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A Response From the Cartoonist

John on March 9, 2006 at 10:08 am

The cartoonist who created the capitalist piglet cartoon has now responded in the comments section of the Small Dead Animals post about this. There is also a longer and somewhat confusing defense published in the new edition of The Sheaf out today.

First to clarify, there are two names on the cartoon. Turns out they are friends who work together but in this case only one of them drew the cartoon. His name is Jeff MacDonald and he uses the pseudonym “Y!ph”. Here’s what he wrote on Small Dead Animals:

I don’t have time or the sufficient sanity after the irrationality which I have been reading all morning to respond to everything on here, but I will say this. You missed every point possible.

I am not a leftist, I am not a heathen, and it was not hateful. and MOST IMPORTANTLY: MARK WATSON HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH THE COMIC. Y!PH WROTE AND DREW IT AND ONLY HAD INPUT FROM A CERTAIN GROUP OF INDIVUALS WHO ALSO CONSIDER THEMSELVES CHRISTIANS.

He does, in a later comment, offer an apology, however, his letter in The Sheaf sounds much less aplogetic. In fact he seems to be quite proud of himself:

I wonʼt say much about how necessary something like this was, and how in the very same week, two other Christian-content comics were printed, but I will mention a few things that I hope will bring us back to reality and off those Inquisition-esque high horses that are so popular and easy to get on.

I’m not sure how this comic was necessary while printing the Muhammed cartoons was unnecessary. How does that work exactly?

“Capitalist Piglet” is quite obviously not a hatedriven comic, and it is undeniably about more than just shock value. If it was shock value, Iʼm sure it would have been more graphic, and it wouldnʼt have contained such a unique quality as two punch lines in only two frames – that is cartoon gold.

The joke isn’t funny. Not to me anyway. Even the artist’s co-author (see below) conceded that it didn’t make sense.

My question now is this: how is this blasphemous, deviant, offensive, or worthy of such attacks? Unless you view the actions portrayed in the comic as representative of characters of ill repute, then I see no problem with the joke.

First of all, what attacks? I have yet to see so much as a four letter word. And, please Jeff, it’s a little ridiculous to draw this cartoon and then castigate people for being “uncivil.” But the key point here is that if you find this cartoon offensive you must have a problem with men who give blow jobs. Um…yes, actually. I can’t help but be struck by how similar this defense is to the one offered by the publisher of the University of Toronto cartoon (Jesus and Muhammed kissing):

Hell, those could be any two guys kissing! And who doesn’t play tonsil hockey in the Tunnel of Love?

Apparently, there is one fixed star in the moral universe of Canadian campus life; it is gay equality. The publishers/cartoonists argument boils down to this: “You’re saying this cartoon is offensive? Homophobe!” To his credit, Jeff does offer his e-mail for those who would like to constructively engage him on this: Yphcomics@gmail.com Feel free to contact him, but do keep it constructive, we’re not Jihadist Muslims after all.

Mark Watson is the other individual, the one who didn’t actually draw this cartoon. His response is on his blog and also published in the new edition of The Sheaf. It contains this defense of the cartoon in question:

[W]hen I saw this character engaged the activities that the last strip depicted, I almost immediately thought of the current state of the American christian right and their debasement of Jesus’ philosophy (a mode of thought that even Thomas Jefferson described as “sublime”) into a strange organism designed to move product and prop up a uniquely corrupt administration.

A different argument than the homophobia charge. The cartoon shouldn’t be considered pure incitement for incitement’s sake because it does have a point. I’m not convinced. In any case, Mark’s explanation is a clear case of Bush Derangement Syndrome. I also find it telling that he labels it “Jesus’ philosophy.” Was Jesus a philosopher or was he a rabbi who claimed to be the messiah? It seems to me this would be one of the basic dividing lines between Christians and those who are not. Limiting Jesus to the role of philosopher goes a long way to explaining where Mark is coming from.

Finally, the current issue of the Sheaf is devoted almost entirely to the fallout. In addition to the letters excerpted above there is a letter on the front page from the paper’s editorial staff claiming that the publication of the cartoon was an accident:

It must be made clear that, despite the shadow our March 2nd issue has cast upon the reputation of this paper, we do stand behind the implicit guidelines set by our decision to withhold publication of the Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons. That decision was one of a majority. The distinction between these two decisions must be made clear: The decision not to publish the Jyllands-Posten cartoons was a conscious editorial effort; however, it was not our editorial judegement to publish the “Capitalist Piglet” cartoon. It was our full intention to remove the cartoon before publication, and its appearance in the paper was not in any way an editorial decision. We had no intention to offend or confront our readers through the publication of the “Capitalist Piglet” cartoon.

The double standard that we have mistakenly employed and the hypocrisy we have shown has lent little credence to the ethical and journalistic integrity for which our editorial staff strives. The trust that exists between the Sheaf and its readers has been tarnished.

Yeah, I’d say so. What they still fail to explain is how two other Christian bashing cartoons ended up on the same page with the piglet. Was that an accident too? Since the whole page has been scrubbed from the pdf of the last issue, we have to assume so. For one excellent response to the cartoonists see this post at Small Dead Animals.

Finally, I note with some amusement that the female author who had a piece in the last issue encouraging everyone to see the Vagina Monologues has resigned in protest as of the current issue. Apparently, talking vaginas and people screaming the C-word are one thing, but the piglet cartoon…that’s just bad form.

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Category: Absurd & Outrageous |

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