe
Acrobat Reader. It’s Free!’

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About the Author: Kurt Foss

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