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September 2, 2013 at 8:03am

I don’t know the work of the cartoonist in question, certainly not well enough to lower the boom with a racism charge. I would want to read a lot of the work before I did that; it seems only fair. Not all that convinced it would mean a bunch even if I did. I no longer share the vigorous faith in labeling something that some folks on that thread and in other places more generally seem to evince.


The Comics Reporter

I’m on vacation, so part of me is like “forget this,” but this is an area I’ve put a lot of thought into, so another part is feeling as uncharitable as this description of an argument I was in the other day. You should probably read the whole thing for full context, but “lower the boom with a racism charge” stuck in my craw.

Pointing out that a comic has objectively racist caricatures of Arabs that fall right in line with hacky political cartoons and actual racist propaganda and historical racist methods is “lowering the boom with a racism charge.” It’s shouting down a comic because We Don’t Like It and are Unhappy People, which is demonstrably nonsense.

Here’s what happened: someone posts a comic and reviews it. Someone else asks if it’s satirical or what, because it looks pretty racist. The creator of the comic rolls in, asks if people are censors, the pc police, and all this other nonsense. Cartoons aren’t real so who cares, you’re the real racists anyway, and a bunch of other idiot arguments. His cronies roll in, talking about how soft and cowardly the question-askers are.

Other people, myself included, point out that naw, this comic actually is racist, and if you’re riffing on something else that’s racist, you’re still using racist elements! Other people talk about how discussing the racism of something isn’t requesting a ban, and if your transgressive work is just replicating the same lazy ideas that transgressive works were doing 40 years ago, maybe your work is part of the status quo, not transgression.

I just skimmed the thread and the people talking about censorship are Karns and his weed carriers, because everyone who actually wants to talk about Fukitor, or Karns himself since he made the thread about himself, bends over backwards to deny censorship charges every time one of the “y’all are just too soft and feminine to get this work of genius” brigade suggests anybody wants to censor anything.

But we’re the bad guys, somehow, because I guess using the word “racist” to describe something that quacks and acts like a racist duck is a step too far for polite discourse.


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