Wednesday, June 12, 2019

012 #blogjune - Death of a clown

"The thing that I fear discriminating against is humor and truth." - Charles Bukowski

Last night, on Twitter, I was made aware of the following: "The end of political cartoons at The New York Times." - I had to Google it, to find more references, in case it was FAKE NEWS or a belated April Fool's joke. But, no - sadly it seemed to be true!?! Now, to be honest - I do think some cartoons might go a bit far sometimes (and that's coming from a Dutch cartoonist) but in the end - it is JUST a joke - freedom of expression. A satirical look at the world around us. Sadly it was only four years ago that two brothers, Saïd and Chérif Kouachi, forced their way into the offices of the French satirical weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris. Armed with rifles and other weapons, they killed 12 people and injured 11 others.Why?... Because of a cartoon featuring Muhammad. 
I am not left nor right, I can respect people for their opinions. I can easily ignore things I don't want to see or read. I can simply flick the page if a cartoon doesn't appeal to me or switch the channel if a comedian doesn't make me laugh. Yet, because of the fear of terror and the increase of political correctness all the fun for anyone to enjoy if they so please, is being sucked from ALL our lives and not through plastic straws as THEY have already been banned...

I myself have done some topical / political cartoons in the past. It's not an easy job, I always felt the importance to be aware of the "zeitgeist" and get some valid point across while still pleasing the editor of the publication as well. Yes, there were times when my ideas were censored. For instance, there was one cartoon based on an incident with a woman boarding a JetStar flight that I combined with Kim DotCom. They didn't like the idea - so I chopped it up and a simpler version was used.
As a cartoonist, when you work for a publication, - you DO need to compromise.

Other times it is fine - you send it in - they publish it... another week goes by and you produce another drawing. It's a lonely job, nobody really knows (or cares) who the cartoonist is. Ask anyone you know to name the makers of even any of the well known comic strips. Garfield ... anyone? Calvin and Hobbes? Yet novelists get all the glory.
You never really can tell who liked it or who didn't. Even when you submit your drawing to the publication there's hardly ever a reaction. And then, the next day the page with your cartoon is used to line the litter tray for some cat or you spot it at the local supermarket for frozen foods to be wrapped. But then it's nothing too serious. No harm done.

I guess clowns, comedians and political cartoonists will become endangered species, surgically removed from a society that takes itself far too serious.
I will end this blog with this recent important quote from Patrick Chappatte: "It’s a time where the media need to renew themselves and reach out to new audiences. And stop being afraid of the angry mob. In the insane world we live in, the art of the visual commentary is needed more than ever. And so is humour."

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