freedom of a cartoonist.

A few weeks ago, we had a discussion within the Voices team, the IISc newsletter, regarding the role of a cartoon and the freedom of a cartoonist. I feel a lot of it applies to any piece of humour. One response I liked very much was from Maneesh, which with his permission, I am noting below. Thanks Maneesh.

I honestly believe that it is the duty of the cartoonist to stretch a point in order to make a point. A cartoonist can well hide behind the shield of “humour” when cornered unlawfully and that is the biggest weapon in the cartoonist’s armoury.

When articles are written, they cannot always include hearsay or what is a part of common public knowledge/ folk-wisdom but cannot/ will not be confirmed or denied. then an article can be called ill-researched, bigoted, partial, distorted, etc, etc. But the cartoonist can… Because that is exactly what the public is thinking. though this may not always stand to scrutiny in a court of law for various reasons, legal or corrupt. And this very fact deters anyone from taking action against a cartoonist inspite of a lot of the content bordering on the politically-incorrect so long as it isn’t outright libellious.

There are of course limits to how far a line can be crossed, some notable examples being the case over the Prophet’s cartoons in the netherlands last year or the ‘barack obama as jihadist’ cover on time (or some other) magazine, also last year and the latest ‘barak obama-chimp’ cartoon. The included link has quite a nice article on this: Incendiary Satire Has a Dangerous Past.

The point of this mini-sermon is that a cartoonist should not really worry about ruffling feathers, especially in a context as neutral as a university. A case in point being www.phdcomics.com which dared to talk about advisors and commitees as well. And was taken in the right spirit worldwide… A fine step in this direction was the picture of the guy taking a picture of the girl in the protest in the last cartoon because, face it, a lot of people take part in protests purely to be seen or because it allows them licensed hooliganism. I remember that some concerns were raised on the tone of this cartoon and the appropriateness so I bring this up now.

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One Response to “freedom of a cartoonist.”

  1. shecartoons Says:

    What a great article.

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