Robot 6

Quote of the Day | Jeph Jacques on when to rethink things

One of the things I’ve learned over the years of writing the strip is if something I’m writing makes ME uncomfortable, even only a little bit, it will probably offend other people as well, and I should rethink it. The times I’ve ignored that impulse, or told myself “no, it’s only problematic if you take an extremely narrow interpretation of the strip,” guess what: people got offended.

You as an author have control over the intent of your work, but you do not have control over how other people will interpret it. And if someone’s interpretation of your work differs from your intent, while you can defend your intent, it does not necessarily render their interpretation invalid.

Jeph Jacques on why he changed his current storyline in Questionable Content



He probably just didn’t want Comics Alliance making him the next target of their feminist crusade.

When someone takes offense with a creative work, that’s THEIR problem. Not yours. Not mine. Trying to anticipate someone else’s feelings is poor mental health. The psychological term for it is “codependence”.

Censorship is evil. And the worst kind of censorship is self-censorship. Have the integrity to do what YOU believe is right. Then stand by your beliefs.

And don’t worry about what others think. Because no matter what you do, SOMEONE is going to find it offensive.

It depends on why you get that tingle. Is it the tingle of “this isn’t good and I know it” or “this is good but it’s going to piss people off.”

If it’s the former, you know what to do with it. If it’s the latter, you know what you should do with it.

Censorship? SELF-censorship?

Dude, it’s HIS PERROGATIVE to make the comic reflect his personal ethics.

Goddamn idiot

Whenever I write something that I consider might be construed as offensive, there’s really only one question I ask myself: “Is this good writing or bad writing?” Stereotypes, tropes, things written out of ignorance…this constitutes bad writing, and if what I’ve written falls within that realm I’m apt to go back and change it. You should always write straight from the heart, of course, but you DO need to be aware of when something you’ve written is or is not accurately representing a specific kind of person or situation, and if not, well, you need to fix it. Or else you’ll have done something worse than writing something offensive: You’ll have written something that sucks.

What you’re calling “self-censorship” is what most decent writers call “editing”. For anyone who’s writing anything that they plan to put in front of an audience, there has to be some level of consideration for that audience’s take on your work.

It’s about much more than just concern for people’s feelings. If the presentation of and/or elements of your story are distracting from the work as a whole, then you’re doing your work a disservice. And if you don’t bother to learn from the audience’s reaction to your work (knowing how to separate the helpful criticism from the not-so-helpful, of course), you won’t grow as a storyteller.

Steve Vanden-Eykel

March 2, 2012 at 1:29 pm

Bottom line is that a storyline that was funny became a storyline that was preachy and vaguely uncomfortable. Boo to political correctness. Also, it’s impossible to sexually harass someone who uses ‘fuckin’ as an adjective.

Oh man, Jacques is so wise – he’s figured out that the author isn’t a privileged reader of his own work! It’s not like there isn’t an entire area of literary criticism that talks about this.

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