Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The "Draw Nothing" Protest

The New Humanist reports that "satire appears to be dying, as editors go one step further by displaying a fear of publishing anything that comes close to satirising the widespread fear of publishing anything that comes close to depicting the Prophet Muhammad." A cartoon which did not depict Mohammed, but whose punchline was "Picture book title voted least likely to ever find a publisher… ‘Where’s Muhammad?'" was rejected by upwards of 20 newspapers.

Unfortunately, I am not an influential cartoonist. Or an influential anything, for that matter. But if I were, the protest I would suggest is for established cartoonists to pick a "Draw Nothing Day". For your cartoon that day, turn in an empty panel or panels. That's it.

There are many people who support free speech but who feel uncomfortable drawing Mohammed, not just for fear of getting blowd up, but out of a genuine respect for others' religious sensibilities. (That would not be me, of course) So we would not ask these people to draw Mohammed, and in any case, even if it were realistic, getting major US newspapers to publish cartoons of Mohammed would probably result in copious death and violence. (Fucked up, eh?) But surely an empty captionless frame could be drawn?

Anybody like this idea? How would we get cartoonists on board?

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