From left to right: Thomas Nast drawing of "Boss" Tweed; erotic drawing by Tomi Ungerer; Ralph Bakshi's "Coonskin." (Danger sign: Shutter) From left to right: Thomas Nast drawing of "Boss" Tweed; erotic drawing by Tomi Ungerer; Ralph Bakshi's "Coonskin." (Danger sign: Shutter)
Ideas/Commentary

6 Stories of Cartoonists Who Stood Against Tyranny

From left to right: Thomas Nast drawing of "Boss" Tweed; erotic drawing by Tomi Ungerer; Ralph Bakshi's "Coonskin." (Danger sign: Shutter)
From left to right: Thomas Nast drawing of “Boss” Tweed; erotic drawing by Tomi Ungerer; Ralph Bakshi’s “Coonskin.” (Danger sign: Shutterstock)

In light of yesterday’s horrific attack in Paris on the editors and staff of the satirical publication Charlie Hebdo, we thought it would be good to remember that the fight for freedom of expression has been a long and ongoing struggle—and the humble cartoonist has often found himself at the center of that struggle.

Throughout history and around the world, cartoonists have had their work banned and protested against, and have personally been intimidated, jailed, and murdered. Today we look at six such stories, from hundreds of possibilities, that show how cartoonists and illustrators have taken memorable stands against intimidation and tyranny.

Let us not forget that while cartoons can be silly and fun, they also remain one of our most effective weapons for exposing and confronting the forces of oppression and the structures of power that dominate our lives. The cartoonist is a powerful individual, and after yesterday, they are more powerful than ever. We must use the power wisely.

"Gargantua" by Honoré Daumier.
“Gargantua” by Honoré Daumier.
1. Honore Daumier and Charles Philipon

Daumier (1808-1879) found early fame from an 1831 drawing that the public almost didn’t see: “Gargantua,” a portrait of French King Louis-Philippe as a giant, swallowing bags of money brought him by minuscule servants. The King was exorbitantly wealthy, in part due to his “salary” of over 18 million francs annually, plus upkeep for his castles and palaces, much of this from taxes and levies on the poor. Daumier’s satire was to have been published in the magazine La Caricature, but the authorities put a stop to that.

Daumier was not alone. His editor, Charles Philipon (1800-1861), was also accused of insulting the King in the same indictment, thanks to his extended campaign to rebrand Louis-Philippe as a piece of fruit, specifically a pear. An article in La Caricature ridiculing the court’s decision to censor “Gargantua” was enough to force Daumier, Philipon (1800-1861), and Philipon’s brother-in-law, Gabriel Aubert, to stand trial.

poire-philipon

In court Philipon demonstrated the art of caricature by presenting a series of drawings that blurred the line between Louis-Philippe and a pear. He implored the court to indict his drawing of a Burgundy pear along with his pear-inspired drawings of the King: “You cannot acquit this sketch either, for it certainly resembles the other three.” This bit of bravado was quickly picked up in the streets, and the pear became a common element in satirical drawing of the time (the Streisand effect might be more accurately called the Philipon effect). However, the enhanced publicity did not help Philipon or his associates, who were sentenced to six months in jail, a 500 franc fine, plus legal fees and expenses. Philipon and Daumier were undaunted, and once free, quickly returned to work on a new magazine, Le Charivari, and greater success.


thomasnast-tweed-a
2. Thomas Nast

William “Boss” Tweed and his associates gained total power over the government of New York City in the late 1860s, and ran it to profit themselves and their cronies. Tweed’s influence spread from Tammany Hall, the political society that dominated New York politics for decades, right up to the State Legislature. Tweed’s nemesis was cartoonist Thomas Nast (1840-1902), whose cartoons attacking corruption appeared regularly in the pages of Harper’s Weekly.

