Friday, January 9, 2015

Why are cartoons so threatening?

What is it about cartoons and novels that make some people so angry? Angry enough to kill and imprison. Or put out hits on the creator. I really find this aspect of the world very difficult to wrap my head around. When I was a little girl, I would sometimes come home from school in a snit and my mom would remind me of the nursery rhyme "sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me". Aren't political cartoonists essentially making a statement, calling people names or bringing focus to a situation through their caricatures? In the past few days, the carnage in Paris has horrified the world. President Erdogan of Turkey apparently has nothing better to do than to focus his attention on cartoonists, particularly those whose depictures of himself he doesn't like. Really? You've got to be kidding. I always thought that when you focus attention on something like that, then you give it power. The world is changing in ways that are extremely difficult to understand. And novelists. Novelists write fiction. Fiction is imaginary. But I believe there is still a fatwa on Salman Rushdie. We must not take freedom of expression for granted.

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