This is offensive!
“It's now very common to hear people say, 'I'm rather offended by that.' As if that gives them certain rights. It's actually nothing more... than a whine. 'I find that offensive.' It has no meaning; it has no purpose; it has no reason to be respected as a phrase. 'I am offended by that.' Well, so fucking what." - Steven Fry
I’ve been an artist my entire life. I enjoy creating visual playgrounds for people to examine, explore and critique. I want to leave an impression; make people feel something, anything at all. One statement that has always struck me as strange is when people say that art has offended them and they say it in such a way that the artist is to blame for the offense. Art is up for individual interpretation. What offends one person makes another laugh, or gets another inspired. Everyone who views art chooses what that piece makes him or her feel. We are in control of our own emotions. Only we can choose to take offense; offense cannot be forced upon us. If someone still chooses to be offended, in the words of Steven Fry, so fucking what?
I hold no gun to anyone’s head when I draw Muhammad, demanding they feel any sort of emotion. So why are we threatened with guns and violence when certain followers of Islam choose to be offended? Doodles should not be a death sentence and being offended should not be a sword of justice across anyone’s throat.
This is immature!
Nah. It’s not. It’s immature and dishonest to give one idea exemption from being exposed as ridiculous. People think that a “Draw Muhammad Day” is singling out one religion. It is not about attacking religion at all as it’s about isolating and exposing a very silly idea as, well, very silly. Why is Muhammad the only face in all of creation that can’t be seen? What happens if it is seen? No one has looked upon the face of Muhammad and turned to stone. No one has looked at Muhammad and died. (People have drawn Muhammad and have been slaughtered…but I digress)
I keep hearing that drawing Muhammad is immature for the sake of “being risky” or “edgy” and “just because you can do something doesn’t mean that you should.” Neither of those statements fit this situation. For those who can’t grasp the idea of this purpose, the Oxford dictionary defines satire as, “The use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people’s stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues.” This form of ridicule helps people understand the error in their own logic or reasoning. Some people deserve respect; beliefs do not. No belief, religion or tradition is exempt from ridicule or scrutiny.
The drawing of a character can antagonize no one. The more Muhammad is drawn, the more common and normal it becomes. The more common and normal it becomes, the less upset people are when they see it. It takes away the stigma. By asking everyone to honor the removal of this stigma on one day, we are raising awareness of the idiotic belief that Muhammad is untouchable and above all other imaginary friends, and we’re encouraging people to express themselves as they are given a platform to do it.
Je Suis Charlie (but only as my Facebook profile icon…)
The disgusting, horrific slaughter of 12 Charlie Hebdo cartoonists/editors left the world aching and traumatized earlier this year. It was almost impossible to believe that people were gunned down like fish in a barrel for drawing some cartoons of the “sacred” prophet Muhammad. In the outrage and as a form of grieving, people across the world changed their Facebook profile icons to “Je Suis Charlie” and protested the right of freedom of expression. However, many of those same people have forgotten the danger of not challenging this idea and keep saying, “People who draw Muhammad know the consequences now and deserve what they have coming to them.” Oh how fast #JeSuisCharlie has turned into #FuckYouCharlie. Victim blaming at it’s finest.
I’d like to make sure everyone understands why Muhammad can’t be drawn. He can’t be drawn so that believers won’t see his face and start worshiping him over Allah. This belief is absurd and is a personal problem. Some people are alcoholics, but others are allowed to drink without being shot for it. Some people are allergic to peanuts, but we still sell them in stores without slitting anyone’s throat. Some people would prefer Muhammad not be drawn, but he will be drawn anyway. Not out of anger, not out of ill will, but simply because he must be drawn.