Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary

April 6, 2012

Some Students Rally To Fired University Of Texas Cartoonist

Here's an editorial typical of those surfacing here and there in support of University of Texas cartoonist Stephanie Eisner. Eisner was fired for a cartoon about the media coverage surrounding Trayvon Martin's death. There's also a petition on that campus to reinstate the cartoonist.

In general, I'm against cartoonists losing their gigs for making lousy cartoons, however that might be defined. It's hard for me to see how this one crossed the line from being a bad cartoon into an unacceptable engagement of issues and ideas, but I don't get to decide that for other people. At the same time, it's my hope that editorial cartoons and cartoonists are engaged on the merits of their entirety -- or lack thereof -- rather than whether or not they trigger a disqualifying mechanism. I'm not exactly certain how this one is being engaged. One danger sign for me is that it seems like some of the critics are latching onto a racial signifier (the use of the phrase "colored boy") rather than engaging the broader issues such as the wisdom in recasting such tragic news into a facile media critique in the first place, or what that depiction of the media actually implies. I'm open to the idea that some phrases are clearly verboten, but I think there's a danger when you can point to one thing and say, "game over" in seeing this breach of decorum as the only thing that is problematic about the art.
posted 8:00 am PST | Permalink

Daily Blog Archives
November 2019
October 2019
September 2019
August 2019
July 2019
Full Archives