Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Easter At The Silly

PERHAPS it is all this talk about the Titanic and brave gentlemen awaiting their fate upon a tilting deck. Or maybe it is the GWS Giants and Gold Coast Suns resolutely taking the field week after week, fortified only by Andrew Demetriou’s cash, to be thrashed, humiliated and reduced to parodies of proper football teams.  Whatever the reason, courage has been a topic pondered long and hard these past few days at the Billabong, where an autumn lurgy has reddened the nose and seriously reduced posting.

At the Silly, the topic of courage also has been in the air, with Readers Editor Judy Prisk today addressing the fearless eagerness of two cartoonist colleagues to offend Christians at their sacred times of the year. Yes, Miss Prisk opines, their scribbles might be deemed offensive, but only “at first glance”. Just for reference, here are the cartoons. Take a look – indeed, take two looks, as Miss Prisk would do – and see if either inspection renders the intention of one or both images other than an insult. Here is Cathy Wilcox’s:

And here is Leunig’s:


Wilcox explains the artist’s obligation to offend “for the sake of a laugh”, rejoicing that “lucky for me, Christianity seems mostly pretty cool with that.'' Leunig, Miss Prisk reports, is mates with Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams. “We accuse other religions of being too oppressive,'' Leunig told her. ''Christian culture is not so precious as to not be able to bear all sorts of examinations using metaphors.”

Christians aren’t precious, but what about cartoonists? It is a question that might easily be solved by the simple expedient of a little photo-shopping. For example, just say you took Wilcox’s cartoon, obliterated the original caption and substituted these words: “In haste to reach Medina,  Mohammad  left behind his right testicle, which the faithful honoured with a nice tie and a happy little dog.

Same with Leunig’s effort -- turn it into an account of Mohammad’s frustration at finding the young Aisha unavailable for honeymoon hijinx, a tale that culminates in the miserable fellow in the wet and solitary bed of the final frame.

And then, just for a little extra fun, why not send off copies to your favourite firebrand imam or website devoted to head-lopping and videos of suicide bombers’ last words.

Cartoonists are a brave lot, remember. Surely Wilcox and Lerunig would give thanks all the (few remaining) days of their lives for the opportunity to confront superstition with “the whole life-and-death” thing.

That would be sooooo funny, Miss Prisk would not have time for that nuanced “second glance” before evacuating the building.

UPDATE: Going back to bed with lemon juice and a bottle of rum.  Any comments will be published later in the day, after a few hours sleep.

36 comments:

  1. Former Age readers pine wistfully: "Remember when Leunig was funny? When he wasn't just a self-parodying tool of the zombie Left?" It's as natural as riding a bike for Christian-raised atheists to shitcan their former religion, so chic and so grown up, so sure they perfectly understand human existence in an infinite universe. Mick Leunig, a former acquaintence, is one of the most disappointing self-limiters of my time, who could not transcend the giant chip on his shoulder. He will again be in his oppressed element when the Australian Left resumes its natural station as a whiny opposition ghetto instead of impersonating a government, which it is required to do momentarily every few decades by our collective madness for destructive change.
    Get well soon, Bunyip.

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    1. Why has he got a chip on his shoulder? I know he now claims - albeit with an absence of hard detail but a lot of nauseating whimsy - to have dragged himself out of (then) working class Footscray, but I've always understood that he had enough middle class ambition and support to complete high school without a break and go straight to Monash (where he started cartooning on student paper Lot's Wife). He may have worked as a labourer and a slaughterman - we all had s**t jobs in uni vacations - but the few yimes I met him he looked and acted like a typical young bourgeoise para-intellectual, nothing factory fodder in his appearance or demeanor.

      I'd be interested in anything you can add to this.

      Consuela Potez

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    2. Consuela (love that name!), I don’t know Michael well but, like others on the Left, he and they are “missing a gene”, figuratively speaking, that prevents them from growing up politically. Leunig was “discovered” by Nation Review, to which I also contributed in the heady Whitlam days; he was a smash hit, screamingly funny and politically totally incorrect. You’ll notice that NR’s chief political writer, Mungo McCallum, is still turning out the same undergraduate, leftwing, chip-on-the-shoulder tripe for The Drum, etc. My best male friend works for Crikey. I have a brother (in his 50s), with whom I can’t discuss politics, because of his back-armband view of the world. I can’t explain it; I’m just glad I’m not stuck in that time warp.

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    3. Well put Tom, especially your original comment.

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  2. Why isn't this sort of thing being looked at by the heavily-funded and -staffed Media Watch? Why is it left to Professor Bunyip to tackle the big stories (and this one is big!)?
    Do the job our taxes pay you to do, Jonathan Smirkalot.

