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Kathy Shaidle

Of Mo-toons and ‘men’: journalists are your irony-challenged moral and intellectual superiors!

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Posted on October 5 2010 4:00 pm
Kathy Shaidle blogs at FiveFeetOfFury, now entering its 11th year online. Her latest book is Acoustic Ladylandkathy shaidle, which Mark Steyn calls "a must-read."
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(credit: Lars Vilks)

On Sunday night, I attended a memorable and inspiring presentation by “Mohammed dog” illustrator Lars Vilks.

His Toronto stop was supposed to be just one on a four city North American tour. Sadly, the good people of Ottawa, Boston and Philadelphia missed out, after Authorities cited “security concerns” and forced each event’s cancellation. (I always stupidly assumed the Authorities were charged with providing security, not opting not to…)

Craig Snider, Director of the David Horowitz Freedom Center in Philadelphia, issued a sad and thoughtful reaction to the cancellation in Philadelphia, calling Vilks “a hero to the free world.”

Vilks’ slide show was surprisingly funny. With dry, deadpan humor, he recounted his adventures from the moment he drew the “Traffic Roundabout Mohammed Dog” illustration, to the attempts on his life by Muslims and their infidel sympathizers.

Being an artist, Vilks views every reaction and attack with amused detachment. He considers the events of the few years simply one long Situationist style “happening,” an international improvisational adventure with a cast of thousands.

The Muslim reaction was predictably violent and overblown. At the same time, the response to Vilks’ illustration from his fellow artists has less than edifying. Vilks joked that these brave, “transgressive” artists were delighted to indulge in “Bash bushing” (as he accidentally called all those tiresome “artistic” attacks on the previous President). However, Mohammed was out of bounds as far as these left-wing atheists were concerned.

Vilks introduced one slide which he said depicted a rare public exhibit of his notorious drawing. All we could see as a cheap table with a nondescript black binder lying unopened on top of it. Vilks explained that the drawing was inside the binder; before daring to look inside, gallery visitors were greeted with a helpful warning sign, alerting them to the binder’s dangerous contents. In keeping with the country in which the “exhibit” was taking place, the warning sign was topped with the always-reassuring word, “ACHTUNG!!”

That detail was greeting with gales of laughter from the largely Jewish crowd assembled in the Toronto Zionist Center…

Now, I can understand truly clever artists “displaying” Vilks’ drawing that way as a joke, a wry comment upon censorship and so forth. The saddest part, however, was that the gallery did it with a straight face.

There’s a lot of this profound tone-deafness going around among the chattering classes.

Here’s the latest example. I tried paraphrasing it, but gave up. The original report cannot be improved upon:

Some editors opted not to run Sunday’s “Non Sequitur” comic strip, which included a “Where’s Muhammad?” reference, according to The Washington Post’s “Comic Riffs” blog.

Wayne Miller’s strip on Sunday depicted a scene in a park with a variety of characters, with the caption, “Picture book title voted least likely to ever find a publisher: ‘Where’s Muhammad?’”

Some 20 papers, including the Portland Press Herald and the Boston Globe (…) opted to run a Sunday replacement strip featuring the recurring character Obvious-Man.

Miller told Comic Riffs, “I have absolutely no information on why any of the editors chose not to run it. All I can do is surmise that the irony of their being afraid to run a cartoon that satirizes media’s knee-jerk reaction to anything involving Islam bounced right of their foreheads. So what they’ve actually accomplished is, sadly, [to] validate the point.”

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