by | 11.17.2010 | 12:46am
By Ray Paulick

(UPDATE: A Paulick Report reader pointed out that by including a link to Indian Charlie or Ed Musselman on our home page, we may tacitly be approving or condoning potentially insensitive or offensive material in the Indian Charlie newsletter. To erase any doubts, we do not approve or condone such material. The home page links to the newsletter are being removed.)

Jim Squires, the former editor of the Chicago Tribune who with wife Mary Anne operates Two Bucks Farm in Versailles, Ky., was scratching his head after being the subject of what many saw as a
race-baiting cartoon in the Indian Charlie newsletter recently, so he did what many people would do under similar circumstances: He wrote a letter to the editor of the publication, Ed Musselman.

The cartoon depicted Squires in the company of three prominent African Americans — Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, along with political activitists Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson – under a headline: GREAT MINDS THINK ALIKE, and said Squires was “poising” with the three men at what Musselman referred to as a “DemocRAT fundraiser.”

The letter, emailed from Squires to Musselman, read:

Subject: equal space

Date: Wed, 10 Sep 2008 11:22:58 -0400

 Dear Indian Charlie, I have been looking for you at the sale to thank you for putting my picture in your sheet with my buddies Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and Barack Obama.


I know you are just trying to help me sell my yearlings to the liberal African-American community organizer share of the market that Tom Thornbury has assured me will definitely show up in week 16, Book 26, where I am catalogued.


 If you see them before I do, please tell them my yearlings come with a free supply of Clenbuterol.


Gratefully yours,   Two Bucks Jim Squires

Musselman opted not to run the letter and give equal space to Squires, who followed up his years at the politically conservative Chicago Tribune by serving as spokesman for the third-party presidential candidate Ross Perot in 1992 (the same year he bought his first Thoroughbred; Squires later bred 2001 Kentucky Derby winner Monarchos). Squires also was a member of the Kentucky Racing Commission. His reference to Clenbuterol in the letter to Musselman is connected with a reported positive test for Clenbuterol in Delaware in a horse owned by Squires and trained by Larry Jones. Squires is disputing the test result.

Instead, Musselman put his cartoonist to work on
another racially-charged cartoon, this one showing Squires sitting next to a woman the newsletter parodied as TV talk show host “Offa Winfrey” in front of a large television monitor displaying Obama's picture. The cartoon accompanied a story under a headline about an “Irate DemocRAT,” Squires, who had complained to a fellow consignor at Keeneland about the original Indian Charlie cartoon. The story included an “apology” from Musselman that said: “We would like to sincerely apologize to Two Bucks if we hurt his feelings.”

In the accompanying article, Musselman wrote that Squires “
was not happy with what this publication thought was a complement (sic), referring to Mr. Squires as having a 'great mind,' which he obviously does, having won the Pulitzer Prize while editor of the Chicago Tribune.” (The Tribune actually won seven Pulitzer Prizes under Squires' leadership.) The article concluded by saying Squires will be “the featured guest on the Offa Winfrey show this Friday afternoon.”  (Oprah Winfrey's talk show is taped in Squires' former residence, Chicago, which is also the home of Jesse Jackson and Barack Obama.)

These newsletter items about Squires are not the first sarcastic or potentially offensive references to members of minority groups by Musselman, who has repeatedly referred to California owner-breeder Jess Jackson as the “white Jesse Jackson” and in a recent edition referred to Kentucky breeder Arthur Hancock as “the luckiest white man in Bourbon County” because he “got a good woman AND a hoe.” Another reference this week used the term “Chinaman's chance,” which Asian American organizations and others have called offensive.

The United States Constitution protects free speech and freedom of the press, which entitles Musselman to continue to publish what some may view as an often racially charged publication. What is curious about the Indian Charlie newsletter is what might be interpreted as tacit approval of Musselman and his racial parodies by Keeneland, which has constructed a specific distribution box for the publication in the entrance to its sale pavilion.

Keeneland, which has supported the newsletter through advertising, does business with buyers and consignors of many races, religions and ethnic groups from around the world. The company also has a history exclusively employing African Americans in such positions as washroom attendants and auction ring handlers.

Perhaps Squires should have directed his letter to Nick Nicholson, the president and CEO of Keeneland, rather than to Musselman. Nicholson might be able to better explain the meaning of Musselman's attempts at ethnic humor and why Keeneland does everything possible to support the newsletter. While he's at it, Nicholson also might explain that to Keeneland's African-American work force.

Copyright © 2008, The Paulick Report

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