Wendy (here_be_dragons) wrote,

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My Take on the Cartoons

Well, I feel like this is "old news," but I've wanted to post something about it, and finally found the right vehicle to do so. I'm sure by now, everyone has heard about the cartoons that were commissioned by a Danish newspaper editor, cartoons depicting the prophet Muhammed. I didn't want to link to an article which contained the cartoons themselves, as I feel they are entirely inappropriate and offensive, and I wasn't sure I wanted to just ramble on about it in my own words. Well, here's Gary Trudeau's (author of Doonesbury) take on the matter, and I really agree with what he has to say . . .

[Note - all bolded emphasis is mine]

Q - Are you going to make a cartoon response to the plight of your fellow cartoonists in Denmark who are now in hiding, in fear for their lives? Will you be making any sort of public statement? - - Larry, Santa Rosa, CA

A - This issue may or may not prove to be something GBT addresses in the strip itself, as he did when the fatwa was declared against Salman Rushdie. However, we're happy to share with readers his recent comments to the San Francisco Chronicle:

What do you think of the State Department's statement, essentially condemning the publication of the cartoons in European newspapers?

A concession to reality. It's the State Department. What is the U.S. supposed to say -- that it approves of cartoons that set off demonstrations around the world? Just how much more hated in the Muslim world do we need to be?

Why has the U.S. news media (broadcast and print), almost universally refused to publish the cartoons?

I assume because they believe, correctly, it is unnecessarily inflammatory. It's legal to run them, but is it wise? The Danish editor who started all this actually recruited cartoonists to draw offensive cartoons (some of those he invited declined). And why did he do it? To demonstrate that in a Western liberal society he could. Well, we already knew that. Some victory for freedom of expression. An editor who deliberately sets out to provoke or hurt people because he's worried about "self-censorship" is not an editor I'd care to work for.

Will you be including any images of the Prophet Muhammad in upcoming cartoons?

No. Nor will I be using any imagery that mocks Jesus Christ.

What do you think of the Joint Chiefs issuing a protest to The Washington Post over the cartoon of the U.S. soldier/amputee returning from Iraq?

Well, it was a literal reading on their part. Toles wasn't mocking wounded soldiers -- he was just using a strong metaphor. I thought it was an effective cartoon, but the blowback was understandable, and I'm sure Tom was ready for it.

Is there an echo?

If you mean a personal echo, not really. I have 600 client editors, and I don't for a moment expect them all on any given day to judge my work suitable for their wildly different audiences. We have editors for a reason. Just because a society has almost unlimited freedom of expression doesn't mean we should ever stop thinking about its consequences in the real world. If The New York Times had commissioned a dozen vicious, anti-Semitic cartoons, would we be having a comparable debate? I don't think so.

(The article originally appeared here).
Tags: current events, peace, politics

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