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  3. So B****** Dingo is railing against cartoonists. That’s rich, coming from someone who rationalises abuse as humour – “Also, he suffers from HSD (humour deprivation syndrome)”. What’s happened to yours, B*****, Dingo? Did it get waylaid somewhere between delusion and sycophancy?
    There’s a strong pong of hypocrisy wafting about this billabong.

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    1. Numbers, if you don't like the state of things, feel free to go away.

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    2. Your only purpose in visiting this blog is to abuse the publisher. Time to piss off, you friendless old clown.

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    3. Mr numbers the POGO dredging up 42 year old military service to add supposed credibility to his pissant arguments. Look up relevance in the dictionary dumbass. The only decorated military member I knew never mentioned his service once I found out by accident. You are just a bitter preening tosspot buffoon with an over developed sense of unwarranted entitlement. Ridiculous clown.

      Delete
    4. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.April 12, 2012 at 5:07 PM

      When it comes to politics and political insights, we can't really be held responsible for where we come from, nor for our juvenilia because everyone has a right to be silly when very young, but we sure as hell can be responsible for where we end up once we've moved out into the world; those sad old lefties of yesteryear are looking very intellectually feeble now, as is our ageing warrior, Numbers. They really have nothing to say anymore.

      Whereas the Prof still lives in a very vital headspace: he fair crackles with fire. Watch that rum in bed Prof, it's flammable.

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  4. Numbers, have you noticed that you have never been banned from this blog? (And I would be disappointed if you were.)
    Like the cartoonists who mock the soft targets, you rail against those who are committed to tolerance and free speech. Try railing aginst Tim Blair for his car-worship or Bob Ellis for his name-dropping and see how long you last.

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    1. No one would notice if you railed against anything on Eliis's blog and Tim would just give you a serve right back (but funny - unlike Numbnuts).

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  5. PhillipGeorge(c)2012April 11, 2012 at 10:43 AM

    By a country mile you are the best writer of pamphlet length essays in Australia. In search of the meta-narrative:-
    In the Australian of Mon 09, page 5, the Sheikh [or Sheykh?] Omar Suleiman is quoted:-
    “Ignorance can do so much harm”
    “we are just like anyone else....”
    “...we are trying to be good citizens...”

    "Trying to be good" misrepresents Christianity little less than Leunig's cartoon the Passover Sacrifice. Which brings one to the question of how does Islam particularly appeal to the black rap street cred prison population of the Americas. How does Leunig seem so intune with the black American prisoner. Is it the Patty Hurst syndrome? The last temptation of Patty - a return to glory. Conrad's fictional Kurtz' insanity was a man pitching himself against God - all that could really differentiate him from civility, indeed his humanity. Ergo - man created and condescended to is the message the Sheikh, Conrad's Kurtz, Patty and Leunig all seem to have lost sight of, or never seen at all. Easter Prof, though some call it Passover, and others Good Friday. All three work if one looks over the top of nomenclature for something substantial.

    Science is the epistemological bottle neck through which only the smallest of ideas can pass.

    Belief is not a science but an apriori axiomatic fact. One then should check ones beliefs against universal reality. Lest the two diverge - to one's own personal detriment.

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  6. can we shoot him, Bunyip? go on, can we?

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    1. Don't be silly, Larrikin. The best way to deal with dolts like Leunig is the most obvious: laugh your pants off at the silly, prententious bugger.

      Incidentally, and just from a business point of view, you would think Fairfax might want to re-consider what it publishes. As of noon, its stock was down to 72.5 cents -- four cents more than its all-time lowest.

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  7. I'm a devout christian and while I find the Wilcox cartoon demeaning, I think that Leunig is actually lampooning our soft culture. We take advantage of a "religious" holiday without giving much thought to the reason for the holiday and wrongly equate our inconveniences with redemptive suffering.

    And really I would rather take the risk of being offended by people who mock my faith than go down the track of anti-vilification and hate laws.

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    1. The problem is the offending is selective - Christians are the only ones expected to put up with it.

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    2. I was musing on this point. I thought - a bit of good natured humour ought do no harm, and if taken in good spirit by the faithful serves as an indication that they are not segregating themselves from the common lot. But stretch a bit further: what if the humour is intended to offend? (leaving aside the point as to whether intentionally offensive things can be classed as humour). What of the 'art-work' called "piss-christ"? It must be offensive, and simply calling it art is not a valid defence.
      Hence I support Anon.
      Perhaps the problem is that the tolerant are too tolerant. Draw the line -"this far and no further" - then defend your beliefs.

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    3. If the offending is selective go and offend someone else if you like. It's not for Bunyip to order Leunig or whoever to offend this or that person. Let Leunig attack his people and let you attack your targets.

      Leunig wasn't mocking Christ, he was insulting the average people around here that he considers to be his inferiors. He was suggesting that camping near bogans is like being betrayed and crucified.

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    4. Good advice, TtT. I agree.