The German-born immigrant Nast portrayed Tweed as a bloated, thuggish figure, in one instance with a bag of money for a head; in another, huddled with his cronies as vultures waiting out a storm. Nast’s cartoons were especially effective at reaching Tweed’s power base of Irish immigrants who were often illiterate. “Let’s stop them damned pictures,” Tweed was reported to have said. “I don’t care so much what the papers write about me—my constituents can’t read—but damned they can see the pictures.”

thomasnast-tweed-b

Tweed once sent a man to Nast offering him a bribe of $100,000, a “gift” that would allow Nast to go to Europe and further his artistic studies. Nast managed to bargain his way up to $500,000 (nearly $9 million in today’s dollars) before turning the offer down flat. Tweed’s men were unseated in the 1871 elections, in large part due to Nast’s biting portrayals.

After Tweed fled the country in 1875, he was arrested in Spain, where the authorities used Nast’s cartoons to help identify him. Tweed thus became the second most recognizable figure in Nast’s repertoire, right after Nast’s depictions of Santa Claus, which have remained iconic to this day.


ungerer_nokissformama
3. Tomi Ungerer

Among other accomplishments as a graphic artist, Jean-Thomas “Tomi” Ungerer (b. 1931) has written and illustrated dozens of children’s classics including The Three Robbers, Moon Man and The Mellops series. His distinctive wit, imaginative prose, and brilliant drawings have made him the subject of much admiration and some controversy. Not content with just producing children’s books, he began drawing albums of erotica, which made him suspect in the eyes of some parents and school boards.

tomiungerer-a

Can you trust a book full of cute, if disobedient, cats (No Kiss for Mama, 1973) if the artist also draws women in bondage gear (Fornicon, 1969)? Subtle yet pointed political commentary could also be found in the backgrounds of some of his children’s book drawings. His desire to draw as he pleased led to an unofficial ban on his books, and publishers allowed his titles to go out of print. Ungerer went into exile in Nova Scotia, Canada, and didn’t do another children’s book for nearly twenty-five years, though he continued to create illustrations for adults.

The children’s publishing industry finally gave in, and Ungerer’s “ban” was lifted in 1998 when he won the Hans Christian Andersen Medal for his children’s book illustrations, an acknowledgement that an artist does not have to be pigeonholed into creating artwork just for children. Today, Phaidon has brought many of Ungerer’s children’s books back into print, and Ungerer was the subject of a 2011 retrospective at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, Massachusetts.


coonskin-cartooning
4. Ralph Bakshi

Say what you will about the films of Ralph Bakshi (born 1938), but he has always done his best to stand by his principles. His 1975 film Coonskin was intended as an acid send-up of racial stereotypes, taking names and ideas from Uncle Remus stories, blackface minstrelsy, and other ethnic stereotypes. He hired African-American animators and actors (the film is part live-action, part-animation), and wrote the lyrics to the title song, set to music by Scatman Crothers.

Many critics did not get the satire, including the Congress on Racial Equality (CORE), though no CORE member had seen the film. A screening was arranged at the Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan. The scene, according to various witnesses, was chaotic. Some protesters got in and marched up and down the aisles. At the event, Bakshi asked Al Sharpton why he didn’t watch the film, and Sharpton retorted, “I don’t got to see shit; I can smell shit!” The greatest disruption was to the planned post-screening talk by Bakshi himself, which had to be cut short. The controversy surrounding its content hastened Paramount Pictures’s decision to drop the film from its releease schedule; the short-lived Bryanston Distributing Company picked up the title and made a modest effort to distribute it in theaters.

Coonskin has since been released on DVD and Blu-Ray, and has been praised by Spike Lee, Quentin Tarantino, and Wu-Tang Clan, among others. Rumors of a proposed sequel surface periodically. Bakshi has said he considers it his best film, and he might yet be proven right.


najisalimalali
5. Naji Salim al-Ali

At one time Naji Salim al-Ali (1938-1987) was one of the best-known cartoonists in the Palestinian world. He drew cartoons critical of the Israeli occupation, insisting on the right of his people to all of historic Palestine, and other cartoons that were harshly critical of Palestinian leaders. He drew cartoons for newspapers in Kuwait, and while living there was often detained by police and had his work censored. After finally being expelled from Kuwait, he moved to London. In 1979 he was elected President of the League of Arab Cartoonists.

