I got fired from my first cartooning job because I poked some fun at the Pike house (a college fraternity) that they really didn’t appreciate. They were notorious on campus as the worst of the worst and the cartoon played up that image with a few “extra kinks” thrown in. The Pikes sent a delegation of four to five burly young men to complain to the Editor every single day until my strip was pulled.
I got fired from my second cartooning job about six months later because a character in the strip (a rather insensitive gynocologist who literally kept the tools of his trade in a small refrigerator under the exam table) apparently bore some type of resemblance to one of the magazine’s advertisers. He of course decided it was all about him. I can’t attest to the looks of the man since I never actually saw him, though in all fairness he did turn out to be a GYN.
Today I have been reading about all the people killed, injured, and arrested over a series of twelve cartoons that painted them as violent. (That was flip, there’s more to it than that, though this IS how the West is going to see it.) The cartoons came out of Denmark, with the worst of them portraying Mohammad wearing a turban shaped like a bomb with a lit fuse. Not exactly a religiously sensitive portrayal, but since the Danish paper is apparently not Muslim, it would be unreasonable for them to adopt Muslim prohibitions about depictions of religious figures.
Cities have been shut down in protest to these cartoons. Denmark has lost an ambassy, as has Norway. (Apparently I’m not the only one who has trouble telling the Norwegians and the Danes apart. Sorry guys, I’m a doofus.) A Danish consulate and bank have also been burned to the ground, and Germany, France, and Austria (who hates Austria?) have had their embassies attacked. Death threats from highly placed religious and political figures have been the order of the day, and Lebanon has started firing members of government.
My favorite statements have been from the Catholic church, who basically said that no freedom of speech should extend to poking fun of somebody’s religion, and the Foriegn Minister of Turkey who was complaining that Arabs were replacing Jews as the world’s whipping boy.
Now when I see a cartoon I disagree with I tend to ignore it. After all, I can just make another that says the opposite. But in the end, I know it’s just something one guy thought was funny, no matter how offensive it is to everyone else. One guy’s opinion. There are a bunch of Holy Rollers out there who would hate and villify my web comic because I include magic and demons and am obviously in league with the devil. (I say “would” because I doubt I’ll ever be looked at enough to catch their arch attention.) I can stand on a street corner and shout “WIZARD!” all day long, but as soon as I draw a picture of it, (which is nothing more than a different expression of my opinion) folks get all weirded out.
For me, I just keep thinking of that poor schlub who works at that Danish newspaper drawing funny pictures. I’d sure hate to be THAT guy!