Overall, that could’ve been worse.

I’m not going to fisk the Salient letters because life is too short*. Let’s just say that I totally agreed with their criticism of me and my cartoon, except for the bits that specifically mention me or my cartoon.

I’m relishing the irony of unintentionally producing a cartoon so controversial that the next episode has to be bumped for space reasons because of the letters of complaint.

Three of the letters** show signs of reason, and they’re entitled to their opinions, even if I think some of their basic assumptions regarding my intentions are wrong, as I’ve previously detailed.

I should mention, with regards to the one supportive letter, that the cartoon doesn’t represent “alcohol induced promiscuity”. I mentioned alcohol a few days ago because alcohol is a factor in most assault incidents, but there’s no alcohol shown in the cartoon, nor promiscuity, so that was accidentally complicating the issue, which is obviously something we don’t need here.

My response to the letter which accuses me of “a deliberate attempt to belittle and scare young students, and to create a subliminal awareness that rape is all around us, that women are responsible, and that hordes of young men are hardly to be held accountable for the effect a short dress may have on them”… and that’s one hell of an interpretation… is to refer the interested reader to a selection of my previous blog posts which help put this particular individual’s complaint into context.


Working Conditions June 8th 2009
The Final Straw (June 23rd 2009)
A brief dip into normality (June 29th 2009)
Cute happy smiley thoughts of positive goodness (July 7th 2009)
Good news & bad news & WTF? (July 9th 2009)
Tick… Tick… (July 24th 2009)
Hera Hjardottir at the Fringe Bar (July 25th 2009)
Ding! Dong! etc. (July 26th 2009)
Another day, another threatening letter (August 11th 2009
*Oh, okay, just one paragraph. Excuse my indulgence:

The depiction of the woman in the cartoon as completely powerless and scared, having to block the door is highly suggestive that sexual assault is ok in the context of orientation week.

What? It does? How, exactly?

Further, it suggests that the victim is responsible for fighting off the rapist or sexual harasser.

Um… because Batman was busy? I think this means she shouldn’t be responsible for fighting off her attacker, because she shouldn’t be being attacked in the first place. I don’t think this reasoning would work in a real-life situation.

**Including the supportive letter. There was supposed to be a second one, but it vanished.


5 Responses to “Overall, that could’ve been worse.”

  1. Some of her behaviour is amusing in retrospect, such as the time she insisted to me in all sincerity that there was a secret American particle weapons research facility underneath the Central Services building because cyclotrons such as the Large Hadron Collider are circular and the Central Services building is circular. Now apart from the scale differential (ah, many kilometres in diameter versus a few dozen metres)… Oh, and apparently the fact that there was absolutely no evidence for the existence of this secret facility was proof that it existed and that it was secret, and American and of course evil.

  2. In response to your comments above about one of the complaint letters:

    ‘The depiction of the woman in the cartoon as completely powerless and scared, having to block the door is highly suggestive that sexual assault is ok in the context of orientation week’

    What this meant was that portraying the image within a cartoon intended to be humorous suggested that it was somehow ‘funny’ for a female to have to block the door in order to ‘avoid’ being impregnated without her consent during orientation – i.e. raped. Therefore suggesting that it is ok or even quite funny for people to be harassed or assaulted in this context because it’s all ‘part of the fun’ .

    ‘Further, it suggests that the victim is responsible for fighting off the rapist or sexual harasser’

    This related to the woman having to block the door. Women should not have to block the door to ‘avoid’ people who want sex against their wishes. The image seems to support the idea that they should have to. Sorry if this was unclear. The main point was that the cartoon was offensive to me as a woman, a feminist and a rape survivor.

    Obviously you interpret this differently, and as the maker of the cartoon you have a right to your own interpretation. However as an artist you should expect people to critique your work and it is not necessary to resort to personal attacks or sarcasm. Some of the letters did not actually refer to you but only to the image. For most people, this is not about you so don’t take it personally.

  3. Thank you for your criticism of my criticism of your criticism. I have addressed the issues you raise here.

    I would like to emphasise that when you put ‘part of the fun’ in quotation marks, you are certainly not quoting me.

  4. Correct – I wasn’t quoting you. This was meant for emphasis, not to quote you. As I said, I don’t have an issue with you but the image.

    There isn’t any need for sarcasm. I was just explaining what I meant given that you seemed to be mocking me.

  5. Please excuse my tone. It’s been an unusually stressful fortnight.

    I hope that article appears in Salient next week. The dangerous partying season, when it would do the most good, is nearly over.

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