His best-known character, Handhala, is a symbolic representation of the Palestinian people, a boy about ten years old, barefoot and wearing ragged clothes. Starting in 1973 Handhala has his back turned to the viewer, his hands clasped behind him indicative of rejecting outside solutions to the Palestinian plight. This figure has more recently been used by the Iranian Green Movement.

Al-Ali was walking outside the London office of the Kuwaiti newspaper Al Qabas on July 22, 1987, when he was shot point-blank in the middle of the street. He died five weeks later without regaining consciousness. Two suspects were arrested, both of whom admitted to being double agents, working ostensibly for the Yasser Arafat’s Palestine Liberation Organization while also working for Mossad, the Israeli intelligence organization.

It remains unclear which organization ordered Naji al-Ali’s death; he had made enemies on both sides. Several books of his works have been published, and his life was made into a movie in 1992 starring Egyptian actor Noor El-Sherif. In the end his art survives, whether you agree with his opinions or not. That victory is one we can hold onto.


southpark_cartooning
6. Trey Parker and Matt Stone

South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone began their collaboration with a pair of animated shorts now known as “Jesus vs. Frosty” and “Jesus vs. Santa” (aka The Spirit of Christmas.) launching a still ongoing career of equal-opportunity offending. In some ways, South Park is a descendant of Coonskin, using every existing stereotype (and creating new ones) to satiric and educational effect, but on a far wider scope. Depictions of Jesus and the Virgin Mary have drawn repeated protests from Christian groups; the Church of Scientology was also lampooned, causing cast member Isaac Hayes, a Scientologist, to depart the show.

A two-part episode in season 10, “Cartoon Wars,” dealt with the possible repercussions of depicting the Prophet Muhammad on TV, only to have that depiction censored by Comedy Central. A later attempt to show Muhammad met with the same censorship, and death threats from an obscure radical Muslim group. No one noticed that Muhammad appeared, in a positive light, in an earlier episode, “Super Best Friends,” until much later, whereupon that episode was censored or removed from streaming platforms and home video releases. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints objected to South Park’s depiction of Mormonism: Parker and Stone carried on (with composer/lyricist Robert Lopez) to create the Broadway musical The Book of Mormon, which won nine Tony Awards.

These complaints against the show barely scratch the surface. South Park has a charmed existence, a sort of TV Teflon that keeps scandal from sticking. Very few of the many calls for boycotts and censorship have had any effect. Schools may ban South Park-related clothing, and advocacy groups call for the show’s cancellation, but it soldiers on, garnering Emmys and a Peabody Award along the way. Its use of profanity and gleeful depictions of pretty much any sort of amorality you can think of have made it unique on television. It can be crude, cringe-inducing, uproariously funny, and honest to a degree other animated shows dare not approach.

  • I would also add to that list Mana Neyestani, an Iranian cartoonist who was arrested and put on solitary confinement after Ahmanidejad’s regime took offense on one of his cartoons.

    http://iranian.com/main/files/images/manan012.preview.jpg

    • AmidAmidi

      Good addition to the list. LIke we said in the intro, these six stories were picked from hundreds of possibilities.

      • FakeDave

        Then why, with all due respect, do we only get 6? I, for one would love to see ten, or twenty examples. This is my first time here, and thank you for the content.

  • Truthseeker

    I don’t think calls for boycotts amount to “tyranny.” It’s just people exercising their right not to sponsor something they disagree with and encouraging like-minded people to do the same. I hardly think that Parker and Stone offending people who are no real threat to them (such as Mormons) is some victory for free speech.

    • AmidAmidi

      I think that any person or organization who tries to arbitrarily suppress the voices and views of others is tyrannical.

