A bloodbath over hand-drawn images is over (for now), while the global reaction is unfolding in drawings.
As much as I am deeply offended by some of the cartoons printed in Charlie Hebdo (like this one of the naked young woman with her burqa up her ass, in line with the magazine's support of banning women's right to choose) I will defend all extremists' right to draw and publish extremist drawings. Respecting the right of all dissenting voices is part of a (still mythical) free and open society that nurtures rational thought and behaviour. The world witnessed the alternative on Wednesday morning.
Here in Vancouver, former Province editorial cartoonist Bob Krieger took to the drawing board hours after the news of the murders of his fellow cartoonists and others.
Surely it was simply a cost-saving measure, but the result is a pitiful amount of visual commentary, and a corporate curbing of free speech.
This week the Province (owned by Postmedia which also owns the only other paid daily newspaper in this town) ran a guest column on the topic of the need for cartoonists' freedom of expression by Aislin (Terry Mosher) of the Montreal Gazette. That one voice ran in other Postmedia outlets including the Regina Leader-Post, Windsor Star and a whole whack of online news aggregators. And nothing against Aislin, but I miss our own, Vancouver-based critical drawings as we try to absorb the unfathomable. But as Krieger told The Tyee after he was shown the door, "corporate media is way too controlling and they don't want as much of a variety of opinion as newspapers should have."
You can see the irony here. Freedom of expression: Yes! ... unless there's more money in clickbait that has no relevance to local readership.
Cartoonists are compelled to make art, to share their expression freely. The papers aren't paying like they used to but the people are clearly paying attention, via social media retweets, hits, and followers. There's a lot of value in that.
It's astounding that the penny has not yet dropped.