Last night I wrote a quick post about my feelings on the happenings in France yesterday. I’d like to take a moment here to reiterate and build upon my thoughts from last night.
It is a sad day for art, satire, and cartooning. While I am not familiar with the work of this publication, it is a sad thing to see this kind of reaction still in the world.
It is the will of the weak and depraved to try to stifle the the voice of the creative and the courageous. Anyone who finds an outlet for their frustration in the world through creative means is an artist. If you write, sing, sculpt, draw, paint, dance, bake, or do taxidermy, or a million other things… by putting yourself out there in your own medium, expressing your views and having the strength to stand by those views… Well the world needs more of you.
As a cartoonist, I am having a hard time understanding this. It is our job to make fun of the world around us, to keep the world in a perspective most people fail to see things in, and at times even expose the darker truths of the world (an even ourselves). Again while I’m unfamiliar with the publication, I liken it to someone going in and shooting up Mad Magazine here in the US. Is that close?
There’s an episode of South Park I always think of when I’m unsure if a doodle of mine, or a joke I’m writing is going too far. I don’t think of the Muhamed/Censorship episode, but a simpler version of this commentary. In the Cartoon Wars episodes of South Park we discover that Family Guy is written by manatees in an idea tank. If you were to take an idea ball out of the tank, the manatees will stop writing all together. The Manatees are described as black and white and it is their view that either EVERYTHING is okay to make fun of or NOTHING is.
I have always felt this way in my brain. Either it’s all okay, or nothing is.
In moments like these we’re forced to reevaluate those positions, questioning whether or not we should say certain things just because we can. I reevaluate anytime creativity is threatened or silenced. While I don’t consider most anything I talk about risque or provocative, I wonder what I will say in the future and how it will affect others. I have always maintained that my work is at best base level satire. At times a place for me to write angry comedic rants about things on my mind, but more often than not just a place where I can draw silly pictures and entertain some folks. I was gifted with very supportive surroundings, both growing up and now as an adult. I was taught to stand up for myself and others, not to let bullies win, and to take a stand for something in my life. I also know that if today I was told that I was no longer allowed to draw dick jokes, the only thing I would draw for the next year would be dicks everywhere. I wasn’t a rebellious teen, but I’m a frustrated adult with something to say, a loud mouth for which to say it, and an even louder pen for when my jaw gets wired shut.
My heart goes out to the families of the victims from this mess. To the journalists, police, and cartoonists; thank you for what you brought to your corner of the world. You didn’t deserve this, I hope you know more people rally for your cause than theirs right now.
To the cowards hiding behind “the will of god” or whatever you’d call it. You wasted your time. You didn’t silence anyone, you only made the rest of the community louder, you’ve only brought us together more.
Let me also be clear about the terrorists. The greater cause of all this isn’t a religion proper, it’s the zealots who give others a bad name. The real enemy isn’t Muslims, it isn’t Christians, or Jews. The problem is wack-a-doo nut jobs who take works of allegory too literally. EVERY religion has their extremists Muslims have to put up with assholes like these two, or the any number of suicide bomber, just like Christians have to put up with Westboro Baptist Church. It doesn’t make it right or even the playing field, in fact it only continues to clutter the lives of regular folks trying to make from point a to point b. Just remember the next time Fox “news” tells you this is because of “Muslim Extremists” it’s actually just the work of Extremists, run of the mill, violent, mentally debilitated extremists. It’s not really about religion, it’s about weak-minded cowards trying to silence opinions they disagree with. Well fuck those guys.
Je Suis Charlie…