      Whether you agree with how we titled the article, I hope you can move beyond that and find value throughout the rest of the nearly 2,000-word piece.

    • Robert Holmén

      Parker and Stone feel the heavy hand of tyranny… all the way to the bank.

    • L_Ron_Hoover

      So, inciting a riot to remove (aka ban/censor) a piece of artwork that is deemed “offensive” is somehow different?

      Just like violent video games, no piece of artwork or music has ever been proven to make someone a murderer or a rapist or a dictator. We are responsible for how we interpret things. That is what it all comes down to.

      If you think a lot about social justice then you are probably more likely to look for “offense” and “sensitivity” in everything you see. Meanwhile, a more neutral person may be completely unaware of what you see. It’s the same thing with how back in the day religious groups banned artwork or music that was “The Devil.” Now it’s a new group but the same story. Hate on religion all you want but there are people far worse than the Catholic Church…Social Justice Warriors (SJWs.)

      The people of the USA don’t like to admit it but we all have our “sacred cows” our “untouchable” topics. Meanwhile it’s complete hypocrisy.

      Female rape jokes are typically agreed to be off the table…meanwhile jokes about equally horrible or depressing acts or topics such as suicide, abortion (or dead baby jokes), pedophilia, murder, 9/11 or terrorism, the Holocaust, genocide, male (prison) rape, etc. are all passable somehow. Is there no hypocrisy there?

      The reality is, either nothing is censored or everything is censored. Yeah, I know it turns you off to hear that but you can’t have it both ways. It really doesn’t work when you try to make up rules in a society that supports freedom and independent thought. Offense and taste is all relative. What’s “cold” to you may be “warm” to me, should we just accept that the heat should be turned up because you’re uncomfortable?

      What you agree/disagree or get offended by doesn’t matter to anyone but yourself. You live in a world with other people who find things funny that may disgust or bore you. Learn to live and be tolerant of those you may even find intolerant.

      Go ahead and ban rape jokes, boycott comedians or musicians or artists who offend you but does it really get rid of the problem they’re talking about? No. So maybe take a moment and think about what’s really bothering you. That people enjoy this stuff and you don’t? That you’re offended? Here’s an idea…leave or turn it off! Whatever you’re doing, stop exposing yourself to it! Let other people enjoy themselves!

      Unless someone is inciting a riot or seriously promoting rape/murder then there is absolutely no need to boycott them.

  • Nick

    While the cartoonists and journalists at Charlie Hebdo definitely didn’t deserve to die from the attacks, it’s immensely unjust and ignorant to grossly overlook their legacy of perpetuating racist, sexist, homophobic and, more recently, Islamophobic sentiments. Despite whatever calls for “freedom of speech” one may make (more like the freedom to express without consequence), it can’t be called satire if it frequently takes jabs at the weak for being weak as opposed to challenging those in power.

    • Tony

      Actually, no. Satire is free game, the “only punch down” rule is garbage created by people who can’t take a joke. I’ve once heard that punching down in comedy is like slapping a baby in the face for crying. In reality, you’re slapping a grown adult in the face, one who chooses to act like a baby.

    • Todd DuBois

      Charlie Hebdo “takes jabs” at many groups without discrimination, in point of fact. The offensiveness of any of their speech is secondary to the fact violence has been wielded to silence it, and not for the first time. There’s the firebombing of their office, there’s the murder of Theo Van Gogh, there’s the fatwa against Salman Rushdie, there’s the woman who went into hiding after threats for the idea of “Everyone Draw Muhammad Day”, there’s the threats over the Danish cartoons and the depictions of Muhammad in South Park.

      Making this about somebody’s hurt feelings or your offended sensibilities is nothing but a derailment tactic. No one standing up for Charlie Hebdo demands freedom from criticism or 100% unquestioning embracing of their messages, that’s your own ridiculous straw man. The point is that when the “consequence” of speech is violence, that’s not acceptable. The point is that agree with the speech or not, they can say it. Period. There is no “but” that comes after.

