A great man once said, "Politics is inherently stupid." That great man was me.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Another Campus Newspaper Features an Anti-Christian Cartoon

UPDATE: Thanks to Kate over at Small Dead Animals for the traffic, and a big welcome to SDA readers!

UPDATE 2: I see all the "progressive" bloggers came out to play as well.

You've all missed the point I so clearly made at the end of the post: Offending to make a valid criticism is one thing - offending for the sake of offending is quite another. The Danish cartoons were largely innocuous and made to show that people should not be afraid for their lives to print cartoons - The Muse's cartoon is titled "Too Many Christians, Not Enough Lions." I'll just leave it at that.

UPDATE 3: The Muse will be printing a rebuttal letter I have submitted this Thursday. I don't have access to it on this computer, but I'll post it later today for you to read. I'd like to state that so far I've gotten a lot of positive feedback from students on my campus about the letter, and despite the possibility that The Muse will publicly crucify me (no pun intended) I'm quite willing to take on any criticism for it. Apparently so are others: more students are now writing letters to complain about the cartoon. I'm glad to see that people are standing up for themselves.

And without further ado, here is my rebuttal letter:

If Sullivan's cartoon wasn't meant as a jab at Christians, then why was it called "Too Many Christians, Not Enough Lions"? Offending to make a valid criticism is one
thing. Offending simply for the sake of offending is quite another. Considering the Muse's newfound respect for freedom of speech, I challenge the Muse to print the
most controversial of the Danish cartoons in this week's edition – unless, of course, [The submissions editor's name] was just using "freedom of speech" as a smokescreen for defending Sutton's inexcusable cartoon.

Further to a post by Kate over at Small Dead Animals, I thought I'd post something that was printed in the February edition of my campus newspaper, The Muse. Now this is a typical university newspaper - that is, it's pro-CFS and hates anything conservative (small or big c). I was suitably bothered off when I saw this:

You bet I was bothered. I loved the title: "Too Many Christians Not Enough Lions." How about, "Too Many Jews Not Enough Gas Chambers?" Hmmm. I wonder if they're too afraid to print one called "Too Many Muslims, Not Enough Bunker Busters?"

So I wrote a letter. I generally don't read The Muse, but when I saw this it got to me. The reference to "Nick McGee's Cartoon" refers to a silly and inoffensive cartoon printed the week before, that somehow riled up those without a sense of humour. Here's my letter:

The recent controversy over Nick McGee’s cartoons is a lot of tempest in the proverbial pot of tea.

The cartoons are silly in the South Park / The Family Guy tradition of mock-outrage. Everyone knows Jesus wouldn’t beat someone up and that’s why the cartoons are funny. I burst out laughing when I saw them.

Mike Sutton’s cartoon in the last issue of The Muse, however, was another matter. What point was Sutton trying to make by insinuating that Christians are Klan members, science-haters, and gay-bashers?

If that’s the case, apparently I’m going to have to switch my biology major and dump three-quarters of my friends. How unbelievably insulting, Mr Sutton.

Give me a break. Was Sutton trying to make a point about the recent publication of cartoons depicting Mohammed in Denmark’s Jyllands-Posten? If so, he not only missed the mark but also managed to set his target on yet another religion in the process.

The only reason he submitted that comic was to take a cheap shot at Christians. Apparently it’s taboo to insult Muslims, but Christians are fair game.

If you’ve got a problem with someone else’s faith, that’s quite alright – it’s a wonderful thing called democracy. But the moment you cross that line and start insulting the beliefs of people, you end up with a situation like the one in the Middle East over the Danish cartoons.

It seems Sutton is oblivious to the lesson about freedom of speech and the responsibility it carries demanding basic respect for people.

My suggestion to Mr Sutton is this: Stop trying to be provocative. It’s boring and you’re only making yourself look like an ass.

Of course, this being a student Newspaper, the editor gets to espouse his own views in the letters section (which is reserved specifically for the students, not the editor. Or so it's supposed to be...)

[Editor’s note: While I usually try to hold my tongue when we receive letters I disagree with, I really think I should say something in defence of Mike Sutton.

Here I have to step in and mention something. This guy opens his mouth to insult letter-writers regularly. He reserved an entire page of the newspaper once to insult one-by-one all the letter writers that week who submitted letters with opposing (read: sane) viewpoints. I'm not sure if he's trying to be sarcastic, but if he isn't he's big on nerve and short on memory.

When I first saw the comic, I was hesitant to print it due to the feedback from Nick McGee’s comics. At the end of the day, freedom of speech won me over and I decided I would deal with any possible storm of e-mails headed my way.

However well founded his argument may be, I think
[My Name] is missing the point. Although I am speaking for Sutton without his permission, I think the point of the comic isn’t that every Christian is a Klan member/science-hater/gay-basher.

As I see it, it makes the point that some groups use religion and God to promote their own motives. Ku Klux Klan members believe lynching a black person is simply carrying out God’s wish. Certain groups believe God hates homosexuals. Many individuals believe God frowns upon teaching evolution.

The point isn’t that Christians are evil – not by a long shot. The comic simply sheds light on the fact that groups exploit religions all the time and that Christianity is no different.

The one lesson to learn from all this? Freedom of speech doesn’t only work when you find it funny.

– The Submissions Editor (I have removed his name)

Nonsense. You've seen the cartoon and I doubt even one of you agrees with this cockamamie argument. Ladies and Gentleman, this is called damage control - for this guy to pretend he's trying to defend freedom of speech is really just too much. Am I supposed to laud him for insulting my faith and the faith of over a billion people?

Garbage. Offending to make a valid criticism is one thing, offending for the sake of offending is quite another. Both the cartoonist and the editor should be ashamed.


