• hilarybarta

Stupid Censors


In a recent post from artist Mitch O'Connell he included the following quote from an email that he had received, along with the photo above.


"You’re the reason I met my husband. He was wearing this shirt and I thought it was funny, so I talked to him at the batting cages. We’ve been married 19 years. I just thought you would like to know.

Liz" Mitch concluded the post with "I need to start wearing my own shirts."


Mitch is a terrific artist, and an old friend of mine, and that drawing was created for Stupid, a comic I did through Image Comics in 1993. Stupid is a parody comic, and it featured a send-up of Image's biggest success at the time, Spawn. Once I'd finished my pages, I found that there was an extra page at the back of the book. Instead of filling it with a default house ad from Image, I thought it made sense to create an ad parody in keeping with the style of the rest of the book. Mitch happily drew the ad, and it was sent to the office at Image that was handling production. I had no editor at Image--I was editing the book myself--which was wonderfu. In that sense I had total creative freedom. Or so I thought. One day I got a call from a woman in the office. She told me that they would not be publishing Mitch's art. I asked why. "Because it's sexist." "No," I replied, "it's a parody of the type of sexist adverisements common in the 1950s. In other words, it's ABOUT sexism." "No, it's sexist." We went around and around like that for awhile. Finally, I told her that I accepted that she and, apparently, other women in the office found the fake ad sexist. Would she also accept that that was not our intention? "No." I found her answer chilling. It says a lot about the current groupthink. For many people today there can be no other way of seeing, no other way of interpreting, no other way of thinking than their own. They can't imagine, and will not accept another point of view. And if one of these people "feel" something, if they take offense, there can be no possibility that there would be another way to react. They KNOW what you're thinking. They KNOW what you intended. Like I said, chilling.

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