Drawing The Prophet     With two gallery artists in my family, a person would think I could draw a straight line. Instead, I experienced a childhood of my mother studying whatever art project I gave her for mother’s day like it was a Rorschach test.   “Honey… it… is so beautiful. It… it…is... It’s just so…”   “It’s a horse, mom.”   “Oh? And a wonderful horse it is. It is going right on the refrigerator beneath the macaroni mask you made last year.”   “That’s a turkey, mom.”   “And a wonderful turkey it is.”     It is probably a good thing, as I already get more than my fair share of letters and emails that begin with “I disagree with everything you’ve ever written,” and ends with “I hope you die in a fiery car crash” every week.   (Dear Uncle John, I don’t know how you have gotten my email address, but you are the wind beneath my wings.)   So, it is probably a good thing that I cannot draw or I would be a cartoonist.       It seems like the fastest way of irritating people and to risk life and limb is to be a cartoonist. Now I dislike Family Circus and Garfield as much as anybody. We get it, the cat loves lasagna, but the Keane family should be arrested by the police for letting Little Billy roam aimlessly around the neighborhood. If it was set in the south, Little Billy would be lying in a pool of his own blood in some neighbor’s backyard because those rednecks carry guns. I apologize for that last joke. Southerners would not shoot a defenseless child like Little Billy. He is clearly white and not wearing a hoodie.     They could at least make an effort, but that is not what is putting cartoonists at risk. It seems cartoonists can merit death for drawing a cartoon of the prophet Muhammad. Now, if you know any cartoonists, you realize that the afterlife is a bump up in their standard of living no matter what it is like. Not every cartoonist gets to enjoy the lifestyle of the publisher of this newspaper. There are days where even he has experienced the Toons jet needing repairs, the Toons yacht in dry dock, the Toons towers in need of paint job, and the Toons thong on the wrong end of a prostrate exam.)     Devil: “Welcome to hell, infidel. You have been banished to the lake of fire. Every morning here will start out being raped repeatedly with a pineapple. After that, your skin will be peeled off from head to foot with a potato peeler. Then comes what we down here refer to as the Rosanne Barr… Why don’t you look scared?”      Cartoonist: “I’m a cartoonist. I draw caricatures of fat kids. I spend hours alone in a mold filled basement trying to come up with satire that most people don’t get.”    “My body is falling apart from sitting stooped over my comics too long. There is no such thing as a millionaire, cartooning playboy.”    “There are weeks that eating hamburger helper without the hamburger would be a step up in my living standard. Let me give you a sentence you will never hear, ‘Take me now, you cartooning stud.’”   Devil: “No, one told me you’re a cartoonist. I guess this place is going to be kind of boring for you.  Try not to yawn in front of those getting the lava enema. Any advice you can give me to make this place more horrifying would be appreciated.”     My first reaction to people murdering cartoonists for drawing Muhammad is how do would be murders know that they are really doodling the Prophet since no one knows what he looks like?  It could be an old sketch of a fat, bearded Jim Morrison the cartoonist had lying around or Zach Galifianakis on a thin day. A person can only take their word for it. Not the most trust worthy source.   Cartoonist: “It is the Prophet.”   Person: “Why do you have Muhammad wearing camo? Are you sure it is not Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty? Yeah, it is Phil from the episode where Uncle Si and him take a wrong turn and end up in a gay bathhouse…”   Cartoonist: “No, no, it’s the Prophet. Trust me, it is the Prophet. See I wrote Prophet right under his duck call.”   I would feel better if I was defending the Lenny Bruces, George Carlins, or Richard Pryors of the cartooning world. The people organizing these events and doing these cartoons are simply trying to be offensive as possible.     Much like American Nazis marching through a Jewish suburb, Larry Flynt printing his Jerry Falwell cartoon, or any Nickelback song, the goal of these people in America is simply to offend. There is no art or beauty or deeper meaning in the pieces themselves. For Christians out there, it is like being bombarded by a festival where people are invited to smear and fling human waste on the likeness of Jesus on the cross. If you had to hear radio spots and see billboards for such an event, how would you feel?     