The world really is a terrible, terrible place, and the best that most people can do to stay sane is indulge themselves in hobbies and interests, things that make them happy. Easier for some than others, obviously, and some even choose to block out any kind of news at all, anything that doesn't affect them directly is cast to the wind like so many... Crisp packets? Anyway, this place right here is predominantly a comics blog. Stuff about comics, both good and bad, but never (hardly) anything "heavy". It's not a place to discuss the world at large and isn't trying to solve anything - I'm neither qualified nor clever enough to do anything of the sort. BUT, when something comes along on the "world stage" that the whole world pays attention to, and is also directly related to the "main thing of interest" on this particular blog, well, something has to be said.
Back in January, following the massacre at the offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris, everyone responded in their own way, mostly along the lines of "this is an attack on freedom of speech" - I went along with the option of posting the cartoons that "caused" all the trouble in the first place (because I'm dead cool and all that) whilst pretty much every cartoonist alive went ahead and did exactly what they'd been doing all along, which was to carry on doing what they've always been doing. Cartooning, that is. "We shall not be silenced" and all that, yes! The Professional Cartoonists' Organisation, meanwhile, along with English PEN gathered sixty-five cartoonists and got a book crowdfunded, with profits split between a fund for the families of those that were murdered in France and English PEN's Writers At Risk programme, which defends freedom of expression world wide. And this is that book:
It's for a great cause, obviously, and you can order yourself a copy here if you like. Back in this corner of the universe, let's have a peek at some of the wares on offer within the book's 100+ cartoons...
There's a lot of the cartooning world's "big players" in this one - just a handful (as in, one's that I can confidently say "I know that one") include Banx, Steve Bright, Tony Husband, Steve Bell...
Bill Greenhead, Lee Healey, The Surreal McCoy, Ralph Steadman, Hunt Emerson...
Tim Leatherbarrow, Mac, Dave Brown...
...And so on. There's a fair bit of the same idea played out repeatedly within the book - I think more than half of them involve terrorists being skewered by pencils, and a couple of them are worryingly close to "anti-Islam" rather than "pro-Freedom-of-Speech", but it really is an emotional pile of paper, ink and glue. In a world where certain people retaliate to a joke with bombs and bullets, what can you do but laugh? At least in this particular instance, the terrorists have failed in what they set out to do, but this is contrasted in this final, poignant piece from Peter Schrank:
It's a real kicker that one, it really is. Makes me feel like a shit, certainly. All the mayhem and misery going on in the world, and here's me (with my massive daily audience of 200 lovely people) only kicking up a fuss when it affects something that matters to what I'm interested in. Ouch.
Go on, go and support the British Red Cross while you're at it. Help everyone else as well.
There were a few editorial cartoons relating to the whole thing published in January that didn't make it into Draw The Line Here, I'm guessing for obvious space issues, or more possibly contextual reasons. I doubt many would see the relevance of two of my favourites:
But it also would've been good to see how people were responding on the "other side" of the world. There was this viral image doing the rounds in the days following the attack, which I think we can all agree is something that HAS to be driven home to a lot of people:
With that in mind, here's some cartoons from the "other side", showing the same opinions as those on "this side" - found these in an article by Jordan Valinsky, so thanks to him for these:
Titled "Freedom Up In The Air"
Translation: "This is how we avenge the cartoonists' killer"
We'll leave the final word here to Charlie Hebdo themselves - still alive and kicking, now selling more than ever, and sticking to their mantra of offending just about everyone. This one here (too big for my scanner!) is from the middle pages of the 1st July edition of the paper, a few days after the latest attack by dickheads on people who were doing nothing but living their lives:
"It is unwise to annoy cartoonists" - Matt Groening, 1984