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  8. Some men of unmentionable appearance might consider that you have, in your crticism Wilcox and Leunig, made fun of Mohammed. I don't mind this at all, but maybe you should lock up the house while you slumber within.

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  9. Poor Bunyip so sorry to hear you are laid up with a dreaded lurgy, I wish you bowls of Italian penicillin for a speedy recovery. Lovely work even with a head full of autumn flu.

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  10. Professor, here's an interesting look at the luvvies' pin-up boy and sugar daddy:
    http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=42674
    Thought you might enjoy a good horror story.

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    1. Two great men of our time - Georges both - Galloway and Soros.
      For some wonderful entertainment go to - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HrdFFCnYtbk

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    2. When the professor has a moment, could he share with us the secret recipe for linking comment text at Bunyipitude to external URLs?

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  11. I sincerely hope I wasnot a contributing factor in your present condition? Me and my "little water" which along with Borshch and chicken soup cures many ailments? And they taste nice.! These "funny " christian knockers will get theirs one day
    i hope there is a God ,and a vengefull one at that! He'll fix those smartarses!

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  12. Dearest Dingo
    That's not a cartoon.
    This is a cartoon - http://www.crikey.com.au/2012/04/11/i-am-using-this-forum-as-it-would-be-illegal-for-me-to-express-these-views-in-australia/

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    1. Oh dear me, Spud Peeler, you have no eye for the artistic irony. These are cartoons:
      http://www.rall.com/rallblog/

      Cheers

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  13. This was my take on the issue of people who find it acceptable to go out of their way to offend Christians on the occasion of one of their high holidays, in a way that they would never contemplate for other religions.
    http://usingthegoodplates.blogspot.com.au/2012/04/its-their-party-and-we-all-get.html

    For the record, I'm an atheist, but not one of those sneering evangelical arses like Dawkins.

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  14. Get well soon Bunyip.
    The interweb needs you

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  15. Yehoshua ben Yosef ben David ben Elohim (the Christ Jesus if you prefer the Greek) was crucified on Pesach/Passover on a Wednesday in 28 or 29 AD. The Jewish authorities at that time had adopted the calculated calendar rather than the sighted moon to determine the timing of Pesach, hence His crucifixion on the "day of preparation" according to the authorities at that time. He rose again on the following Sunday, the first day of the week to follow Pesach, which is called First Fruits on God's calendar.

    Neither Wilcox nor Leunig know anything about Him. This isn't surprising as most of the Christian Church has no undesrtanding of who He is, nor why He came. Even though they are exorted to retain the "faith once delivered to the saints" they go their own way celebrating compromise and myth (and rabbits and eggs and the whole Ishtar - Easter thing).

    This is the world in which we live.

    Get well soon Professor, hope the bottle of rum doesn't add to your troubles. I'd expect that a hung-over Bunyip would be akin to a Beserker with a thorn in his foot and burnt toast for breakfast, but I'm no expert on Bunyipology.

    Hesperian

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  16. Easter Sunday, was it, The Age had a front page pic of various Easter celebrations around the city - right next to a 'breaking news' front page story about young gay Christians undergoing 'anti-gay therapy' thanks to encouragement from their churches.

    Coincidental? You wouldn't think The Age would save up such a vital hard-hitting investigation until Easter, would you...? Nooooooooooooo!

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  17. By the way, I think Leunig is a Christian.

    I don't mind that cartoon so much as I can see it has a point, but it's been many many years since Leunig's cartoons have had anything identifiable moments of humour in them.

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  18. Cartoonists bagging Christians, courageously.

    I read this piece here after watching a brief account on the TV News of Lionel Bowen's requiem mass, led by the Cardinal at St Marys in Sydney today. I was happy for him. Hawke apparently described him as "pure crystal" which is marvelously apt.

    Bowen was a man of substance, honour and real commitment to the people he served. He reminds me of Frank and Kevin Stewart, who served our lot similarly when I was growing up. To be seen off in such a place by the top fella is as good as it gets for a Catholic.

    Wilcox, Loonig and courage spotter Prisk wouldn't get it though.

    Glib is ever so easy - Kofi Annan was a master of glib but utterly useless with it, much like these brave kindergarten picture drawers. Being wilfully insulting to easy targets is easy too.

    They're likely to be be cheered, for half a minute or so, for their bravery, podiumed and golded by a room full of their peers ... a mile wide and an inch deep ... and fairly soon forgotten.

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  19. I guess we will be seeing the same type of cartoon at Ramadan this year!

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  20. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.April 12, 2012 at 4:45 PM

    I think it is time to leave Christians alone, all you cartoonists, unless you can show them as truly defending their faith; otherwise the religious playing field is by no means level. I agree with the commenter above: 'This far and no further' is exactly the approach for Christians and Christianity to take, given the manner of the various oppositions they suffer. And I am only a 'cultural Christian' not a true believer.

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