It seems as though my Caledonia March for Freedom cartoon has stirred up a bit of anger among some folks judging by the feedback and blog reaction it's getting. (Note some of the posted comments on my own blog in this entry.) Today's Spectator prints a letter to the editor related to the cartoon:
This is a complaint about the editorial cartoon in the front section of The Hamilton Spectator. It features Gary McHale leading the March For Freedom in Caledonia. For a newspaper to poke fun at someone's weight, creed or colour is disgraceful and tacky. The Spectator should hang its head in shame.
We live in Stoney Creek and attended the protest on Sunday in Caledonia. We saw a lot of residents from Caledonia and only three little incidents at the police barricade. Those incidents were nothing like those at the speeches when a pickup truck full of natives sped through the site yelling racial remarks at the non-natives.
We also witnessed non-natives not being allowed past the police barricade, but natives were free to walk up the street, pass the police barricades, get their coffee at Tim Hortons, and return to the Douglas Creek Estates.
My wife asked an OPP officer why this was happening. He said he didn't know.
If people can't see there is a two-tier justice system in Caledonia, they are blind.
Gary Thompson-Stoney Creek
The writer best articulates a common complaint among all the feedback I've received and read -- that 1) I was unfair to depict Gary McHale and the protesters in the way I did, and 2) that clearly, the law is being enforced by the O.P.P. on non-natives, whereas natives seem to be free to do whatever they want.
Regarding point 2, I think it's a very legitimate complaint by the protesters, and I've drawn on that sentiment in the past. Here's another concerning the O.P.P.
As for my depiction of the protesters and Gary McHale, well, yeah it was ad hominum in its nature, but frankly, that's what we cartoonists often do when we approach issues. An Editorial cartoon is designed to generate laughter from half of an audience while creating howls of scorn and outrage from the other. It's our little box of anarchy on an otherwise serious, and pontifical editorial page. Don't expect editorial cartoonists to be fair. We're there to entertain, to make cheap shots, to illustrate popular sentiment, and to make readers think. Peruse my archives and you'll find many many cartoons which you may find funny, whereas others will take great offence.
And finally, editorial cartoonists work on our own. We aren't part of any corporate agenda. We don't draw whatever the publisher or editor wants us to draw -- we get our cartoons spiked if they ever think we've crossed the boundary into bad taste or libel, but we are our own masters. On Caledonia, I comment on whatever big events are added to the chronology of this standoff, whether, as shown above, it's an angry mob of non-natives marching like the 7th U.S. Calvary being led by General Custer, or if its a goofball native father teaching his kid how to construct a roadblock. I've done several other cartoons poking the natives, who often voice the loudest complaints when a little bit of humor is made at their expense. Oh well.
Posted at 11:16 am by Graeme_MacKay
October 22, 2006 10:01 PM PDT
Put a turban on the "Freedom March Leader" and see how funny it is.
Point being, you totally missed the purpose of the gathering and guilty of misleading readers of your paper.
|Graeme MacKay |
October 23, 2006 09:51 AM PDT
What do turbans have to do with the Caledonia freedom march? I'm guilty of one thing: totally missing your point.
October 24, 2006 12:03 AM PDT
Graeme MacKay- "...I'm guilty of one thing: totally missing your point"
...indeed you have, Mr. MacKay, indeed you have.
Point was, isn't it easy to pick on a person who is a bit overweight and surround him with lumberjack sterio types wearing ball caps with a Confederate flag in the background - along with the traditional pitch fork, of course.
Point was I wonder how brave and forthcoming you are in drawing Mohammad cartoons?
But don't worry how you portray the poor people of Caledonia (who loose sleep every night due to something close to lawlessness literally happening in their back yards) as a bunch of red neck confederate lumberjacks.
All in fun right?
Strange values you hold Mr. MacKay.
|Graeme MacKay |
October 24, 2006 10:00 AM PDT
There are better ways to demonstrate against the two tiered enforcement of law in Caledonia by the O.P.P. -- which I agree is a serious and legitimate complaint. All I needed to see was one protester with a sign which read "Get a job you filthy Indians" to establish what sort of group made up this so called "march for freedom". The leader of the mob hardly looked like the sort of person suffering from the injustice at Caledonia, and I simply drew my conclusions, conclusions which I'm sure a lot of other people shared.
On drawing Mohammed, in the aftermath of burning embassies and people being killed in angry riots over the cartoons in Pakistan and other parts of the Islamic world where passions went way over the top? -- It doesn't take a brave person to draw a cartoon of Mohammed, it takes an idiot. How your point even compares to Caledonia is beyond me.
October 25, 2006 12:06 AM PDT
So you still miss the point, why am I not surprized?
But hey it's your blog, miss all the trees you want.
As stated before, the point being that it certainly is easier to pick on a white, middle class Canadian than something more pointed like a drawing of Mohammad to show solidarity with the Danish cartoonists.
As for your skillset of "establish what sort of group made up" by one sign holder, well that is quite the feat. Tell that to the residents of Caledonia, or the two ladies who spoke there.
October 26, 2006 11:20 AM PDT
Mr. MacKay, regardless of the rantings of a few, I found the picture of McHale to be not only funny but in his case, almost dead on. Because of his nonsensical approach to things, to tease and make fun of him is practically unavoidable. Thank you.
October 26, 2006 11:20 PM PDT
To "tease and make fun of him is practically unavoidable"... Thanks Tom for appreciating what an editorial cartoonist does. Never think of an editorial cartoon as necessarily being "fair".