      • I dont think Nick is excusing the killers or empathizing with them. He’s brought to my attention at least, that the provocation that lead to fatal violence, was a form of bullying rather than standing against/satirizing those with power. Not bullying the killers, but bullying the group of people the killers happen to be apart of; Muslims. The topic here is cartoonists who stood against tyranny right? Not about the killers themselves, so pointing out that this was not at all fighting against tyranny is right on topic.

        To me, satirizing Mohammed as a dunce in a western country is equivalent to the blackface era in the US. You’re attacking a powerless minority. We can all understand how disgusting the latter was, but many of us still don’t get what’s the big deal with the former because in the West we are so culturally bias against Muslims, we refuse to consider their sensibilities. Dismissing verbal violence as just “hurt feelings” is ignorant. verbal violence is a bigger deal than you may think.

      • Robert Holmén

        “can say it” and “should say it” are not necessarily equivalent things.

    • Barry Convex

      “it’s immensely unjust and ignorant to grossly overlook their legacy of perpetuating racist, sexist, homophobic and, more recently, Islamophobic sentiments.”

      Charlie Hebdo, according to Wikipedia, “is a French satirical weekly newspaper, featuring cartoons, reports, polemics, and jokes. Irreverent and stridently non-conformist in tone, the publication describes itself as strongly anti-racist and left-wing, publishing articles on the extreme right, Catholicism, Islam, Judaism, politics, culture, etc. According to its former editor, Charb (Stéphane Charbonnier), the magazine’s editorial viewpoint reflects “all components of left wing pluralism, and even abstainers”.”

    • Saint Cayetano

      You haven’t paid attention to CH’s cartoons. They took jabs that were deserved and sometimes BACKED by those who were supposed to take offense to them. Some supposed “anti-Muslim” gags were backed by progressive Muslim groups.

  • Robert Holmén

    Now that I’ve actually seen the Charlie Hebdo cartoons… I find myself wishing there were bigger principles there than their chronic desire to draw Mohammed as an ugly Arab with a big nose.

    • DJM

      That’s the point though. They chose to stoke the fire with intentionally insensitive cartoons to prove how out of line the religious terrorists are. These terrorists invoked world wide tyranny, even in foreign countries they don’t currently have stake it. If we can laugh at a racial Jesus, why can we not laugh at racial Mohammed?

      • Robert Holmén

        The best satire changes minds. I’m quite doubtful their satire “proved” anything to anyone not already believing it.

        And… “they chose to stoke the fire”… yes, they certainly did. Like trolls on the internet who say things (it’s their right!) to incite argument that can lead to no good end. It hasn’t moved us closer to a solution, it just made more fire.

        • Obo Agboghidi

          you don’t kill someone over bad satire(whatever that is) you ignore it

          • As most people should, but the way things are, those feelings never go.

        • DJM

          There’s a difference between freedom of speech and harrassment. Trolls’ actions are harassment. Goading, following, doxxxing, etc. is harassment. Publishing your own satire (no matter how week or offensive others might think it to be) within the confines of your own personal media without shoving it down people’s throats is not. It’s exercising free speech. These C. H. cartoonists were not trolls.

  • Squidhead
    • AmidAmidi

      Your comment is a good place to mention that the site’s commenting guidelines that have always been in place will continue to remain in place for this post. Specific to you: “Stay on-topic. Comments are not a place to discuss ideas not directly related to the post.”

      To everyone, remember to keep it on topic, keep it respectful, and don’t insult others, including other commenters. This is not a general forum to discuss the attacks, the media or religion, but a place to celebrate and honor the role of cartoonists who have fought for the right to express themselves.

      • Thanks for pointing that out to us all in a succinct and objective way.

    • truteal

      And here’s my favorite rebuttal

  • jstadler75

    You forgot Dr. Seuss. His contributions to the war effort are well documented.

    • DJM

      Yeah, but he was never suppressed.

