Cartoon Double Standards

In a story reminiscent of the Danish Mohammed cartoon protests, numerous American newspapers (at least 25, according to reports collected by Michelle Malkin) have refused to print this week’s edition of “Opus” because it’s potentially offensive to Muslims:

[Writers Group comics editor Amy] Lago said she flagged some of the syndicate’s newspaper clients for two reasons: because of the possibility that the jokes about Islam would be misconstrued and because of the sexual innuendo in the punchline.

“The strip came in and I knew we would have to send out an alert to all the newspapers,” Lago said. “I do that fairly regularly with materials that might pose issues for local areas. … We knew that because it was a sex joke, it could raise issues.

And there is another client that has issues with any Muslim depiction whatsoever.

A remarkable piece of self-censorship, especially when you consider the “Opus” cartoon that appeared exactly one week before:

The Aug. 19 “Opus” ended with a joke about the late Jerry Falwell. In that strip, Lola, fresh from a quest to become an Amish nudist, is doing yoga and talking to the penguin character Opus about who goes to heaven.

“Liberals? Evolutionists? Feminists? ACLU lawyers?” Opus asks incredulously. “Yep,” replies Lola.

“Kennedy Democrats? French people? Manly women who don’t shave … they’re all up there?” Opus wonders. “Yep,” Lola repeats.

“With Jerry Falwell?” asks Opus. “Yep,” Lola says again.

Opus looks up in an aha! sort of moment. “Goodness, must HE be annoyed!” the penguin exclaims.

“Eternally,” Lola replies.

Here’s the key section of the story:

Lago said she didn’t flag newspapers about that strip because she didn’t think readers would misunderstand the humor.“They’re not going to take it seriously,” she said.

But she did alert newspapers about the Muslim-themed cartoon because there was a question about whether Muslim readers would be offended.

Huh? There are a lot of things you could read into this double standard. Does she think Muslims are less intelligent and sophisticated? Does she think conservative Christians have a higher tolerance level? Or most likely, there is fear of potential violent repercussions from one group but not the other. This episode will make great fodder for the sequel to Mark Steyn’s America Alone.

For the record, I am opposed to government-imposed censorship – and in this case the need for censorship at all. (Tastelessness alone is not sufficient grounds for removal. As for “Opus,” I lost interest in its content & flavor years ago.) But such “dhimm” judgment and pathetic rationalization only helps to clarify why MSM newspapers are in demise. I just hope the application can’t be extended to all of Western Civilization.

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  1. Opus gets censored out of fear of offendingMuslims…

    This story (via The Amboy Times and Hot Air) has been making headlines on the blogosphere in the past day or two. It seems that Berkeley Breathed’s Opus comic strip, which you can see here at the side, has been suspended by 25 newspapers carrying it ….

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