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to sept. 23

For all their fondness for soundbites, neither Bill O’Reilly or Keith Olbermann can crystallize a debate like an old-fashioned political cartoon. The simple pen-and-ink caricatures that populate newspapers’ editorial pages may push the boundaries between commentary and sloganeering, but they’re often more memorable than interminable news-channel gum-flapping. Provisions Library’s “Drawing Back” appraises the world’s view of the United States via selected political cartoons from Canada to Johannesburg. It won’t be a surprise to learn that folks aren’t fond of Dubya and his Iraq adventure: Critiques of Persian Gulf War II: The Return encompass the audacious (Thomas Boldt of the Calgary Sun’s September in the Middle East, a calendar page filled with “11’s”), the shameless (German Heiko Sakurai’s images of W. getting intelligence from a clown), and the brazen (Australian Peter Lewis’ jarring image of Condoleeza Rice as a bird of prey with the banner “Blackhawk Up”). If an exhibition subtitled “Why Do They Hate US?” embraces one-note politics, at least artists such as Stephanie Paray—a Frenchwoman whose distinctively blocky work is published in Thailand—at least provide a broader look at a sentiment we don’t often see on American editorial pages. The cartoons are paired with protest posters by D.C.’s own left-of-left wheat-paster Mike Flugennock (pictured). You might wince at his relentless imagery, but you will find yourself unable to deny his work the attention it obviously wants. “Drawing Back: Cartoon Critiques of America” is on view from noon to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday to Saturday, Sept. 23, at Provisions Library, 1611 Connecticut Ave. NW. Free. (202) 299-0460. (Justin Moyer)