  • Avik

    I was expecting to see Héctor Germán Oesterheld on the list.

  • DJM

    I’d like to give Ali Frezat a shout out. During the initial heat of the Syrian brouhaha, he was beat up and had his hands BROKEN and warned never to draw again! How more insulting and pointed can a threat be to an artist?!?!

    “We will break your hands so that you’ll stop drawing,” the masked
    men said.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/syria/8723897/Syrian-cartoonist-has-hands-broken.html

    • Doug

      Thanks for the reminder! I always have what happened to him since that attack. So glad to hear he is still drawing (and able to).

  • Robert Holmén

    And while we are lionizing Thomas Nast for being anti-tyranny we should note his long career on the side of tyranny by promoting anti-Irish, anti-Catholic politics. He liked his white protestant privilege.

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/66/TheUsualIrishWayofDoingThings.jpg

    • mick

      Of course the hands of the Catholic church are some what stained by tyranny themselves. This of course raises a pretty good point that there is tyranny on all sides. All religions should be up for ridicule. For people claiming to have god on their side they do seem to sweat the small stuff

  • Pedro Nakama

    Remember back in the old analog days when you worked at one of the major animation studios and there would be cartoons and comics about your fellow employees and management taped all over the walls, hallways and restrooms? And then everything went corporate and then digital and it was frowned upon to do that? God I miss those days!

    • Alonzo

      Caricaturing one’s co-workers in major or even minor animation studios was once fair game. Anyone might be caricatured and, in the early days of the art form, readily put into an animated motion picture cartoon. Once everything went entirely corporate, with H.R. departments given enormous power to judge, censor and decide who works and who doesn’t, nearly all of that went away. Corporate lawyers don’t like the idea that caricatures can theoretically incite lawsuits, either.

      • Ryoku Kero

        I wonder if this is why modern TV cartoons barely ever joke about our modern habits, am I the only one that sees smartphoneslaptops as a great source for humor?

        • Shame if it gravitated to that now. I’ve collected a few gag drawings in the past, and they’re priceless to me!

    • Ryoku Kero

      I like to think that when things went digital cartoons got more expensive too.

      Adobe and Wacom stuff ain’t exactly cheap, and Abobe only works off a pricey subscription model these days. The more professional tablets are about $2000 vs just $57 for 12 colors of India ink, a decent-sized sketchbook, and a fountain pen.

      Its not like computers are necessarily making better cartoons either.

  • AmidAmidi

    Again, I’m going to remind commenters to review the site’s commenting guidelines that have always been in place and will continue to remain in place for
    this post. Specific to you: “Stay on-topic. Comments are not a place to discuss ideas not directly related to the post.” The topic of this post, though inspired by recent events, is about CARTOONISTS and FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION. If you have nothing to add to our site’s conversation, take it elsewhere. Other off-topic comments will be deleted from here on out.

  • If you strike one of us down, more will pop up to fight on. Only small minds are threatened by ideas.

  • Great article, I don’t disagree with it; I agree with freedom of speech, but like the article says, some abuse the 1st amendment to say what a decent human being would “reasonably [criticize] as pointlessly antagonizing, needlessly cruel, or simply stupid.” So similarly, a person can exercise their freedom to fire someone or ban from their premises what technically is “freedom of speech”. Vulgarity can still be silenced, but no one should ever be killed for it.

    I do think cartoons are things to be feared and silenced, in the words of Ralph Bakshi, than you’re just making illustrations. I’m all for cartoons that stand against actual tyranny. It’s cartoons that please the masses to laugh at the little guys; the Irish, Black people, Jewish people, Chinese people in the US… and now Muslims in western countries. They’ve all been picked on by cartoonists/comics to delight the Majority, the already popular opinion. It’s when a cartoonist dares to criticize the opinion of those in power, or of the mass, that’s fighting against tyranny. It’s a shame there are few Muslims who respond with death threats or actually killing cartoonists in the west, it is however, a false sense of power, and I agree with the article that we should not let them think for a second their strategy can succeed. However, be aware that in the process of fighting against that false form of tyranny (since those extremists don’t actually have any power in the west), you’re also bullying the little guys, the Muslim minority in the West who are good people.