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19 Old Comments:

Dante, I wish I could agree with you. But, you cant have a "Support Denmark, Support Free Speech" banner on your webpage, and then get all upset over this.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:12 p.m.  


Let's riot in the streets! Death to the University of Saskatchewan and her whore The Sheaf! Do they have a flag we can burn?

\sarcasm off

That's the difference here, folks. As a Christian, I'm offended by that comic. But it's nothing new or unique. Christ himself essentially said his followers are fair game for scorn.

By Blogger Doogie, at 10:56 p.m.  

An interesting way to perspect this...
If a Christian threatened the writer with beheading, do you think there would be a response by police authorities?
I betcha.
I don't have a problem with this cartoon, because on examination the toon refers to God (who we Xians share with the Muslims) and in the final frame there is an Islamic suicide bomber.
Not anti-Christian, but anti-religious.
And people are certainly allowed to not believe.

By Blogger Brian Lemon, at 11:23 p.m.  

Herein lies the difference:

Cartoons get printed that offend various religious beliefs of people residing in north america and we write letters, have debates and discussions.

The same thing happens to muslims elsewhere (europe, middle-east, etc.) and people riot, kidnap, issue death threats, burn flags, etc.

The worst possible response that nations could have to the 'cartoon induced' riots is to appease these people. It will only show weakness and will reinforce to these people that violence works well to achieve their goals, etc.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:42 a.m.  

Dante, your hypocrisy here is breathtaking.

By Blogger robedger, at 3:46 p.m.  

Why is it lately that people are hiding behind free speech to be complete dicks? I have the "right" to dress up in a chicken costume everyday, am I going to? Of course not. People are just be overly antagonistic in the sake of cheap shock tactics. Why are people so bent on pissing off people? Sure some Christians have been bigots, but plenty of non-Christians have been too. And as soon as someone argues against said shock tactics (which apparently, they're not supposed to do- what about their free speech?) they claim they had some cockamamie point (and if they did they might want to check the quality of their cartoonist if no one gets it) and say "but Free Speech blah blah blah".

By Blogger John Mutford, at 8:41 p.m.  

Hey "The Sheaf" editors... why don't you substitute an image of Muhammad instead of Jesus; your punchline... "Muhammad! (peace be upon him). You eat Bacon?!"

Go on, you freedom-of-speech defenders. Owing to the fact that the Muhammad cartoons offend a billion Muslims, and your Jesus cartoon ALSO offends a billion Christians, it seems you should pull the Jesus-Muhammad switch, eh?

What's that? I thought so, you bunch of yellow BASTARDS!

You should shut the papar down, cowards!

By Anonymous Joe B., at 10:49 a.m.  

My wife is more Christian than me.

After looking at the Sheaf site with me she said she's glad for the apology and I roughly quote:

"God bless and have mercy on them because they didn't know what they are doing".

Humbling for me because I recall Someone else saying that a long time ago...

By Blogger tomax7, at 7:03 p.m.  

Ottawa Liberal, If you've got a point to make, refrain from ad hominem attacks on individuals. It doesn't do you any favours and it doesn't help any argument you're going to make.

By Blogger Danté, at 8:48 p.m.  

It's quite simple really: cartoons about one group will get some people in a huff and they'll write bad letters to you, cartoons about the other group will get you fucked up!

Freedom of speech and/or political correctness are BOTH smoke screens... people are cowed by who can and will hurt them.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:59 p.m.  

The greatest offense lies not in the cartoon itself (I'm not easily offended regardless and typically shrug and go on with life) but instead in the paper's willingness to first publish the cartoon and then offer an unsolicited defense of it after refusing to publish the Danish cartoons. The hypocricy of the media knows no bounds. I don't want the Western media to stop publishing lambastings of Christians and Jews. I want to see them give equal time to Muslims. I want to see the Danish cartoons on the front page of the New York Times and the LA Times, or at least in the editorial cartoon section.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:27 p.m.  

As the author of the cartoon I won’t on principal explain it or my intentions for writing it.

When an editorial cartoon is misunderstood there are two possibilities.

The first being that the audience is not intelligent enough to understand it or secondly that the author is not intelligent enough to convey his thoughts clearly.

For fear of casting my pearls before swine I will not debate the issues involved here. If you, or anyone else who reads your blog wish to offer me feed back on any of the issues addressed in the cartoon you are welcome to email me at mikesuttonstjohns@yahoo.ca

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:33 p.m.  

I'd like to remind readers to be civil when discussing things with Mr. Sutton; he has been big enough to make himself available to our criticism and comments, so please be respectful.

By Blogger Danté, at 7:34 p.m.  

If I wanted to live in a thocracy I would live in Iran.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:08 p.m.  

If I wanted to live in a thocracy I would live in Iran.
That's true, because you aren't living in one now - so don't pretend that you are.

If you'd like, I encourage you to go there. I guarantee, you will get a good sense of what a theocracy is actually like - and perhaps then, you will realize not to make ludicrous statements such as that.

I have Iranian friends and they would not be pleased with your comments, trust me.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:42 p.m.  

Yeah, with a name like "too many christians not enough lions" I don't think it's the audience that's lacking in intelligence.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:47 a.m.  

Hopefully now we all can put this to rest, and moreso, hopefully some learned a lesson of what desecration, er, discretion means.

By Blogger tomax7, at 2:55 a.m.  

Where's everyone getting the Iranian friends? I want one!

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:06 a.m.  

I suppose next we'll see an entire comics page featuring the Kama Sutra - as performed by the Pope (and leaders of other religions) - on an entire barnyard of animals.

By Blogger reverse_vampyr, at 5:06 p.m.