Alan Gardner writes:
About 20 people picketed the offices of Newsday yesterday protesting the publishing of a Mallard Fillmore cartoon last Sunday and demanded that the editor, John Mancini, be fired for running the cartoon according to Editor & Publisher.
The cartoon depicts a large dinosaur chasing a smaller saying, “I’m not chasing you because you’re a pachycephalosaurus … I’m chasing you because you’re delicious” in which the small dinosaur responds, “Oh, thank goodness. I was worried that this might be a hate crime.” The cartoon ran a week after the first year anniversary of the death of an Ecuadorian immigrant at the hands of seven teenagers. Protestors felt that running the cartoon reduced hate crimes to a joke.
Newsday issued a statement saying, “we expect the cartoons we publish, many of which are nationally syndicated, to amuse, stir and entertain, but never to offend. Hate crime is a serious issue. This nationally syndicated cartoon should never have run and we have expressed our concern to the syndicator.”
Oh come on. What has happened to us?
George H McCallum
I hate crime.
Is that a hate crime?
So you're not allowed to make a joke about something that's extinct? And I had such a good ammonite joke lined up.
"Hate crimes" legislation is meant to diminish our Constitutionally-guaranteed freedom of speech.
After "hate" is considered a "crime" will "anger" be next; how about "lack of consideration"? How about "rudeness"? All of these things are essentially "thought" crimes meant to channel and control the way that people use their brains.
The cartoon is effective and funny and is in no way "offensive". The editors at Newsday should be ashamed for caving so easily and embracing and championing concepts of self-censorship that will directly impact their ability as "journalists" to report.
This bizarre affection for self-censorship by those who should always foster unfettered freedom of speech - all to avoid "causing offense" or "inconvenience" or "upset" - is intellectually, morally, and ethically craven.
Those who "picketed" the Newsday offices to get this cartoonist fired are seriously confused. Did their signs say "Please cancel freedom of speech because it is offensive"? Some folks just have too much time on their hands, and hate the fact that somebody somewhere has ideas that challenge their own.