Is it over yet?

It’s been a bloody long day.

Some surprises on the Salient letter page – mine is the only one about The First-Year’s Progress: A Response, and apparently the last word. They won’t print any more on the subject. This is usually the response they reserve for those tedious unresolvable religious debates which spring up every year. My letter also has “[Abridged]” underneath it, which is always the sign of a dreadful piece of writing which goes on and on and never gets to the point and… where was I?

Oh yes – I can’t really complain, because they restored my punctuation (which, ironically, means it received more sub-editing attention than the original Response article) and I assume they’ll continue to print my cartoon as long as it doesn’t contain any obvious triggers.* So what did they abridge? Here’s my original letter, with the abridged section in bold.

Dear Salient,

I really, really didn’t want to have to write this letter. I preferred to let my critic’s arguments speak for themselves, but after Fiona’s article last week, it’s time to defend myself.

The initial complaint against The First-Year’s Progress was made by a vindictive ex-flatmate of mine who posted it on four websites describing it as a “gang-rape” cartoon. Things quickly snowballed, and I found myself in the unenviable position of having to defend my work against misinterpretation and over-analysis by critics of an unusually dogmatic and inflexible nature.

Fiona’s assumptions in her article are just that – assumptions. Her interpretation is subjective, and light-years away from anything I actually intended. The implication that this cartoon seeks to trivialise sexual assault, ridicule its victims, and discourage them from reporting crimes is appalling and defamatory.

I am mortified by the thought that a rape victim could be re-traumatised by reading that single panel, and would urge them to seek professional counselling if they are not already doing so. The contact numbers for services available to victims of sexual violence should’ve been published a month ago, when the response was first commissioned.

I realise everyone is sick to death of this debate. I’m not seeking to prolong it, I’m just tired of the personal abuse. I’m attending the NZ Comics Festival this weekend, and anyone who wishes to talk to me face-to-face about these issues is more than welcome.

So, what now?

The above letter is my final statement on this fucking stupid affair. You can continue to follow the childish insults, insane arguments and barefaced lies in the comments section of the online version of the Response article… but why on earth would you want to? It was humming tonight, and it might be busy for a few more days. Eventually they’ll turn the comments box off, and that’ll be that.

Life is too short. Of course, you need to have a life to realise that.

* How about something about Islam next? Kidding!


5 Responses to “Is it over yet?”

  1. The fact that they deleted that remark means that they read it… and that it scares them. Good enough. You’ll have to live with the fact that one individual is batshit insane… but then, as I’ve pointed out through another channel, they’ve made a situation for themselves by violating University statutes where the University itself can be forced to take action against them for precisely that reason,because they used university facilities to do so.

    Oh, hello LJ, are you reading this? How is it with that other University rag? I heard that they scared you a bit. Oh dear, oh dear…

  2. Please, don’t bait her. She’s just gotten into trouble for commenting on that appalling “Dirty Sesh” video and not doing her research properly. For someone with the word “Journo” in her name she’s not doing the profession any favours.

  3. “We are all born mad. Some remain so.”

  4. I think for some people “research” means listening very carefully to the pixies that live in the bathroom cabinet under the sink.

  5. thomsedavi Says:

    I hadn’t been to the gallery in a while, every time I walked past it I saw the dots and assumed the Kusama exhibit was still on. I was wrong… turns out they just haven’t bothered to remove the dots.

    It’s like the Wellywood sign… it’s not a problem if it’s going to be there temporarily, a bit embarrassing if it becomes part of the Wellington aesthetic.

    But then, the Eiffel Tower was supposed to be temporary… maybe I could get used to dots.

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