Thursday, May 6, 2010

The South Park Controversy, Revisited

I have had cause to reconsider my position on whether or not to draw.  Ed Cline wrote on the topic of self-censorship. He writes:

As evil as government-enforced censorship is, self-censorship is arguably a worse evil. It means that a government bureau needn’t threaten you with punishment if you refuse to wear its gag; you volunteer to fix the tape over your mouth (or your mind) yourself.

Cline continues:

Islam... sanctions gagging, by lawsuits, by intimidation, or by direct force. And while most Muslims wouldn’t think of sticking machetes into Trey Parker or Matt Stone, they remain silent, for their creed forbids them, under pain of a similar fate, to object to that form of jihad, or because they agree with permanently silencing the blasphemers. Whether out of fear or agreement, silence is a sanction.

To say the least, I have found my reluctance to draw a cartoon somewhat disquieting and I have spent a good bit of time considering the question. You could say that I have already spoken out against violence in my previous piece. But I do not hold out a lot of hope that, as a culture, our sanction of such deep irrationality will stop.

I cherish my life and the freedom of my mind, on which that life fully depends.  And so, I cannot abide such threats to any person for their expressions of free speech, no matter how sophomoric.  This is my protest.  And so, I present to you my cartoon featuring the Prophet Mick-hammed:

I think the beliefs of Islam are ridiculous.  In the same way that I think the beliefs of Christianity are.  It is patently absurd to believe that anyone is a prophet for some god for which you have no evidence of existence.  You might as well believe that Mikey Mouse is a prophet.

My only solace is that most of the Christians and the Muslims that I know hold mixed premises and can be very rational and sometimes incredible friends with strikingly egoistic senses of life.  To my dear friends who hold religious views, please know that I do not denigrate you. But I also don't agree with everything about you.

(FYI - For my caption, I adulterated a line from an Indiana Jones movie.)

So ends my own bout with self-censorship.