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MiscellaneousDaimlerChrysler Rewriting Jeep History?
Posted by mike on 2003/2/11 0:00:00 (2232) reads

Did DaimlerChrysler pay tribute to legendary cartoonist Bill Mauldin by modifying his work?

TheStreet.com is running an interesting article titled "The Five Dumbest Things on Wall Street This Week" with a tidbit regarding DaimlerChrysler's salute to legendary cartoonist Bill Mauldin. It seems that Mr. Mauldin created several Jeep-centric World War II cartoons - in one of them, a grief-stricken soldier is about to shoot his Jeep in the hood to put it out of its misery after the Jeep suffered a flat tire (similar to shooting a horse with a broken leg).

So what's the problem with all this? It seems that in paying tribute to Mr. Mauldin, DaimlerChrysler modified the original cartoon replacing the gun with a box of tissues! Here's a snippet from the article:

It was a nice gesture by Jeep manufacturer DaimlerChrysler this week to mourn the death of cartoonist Bill Mauldin. But we at the lab object to how the company rewrote history in the process. Or, more precisely, redrew it.

Some words of explanation for all of you tykes out there. Back during World War II, Sgt. Mauldin became a folk hero among his fellow soldiers, thanks to the series of cartoons he drew for the armed forces newspaper Stars and Stripes. Revolving around two beaten-down infantrymen, Willie and Joe, the cartoons depicted war on the European front from the ground level -- not heroic clashes, but a perpetual quest for a decent night's sleep and a dry pair of socks. Mauldin's cartoons were popular enough to incur the wrath of Gen. George Patton, who Mauldin said accused him of lowering the Army's morale.

...snip...

There in The New York Times we see a full-page advertisement paying tribute to Mauldin -- an ad placed by DaimlerChrysler, whose Jeeps played supporting and even starring roles in many of Mauldin's wartime cartoons. (Well, the semi-Stuttgart-based manufacturer didn't own Jeep during WWII, but that's not relevant to this story.)

"With great sadness, the Jeep brand says goodbye to the great cartoonist who immortalized the heroic enlisted men of WWII," reads the ad. And above that farewell to Mauldin, the ad reproduces a classic Mauldin Jeep-centric cartoon: a GI, shielding his eyes with sadness, reaching for a box of tissues sitting on the hood of a Jeep.

Oops. There's a little problem here. That cartoon, which DaimlerChrysler duplicated in loving tribute, is not, in fact, Mauldin's original cartoon.

In the original version, you see, the soldier isn't reaching for a box of tissues. There's no box on the hood. Instead, the soldier's outstretched hand holds a pistol pointed at the hood of the Jeep. Reluctantly, the soldier is about to shoot his vehicle in the hood.

See, that's the joke. The left front wheel of the Jeep has collapsed, you might notice. It's the WWII equivalent of a horse that has broken its leg. The heartbroken rider must shoot the horse in the head and put him out of its misery.

So, there you have it. In paying tribute to Mauldin, DaimlerChrysler has completely glossed over the dark humor that was an essential part of his appeal. They're preserving his memory by changing his work. And we don't like it.

Admittedly, we're alone on this issue right now. A spokeswoman for Stars and Stripes, which owns the copyright on the cartoon, says that the publication has no problem with the revised cartoon.

Be sure to check out the entire article and take a look at the original and modified cartoon for yourself.

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Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: I don't think he would've approved...
Artists are always about intellectual property & such....

Also, with having a story like this, at least show the picture
Mike in Chesapeake

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: Remo Bianco
here is my comment- These are the same people who fought for the Jeep grill 7-bar motif. Creepy!

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: JeepWorker
C'mon it's a tribute to a great man. It's really not that hard to understand.

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: just one artist
"It's a creative thing. Non artists just wouldn't understand." It is an insult to think one is honoring someone by altering the very thing for which he or she was known. Someone's art is not open to an after market add on.

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: Pissed Off
here is my comment
I hate FUCKING SITES that don't let you go back to your browser. BASTARDS

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: Jerry
I agree with this article. Call it what it is: In the name of political correctness, original art has been altered to appease some people. I remember seeing that tribute to Bill Maudin in USA TODAY, and even though I never saw the original until now, I remember thinking something wasn't quite right. oooooooh!!!! guns!!!!! It looks so out of place for a soldier. no?(sarcastic) If the creative idiots at DC had left the cartoon alone, the message still would have been clear: all great icons (both living and nonliving) must someday come to an end.

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: Stephen P,
Your curt interpretation entirely misses the
intent of this modified Mauldin cartoon. DC
and Jeep are much more likely mourning the
loss of this WWII historian/cartoonist by
representing the tissue box. One may wish to
question the wisdom of this interpretation, or,
more accurately, show respect and a token of
appreciation in honor of the memory of Mr.
Mauldin.

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: XJKEN
I think it was more a comment about the loss of Mr. Mauldin than a comment
about Jeep. Just my .02 cents.

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: Stephen P,
They should receive the "Master of the
Obvious" certificate, at the very least. Amen!
However, I see no fault in capitalizing upon a
known historical identity. It comes off as a
moving tribute derived from things that are
part of our life experiences.

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: MalcomXJ
His comment was clearly an attempt to impune the integrity of DC. DC's alteration and publication of the altered cartoon was clearly an attempt to capitalize on the public relations opportunity that presented itself with the death of Mauldin.

What's not clear is your intent in re-stating the obvious.

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: to hell with hondas
hey man sorry it was just a joke.

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: Stephen P,
I see your response more as a futile attempt
to be clever and impune the integrity of DC/
Jeep. Not clever. Not recognizing the
respectful tissue box token of sadness and
mourning of an important historical reference.
I am glad to see numerous responses that
agree with the clear understanding of this
cartoon interpretation. Thank you.

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: to hell with hondas
its a jeep thing, the germans wouldnt understand! :)

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: OR Bruce
Man, you shouldn't mess around with Willie and Joe. My Dad served in Europe, and I read "Up Front" over and over as a kid. It sounds like the intent here was to do a takeoff on Mauldin's famous cartoon as a tribute, but that the meaning got lost in the PR department. My Dad at 83 still worships Mauldin as the guy who got it right.
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