Robot 6

Newspapers panic at Mohammed mention in Non Sequitur

A previous Non Sequitur that raised eyebrows in Malaysia

The Daily Cartoonist’s Alan Gardner reports that over 20 papers have requested a replacement strip for Wiley Miller’s Non Sequitur this Sunday, because of potentially controversial content. It’s pretty thin gruel:

The cartoon by Wiley Miller depicts a lazy, sunny park scene with the caption, “Picture book title voted least likely to ever find a publisher… ‘Where’s Muhammad?’” Characters in the park are buying ice cream, fishing, roller skating, etc. No character is depicted as even Middle Eastern.

Miller’s reaction: “the irony of editors being afraid to run even such a tame cartoon as this that satirizes the blinding fear in media regarding anything surrounding Islam sadly speaks for itself. Indeed, the terrorists have won.”

That’s a bit over the top. The terrorists haven’t won because newspapers won’t print a comic that is even mildly controversial; it’s a longstanding American tradition, although the humor in this one seems to be on a par with jokes in which Jesus walks across the water hazard on a golf course.

In another post, Gardner points to an interfaith group’s call for cartoonists to stop depicting Osama Bin Laden, on the grounds that it might make public discourse less stupid. That’s certainly a noble goal, but I doubt kicking Bin Laden off the comics pages will accomplish it.

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Comments

4 Comments

Miller is totally correct. Also, just because it is a longstanding tradition doesn’t make it right.

I think it’s a little bit different that the cases you cite, given the reaction to the Danish cartoons and cartoonist Molly Norris’ experience of having to go into hiding.

Extremists have threatened (and carried out, in some instances) violence if they don’t get their way on this, and judging from Comedy Central’s reaction to the related South Park episode, the refusal of a book publisher to reprint the Danish cartoons in a book discussing those very same cartoons, they seem to be getting their way.

Which is ridiculous.

Controversial…? Even ‘potentially controversial’? Sorry, I’m just not seeing where the potential controversy is.

I have no issue whatsoever with privately-owned newspapers deciding what comic strips they will or will not run. I’m not bothered by the newspapers’ decision, just confused by the logic behind it. Are they concerned that someone, somewhere, might read a comic strip and become offended? If so, then I would have to assume that Mallard Fillmore and Boondocks have been dropped by all these papers, right?

Humor on the ‘funny’ pages is a completely different issue. I’m just curious… would it still be ‘potentially controversial’ if the strip in question had said “Where’s Buddha?” (Which assumes the thrust of the strip was to make a reference to the Prophet Muhammed, which I’m not sure is the case…)

I don’t know. It just seems like a lot of fuss over nothing, to me.

That’s right, western world, keep bending over.

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