Muhammad

Hate-Mongering Religious Extremists…And Then Some *Update*


cjones05042015

This is America. Land of the free. Home of the brave…and a lot of whack jobs.

A hate-mongering Islamophobic group decided to have a “free speech” event in Garland, Texas. It wasn’t so much as a free speech event as much as it was an event designed to insult and bait Muslims. It worked.

You’d have to be an idiot not to think this event would attract nut jobs, even the violent type. There was a ton of security. So much that when Islamic terrorist showed up the shooting only lasted about 15 seconds. One security guard, who was unarmed, was injured. That security guard is probably the only unarmed person in Texas. The two attackers were killed.

This group’s attempt to exercise “free speech” in the form of a “draw Muhammad” contest was a giant bulls eye in the easiest place in the world to buy a gun.

I support everyone’s right to freedom of speech. I exercise it everyday. But that doesn’t mean I can’t say “maybe you shouldn’t say that.” This is America where we have freedom of speech. Every American has a free speech event everyday in this country. You don’t need to rent out a civic center display your hatred stupidity for all the world to see. You have Facebook and Twitter for your covert racist comments.

We have a right to free speech but maybe we should choose how to exercise it more wisely. I’d state that even if there wasn’t a terrorist attack. Maybe we could choose to be less rude and stop provoking people. That doesn’t mean I think anyone should shoot at you because you’re saying some stupid stuff. I don’t think you should be shot at for drawing Muhammad but I also think maybe you should stop trolling people by drawing Muhammad.

And yes. If you draw Muhammad with the intention to anger Muslims then you are being a bigot. In the future you may be a bigot for whom large groups hold candle lit vigils.

*Update*

My friend, Mike Csotd Peterson, wrote an excellent article on this subject and he shared my cartoon with it on his website, Comic Strip Of The Day.

Mike starts his column off with “Clay Jones comes out of the blocks fast with this response.” Yeah, there’s a reason for that.

I am probably the first cartoonist in this country to cover the subject. Yeah I’m bragging but it’s just because I was probably the only cartoonist awake when the news broke. I wasn’t just awake, I was just starting to draw. I work very late. I had a lame idea on another subject that I was putting off, hoping for better inspiration. Even after I had this subject I sketched out an idea and put that off for over an hour as I felt I could do something better. I probably sketched out three ideas. I can’t share them here because I drew them in pencil which does not scan well. I also erased two of them. I started drawing around 1:00 AM and I know I finished up at 3:00.  I know this because that was the time on the microwave as I made celebratory popcorn to eat while lying in bed with the Beagle Chubbs as we watch TV.

Another note on the creativity: I turned the volume down on the TV while I drew and the soundtrack was Foo Fighters. None of their lame latest crap. I was listening to the obscure B-sides from their earlier days. Stuff you’re not cool enough to have ever heard.

Je Suis Charlie


cjones01092015

A lot of people think it’s an editorial cartoonist’s job to offend. I don’t agree.

Several years ago after a Dutch newspaper incited wrath and death threats from Islamist extremists for running a bunch of cartoons depicting Muhammad, my employer debated running the same cartoons.

It was our oped editor’s idea. The editor of the newspaper called a meeting of the oped editor, editorial page editor and myself (being a cartoonist he thought I might have some experience with the matter). The editor was really surprised when I voted against running the cartoons. He thought I would love any opportunity to be offensive. Not at all. I explained my position to him, which also gave him a course in what a political cartoonist’s job actually is.

I explained that running the cartoons at that point was not making a statement. Running them would only serve to offend. A good cartoonist, or any satire, is not to offend people. It’s to put out a viewpoint that makes people think and often challenge readers. If a reader chooses to be offended then that’s a byproduct, a byproduct no publication should be afraid of. If a cartoonists is only working to offend then he’s not a cartoonist. He’s a troll.

But many are afraid of offending readers.

A few months ago a client of mine in Tennessee canceled running by cartoons because they were in a military community and they received too many nasty letters. No death threats, just threats to cancel their subscriptions. The editor said he loved my work but he couldn’t continue to incite outrage among his conservative readers. I’ve received the same message from other editors (a lot in Texas). I’ve even had editors ask me if I could change my viewpoints (they’re in Arizona).

Here’s my point with this cartoon (in case it’s not clear): a lot of American publications and their editors are cowards. Death threats are rare in the U.S. But it doesn’t take a death threat to scare an American editor. Tell them you’re going to tweet something nasty.

I do continue to have clients that are not afraid of strong cartoons. Thanks to all of them. I had one in Las Vegas write me this week that my cartoons have inspired several letters recently and that I need to keep it up. I love editors like that.

Now if only more newspapers would hire cartoonists.