Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween

Hi all. The theory on how to spot a hack computer artist is in the "Working Like Mad" at the bottom.

And as promised here is all the juicy detail on the controversy on my protestor illustration!



The Complaint:

While I know all about freedom of the press, I would request that some kind of pseudo-retraction be printed in the next article. I'm concerned about potential backlash - our article was not meant to be a make-fun-of-name-calling-hate-all article, but rather a discourse on the reasonableness of the JAG protests. In no way were we calling anyone stupid, nor suggesting anything about the rather interesting-looking character with the bullhorn.

Editor:

I just put copies of the newspaper in the mail for you. You should know that there has been an uproar about the "protestOCI" illustration I had you draw for the article criticizing the students who protested the JAG recruiters on campus. I've forwarded the email I got from one of the authors, and some people who are involved (on either side) have agreed that the cartoon is offensive because of the phrase "I'm with Stupid" (because the article doesn't resort to name calling). I've decided to print a clarification in the next issue, along the lines of the fact that the authors did not endorse the illustration (don't have time to get permission from the authors about printing graphics, and this is the first time I've had negative feedback!) and that it mischaracterized/exaggerated the arguments that the authors were making.
Do you have any take on this? I never had a policy regarding permission to include illustrations with stories, but maybe I should...as much of a pain it would be. The newspaper also cannot be insensitive to the stories we cover.

My Reply:

I guess in the subtext of it all it isn't simple name calling. It's a reflection of my own personal experience attending some of the large Chicago protests back in 2003. I'd see many people there that seemed to understand what message they wanted to get across. I'd also see a lot of people that would express about as much excitement as if their girlfriend had just taken them to the ballet, or their boyfriends dragging them to see Star Wars. I got a sense that not a lot of people were sure why they were there and had probably brought a long a few people that weren't sure why their unsure friend brought them. They probably could have just explained themselves with a sign along the lines of "I'm with stupid." I'd be highly entertained to see a sign like that within a mob and could probably relate in some instances. So essentially that article made me imagine that this situation could be going on there and the illustration could finally place the sign in the hands of the friends of uncertain protesting friends.

As for the girl with the bullhorn, oh well. Take what they will from that. Maybe she is confused about more than why she is protesting, or not. I dunno, I didn't really confide sexuality in her, she's a cartoon and can be who she likes and take on different roles. Plus I probably would have drawn a doo-rag on her if I wanted to imply more of that sort of thing. Maybe she is screaming "The eggs, bacon, and toast is ready!" in the wrong place at the wrong time. We don't know.

Well at least attention is being paid and it's healthy for some to have opinions. I'd rather not see everyone have to carry that kind of sign.

As far as policies go don't impose those. You run a great paper that allows for free speech and it should be kept that way. Soon you'll all be pointing an "I'm with stupid" sign at me and others with those policies. I'll double check on anything that may be insensitive, but I hope I had a strong enough reason for this one.


5 comments:

Nathan Robert said...

Hey thanks for clicking. I see you like Sam Kieth. It's always nice to know there are other Maxx fans in the world. I see a little JTHM in your drawings too.

Anyway, best wishes,
Nathan

Mayor McChiz said...

I know this is an old blog...post...article...thing, but that's pretty sweet that the drawing you did got everyone all pissed off. People should realize that a cartoon is a cartoon, but now you can say "Yeah, I pissed off a bunch of Chicago lame asses with this picture I did. They had to issue an apology." You deserve a drink and a smoke for that. Tip top Matthew, tip top.

Mayor McChiz said...

I know this is an old blog...post...article...thing, but that's pretty sweet that the drawing you did got everyone all pissed off. People should realize that a cartoon is a cartoon, but now you can say "Yeah, I pissed off a bunch of Chicago lame asses with this picture I did. They had to issue an apology." You deserve a drink and a smoke for that. Tip top Matthew, tip top.

Mayor McChiz said...

I know this is an old blog...post...article...thing, but that's pretty sweet that the drawing you did got everyone all pissed off. People should realize that a cartoon is a cartoon, but now you can say "Yeah, I pissed off a bunch of Chicago lame asses with this picture I did. They had to issue an apology." You deserve a drink and a smoke for that. Tip top Matthew, tip top.

A. Maxwell Townsend said...

Hey, Matt --

I work in the newspaper business. I think your editor/whoever made a big mistake running a clarification because of your drawing.
It's easy to let readers' and sources' complaints get to you, but people who run newspapers have to remember that they DO run the newspaper.
You have to have a thick skin. You can't let people with their own agendas walk all over you and start running your newspaper for you.
If he had complaints about the picture, publish them as letters to the editor and let it go.
You have to be sensitive to readers and the causes you cover, but not to the point you cringe like a frightened dear every time you have to listen to a whiny protest hobbyist who won't give a fuck about any thing but his 401k and what kind of car he drives after he gets his diploma into his grubby, dope-smoking paws.
In other words, right on. Keep being controversial.