Such people are only crying for attention their lives would not otherwise merit. Sadly, we live in a society where our media gives it to them. While I am not convinced that political correctness is anything new. I don’t think it magically popped up in the 1980s. There have always been standards and practices regarding speech.      A person’s right to draw a picture of Muhammad, to tell a dirty joke, or engage in pornography must be defended.  As should any company have the right to insist their employees or spokespeople keep their nose clean, a newspaper the right to refuse an ad, an advertiser to be associated with a personality or a building’s ownership the right to refuse the use of their premises.     A person has the right to refuse service to a Michael Moore or a Rush Limbaugh because they are blowhards, I presume even their wives and mothers would probably agree that they are blowhards, but not because of the color of their skin color or sexuality. It is a balancing act.      I found it interesting that no one in the media has thought about interviewing the management of buildings where such events are held. Are they willing to hold similar such events directed at Jesus Christ, by Muslims? The same goes for any newspapers or radio stations involved. How would the local population react?     As long as the playing field is level, I have no problem with what the refs decide. A pastor that burns Korans had better remain silent if a bunch of atheists have a Christian Bible burning bonfire.     Freedom of speech is a two way street and, if we are not careful, the bus usually hits us when we are looking the wrong direction. It means that the worst among us, neo-Nazis, pornographers, nuts, cartoonists, Fox News hosts and Congressmen have a right to say what they want. We protect that which is worst among us in order to preserve what is best in us.     Anyone that believes that seventy virgins await them in heaven for killing people that do doodles better be aware that virgins are awfully hard to find. So, I am pretty sure half of them will probably be the cartoonists you just tried to kill. Who wants to go through eternity with someone doing a sketch of Cathy… or is it Mohammad? I cannot tell the difference.
Drawing The Prophet     With two gallery artists in my family, a person would think I could draw a straight line. Instead, I experienced a childhood of my mother studying whatever art project I gave her for mother’s day like it was a Rorschach test.   “Honey… it… is so beautiful. It… it…is... It’s just so…”   “It’s a horse, mom.”   “Oh? And a wonderful horse it is. It is going right on the refrigerator beneath the macaroni mask you made last year.”   “That’s a turkey, mom.”   “And a wonderful turkey it is.”     It is probably a good thing, as I already get more than my fair share of letters and emails that begin with “I disagree with everything you’ve ever written,” and ends with “I hope you die in a fiery car crash” every week.   (Dear Uncle John, I don’t know how you have gotten my email address, but you are the wind beneath my wings.)   So, it is probably a good thing that I cannot draw or I would be a cartoonist.       It seems like the fastest way of irritating people and to risk life and limb is to be a cartoonist. Now I dislike Family Circus and Garfield as much as anybody. We get it, the cat loves lasagna, but the Keane family should be arrested by the police for letting Little Billy roam aimlessly around the neighborhood. If it was set in the south, Little Billy would be lying in a pool of his own blood in some neighbor’s backyard because those rednecks carry guns. I apologize for that last joke. Southerners would not shoot a defenseless child like Little Billy. He is clearly white and not wearing a hoodie.     They could at least make an effort, but that is not what is putting cartoonists at risk. It seems cartoonists can merit death for drawing a cartoon of the prophet Muhammad. Now, if you know any cartoonists, you realize that the afterlife is a bump up in their standard of living no matter what it is like. Not every cartoonist gets to enjoy the lifestyle of the publisher of this newspaper. There are days where even he has experienced the Toons jet needing repairs, the Toons yacht in dry dock, the Toons towers in need of paint job, and the Toons thong on the wrong end of a prostrate exam.)     Devil: “Welcome to hell, infidel. You have been banished to the lake of fire. Every morning here will start out being raped repeatedly with a pineapple. After that, your skin will be peeled off from head to foot with a potato peeler. Then comes what we down here refer to as the Rosanne Barr… Why don’t you look scared?”      