    • DJM

      But the question remains, why are Christians only available to public ridicule? They’ve been the one safety net for all soft ball comedians since time immemorial.

      • AmidAmidi

        Again, we must remind readers of our commenting guidelines which include the following: “Stay on-topic. Comments are not a place to discuss ideas not directly related to the post.” If you are not talking about cartoonists and freedom of expression, then you are in the wrong place.

        • DJM

          Well, if that’s the case, why didn’t you raise such a warning to the posters who talked about tablets and such?

          I think it constitutes as a fair thread in this discussion. After all, South Park was included on this list because it was not allowed to show Mohammad, yet it did show a scene with Jesus shitting everywhere. Ant G was talking about how insensitive it is to caricaturize a demographic and that the west has no problems with people doing such things (not really anymore in popular media), yet he never mentioned Christians as a demographic he felt to be off limits. Its a double-standard I do not understand.

  • Tony

    Worth mentioning is Walt Kelly, whose deceptively cute comic strip Pogo often savagely skewered public figures – most notably Senator Joseph McCarthy, whom he depicted as trigger-happy bobcat Simple J. Malarkey, right in the midst of the Red Scare. Often he had to make alternate strips for newspapers who refused to carry the more political ones.

  • DJM

    No its not. Its about suppression of free speech, and the strong power of cartoons truly have within that realm. How the west reacts to satire is just as valid how the middle east reacts to satire. This event proves the need for such discussion.

    • Bartleby

      Um, no. Complaints, objections, and threats not to do business with people are not in any way equivalent to threats of violence or actual violence.

      When one is not posing a threat to the person or rights of another, one has a right to not be met with violence, regardless of the offensive behavior one engages in.

      One does not have a right to have people provide support for one’s work, whether that support is financial (through business expenditures, donations, or tax dollars), moral, marketing, the provision of a forum, or otherwise.

      I know some countries have laws violating the free speech of people by making bigoted speech illegal, and I agree that is wrong too. If that’s what you’re talking about, then I agree that is garbage as well.

      …but if you’re talking about the boycotts and such, well, since one response involves a violation of someone’s rights and the other does not, they are not in any way the same, and the claim that they are is patently absurd.

  • Obo Agboghidi

    Last I checked a Mormon can pick up and a gun and kill just as much as anyone else.

    Just becuase SP hasn’t been attacked with violence by a Mormon or Christian so far doesn’t mean they aren’t taking a risk.

    • Truthseeker

      Sure, theoretically it could happen, but given the recent history of those groups, I think it’s a gamble most people would be willing to take. Riding in a car carries a greater risk of death than insulting a Mormon.

    • Barry Convex

      What is possible and what is probable are two different things.

  • mick

    My point exactly. Ridicule them all. If i was sure of a magic man (it’s usually a male at the centre isn’t it) having my interests at heart I’d walk about smiling and content. Rather than feeling compelled to get out of my pram over a slight against my all powerful protector

  • DJM

    I don’t believe it is off point. The cartoon in question is about free speech. The assault was about free speech. Religion was the catalyst, but it was a disagreement of viewpoints on the religion that pissed off the assailants to such a deplorable degree. The view that one religion is ok to mock and one is not has been a key thorn in extremists’ bellies for years. The old jew vs. muslim debate falls squarely into the discussion. An Iranian paper did have a holocaust cartoon contest over the original cartoons: http://www.thepaincomics.com/weekly060222a.htm

  • RobinGoodfellow

    I’m not sure if one could call Arthur Szyk a cartoonist, but he was definitely a brave satirist… I feel like he deserves an honorable mention here. (Although to this day I still don’t know why he always drew Mussolini without pants.)