Thursday, May 20, 2010
Everybody Draw Mohammed Day
If you're not aware, today is Everybody Draw Mohammed Day. Please click on the above image to read what I have to say about it in cartoon form on I Can Bend Paperclips!
In April 2010, the animated television show South Park aired a two-parter to celebrate it's 200th episode, bearing the not-quite original titles, "200" & "201." The episodes centered around celebrities wanting to kidnap Mohammed and steal his power: being the only thing in America that was taboo to ridicule. As with the previous episode "Cartoon Wars," Comedy Central blocked out all images of Mohammed in "200." After a blog made vague threats against South Park's creators, Comedy Central went so far as to bleep out the name "Mohammed" in "201," and to bleep out an entire speech at the end about terrorism and intolerance - even though the speech did not mention Mohammed or Islam.
On April 20, 2010, Seattle cartoonist Molly Norris created the cartoon Everybody Draw Mohammed Day, in support of South Park's creators Trey Parker & Matt Stone. It suggested that on May 20th, everyone should draw Mohammed in the name of free speech. A facebook page was created, (well, a few facebook pages, actually,) and the idea gained momentum. Since then, Molly Norris has done everything possible to apologize and distance herself from the idea, including scribbling over her original cartoon, pointing out that none of the images she actually drew are of Mohammed ("they are just CLAIMING to be," - in her own words and capitals,) and suggesting that the name be changed to "Everybody Draw Al Gore Day." Meanwhile, the Pakistani government has banned facebook and YouTube access within its borders indefinitely.
So why am I doing this?
I have nothing against Islam, or its non-violent followers. To be honest, I'm a little taken aback at the hatred that some of my fellow participants are showing. But no one should be afraid to draw a picture, especially in a country that is based on free speech and has a mainstream culture that constantly ridicules Christianity and other religions. If you say that I am being deliberately offensive to your faith by drawing Mohammed's image, look at it this way. Catholics aren't supposed to eat meat on Fridays during Lent, but that doesn't mean that non-Catholics who do are offending them. Get it?