Art Spiegelman Criticizes US Press Over Charlie Hebdo Political Correctness

Art Spiegelman potriat

Pulitzer Prize-winning comic artist Art Spiegelman has recently spoken out against the decision of many US media outlets to not republish the cartoons that were featured in Charlie Hebdo, the French satirical publication that was attacked on January 7 (see 12 Killed at Magazine Previously Attacked for Satirical Cartoons).

“I think it’s so hypocritical to drape yourself in freedom of speech and then self-censor yourself to the point where you are not making your readers understand the issues,” Spiegelman told the AFP. “That cartoon was not making fun of the prophet, it was excoriating the believers who would kill.”

Media outlets such as the New York Times, the Associated Press, CNN, and NBC News have refused to show images of the cover from the latest issue of Charlie Hebdo. (see “Are Cartoons More Powerful Than Art?“) News outlets have resorted to blurring and cropping photographs of the now famous image of Muhammad holding a sign that reads “Je Suis Charlie” to hide potentially offensive material, leading Spiegelman to argue that journalists  are choosing political correctness over freedom of speech.

“We have a standard that is long held and that serves us well: that there is a line between gratuitous insult and satire. Most of these are gratuitous insult,” said Dean Baquet, executive editor of the New York Times, according to a blog post written by the public editor Margaret Sullivan.

Spiegelman, whose Pulitzer Prize-winning graphic novel “Maus” depicts his Jewish father’s experience during the Holocaust, shows frank depictions of Jews as mice in World War II Nazi concentration camps.

He has accused many news outlets as having a “mega-fanatic zeal to be polite” and points out that Charlie Hebdo was not targeting Muslims, as the publication has printed caricatures of orthodox Jews and the Pope as well.

“When religion overlaps with social and political issues, it’s necessary to fight back, so Charlie is equally hard on Jews including anti-semitic caricatures and quotes when talking about Israel,” he said. “The equal opportunity insult that came with Charlie Hebdo was the reason it’s estimable.”


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