Cartoonist: “I’m a cartoonist. I draw caricatures of fat kids. I spend hours alone in a mold filled basement trying to come up with satire that most people don’t get.”    “My body is falling apart from sitting stooped over my comics too long. There is no such thing as a millionaire, cartooning playboy.”    “There are weeks that eating hamburger helper without the hamburger would be a step up in my living standard. Let me give you a sentence you will never hear, ‘Take me now, you cartooning stud.’”   Devil: “No, one told me you’re a cartoonist. I guess this place is going to be kind of boring for you.  Try not to yawn in front of those getting the lava enema. Any advice you can give me to make this place more horrifying would be appreciated.”     My first reaction to people murdering cartoonists for drawing Muhammad is how do would be murders know that they are really doodling the Prophet since no one knows what he looks like?  It could be an old sketch of a fat, bearded Jim Morrison the cartoonist had lying around or Zach Galifianakis on a thin day. A person can only take their word for it. Not the most trust worthy source.   Cartoonist: “It is the Prophet.”   Person: “Why do you have Muhammad wearing camo? Are you sure it is not Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty? Yeah, it is Phil from the episode where Uncle Si and him take a wrong turn and end up in a gay bathhouse…”   Cartoonist: “No, no, it’s the Prophet. Trust me, it is the Prophet. See I wrote Prophet right under his duck call.”   I would feel better if I was defending the Lenny Bruces, George Carlins, or Richard Pryors of the cartooning world. The people organizing these events and doing these cartoons are simply trying to be offensive as possible.     Much like American Nazis marching through a Jewish suburb, Larry Flynt printing his Jerry Falwell cartoon, or any Nickelback song, the goal of these people in America is simply to offend. There is no art or beauty or deeper meaning in the pieces themselves. For Christians out there, it is like being bombarded by a festival where people are invited to smear and fling human waste on the likeness of Jesus on the cross. If you had to hear radio spots and see billboards for such an event, how would you feel?     Such people are only crying for attention their lives would not otherwise merit. Sadly, we live in a society where our media gives it to them. While I am not convinced that political correctness is anything new. I don’t think it magically popped up in the 1980s. There have always been standards and practices regarding speech.      A person’s right to draw a picture of Muhammad, to tell a dirty joke, or engage in pornography must be defended.  As should any company have the right to insist their employees or spokespeople keep their nose clean, a newspaper the right to refuse an ad, an advertiser to be associated with a personality or a building’s ownership the right to refuse the use of their premises.     A person has the right to refuse service to a Michael Moore or a Rush Limbaugh because they are blowhards, I presume even their wives and mothers would probably agree that they are blowhards, but not because of the color of their skin color or sexuality. It is a balancing act.      I found it interesting that no one in the media has thought about interviewing the management of buildings where such events are held. Are they willing to hold similar such events directed at Jesus Christ, by Muslims? The same goes for any newspapers or radio stations involved. How would the local population react?     As long as the playing field is level, I have no problem with what the refs decide. A pastor that burns Korans had better remain silent if a bunch of atheists have a Christian Bible burning bonfire.     Freedom of speech is a two way street and, if we are not careful, the bus usually hits us when we are looking the wrong direction. It means that the worst among us, neo-Nazis, pornographers, nuts, cartoonists, Fox News hosts and Congressmen have a right to say what they want. We protect that which is worst among us in order to preserve what is best in us.     Anyone that believes that seventy virgins await them in heaven for killing people that do doodles better be aware that virgins are awfully hard to find. So, I am pretty sure half of them will probably be the cartoonists you just tried to kill. Who wants to go through eternity with someone doing a sketch of Cathy… or is it Mohammad? I cannot tell the difference.
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