According to reports emerging from the hermit kingdom, North Korea’s Kim Jong-un is hard at work preparing for his June summit with President Trump. Just as we in the West find it difficult to comprehend the politics and culture of a land so foreign, our Eastern counterparts evidently have a reciprocal problem. It’s hard for even Americans to make sense of our present government; but with the aid of a jerry-built gizmo, the North Korean leader hopes to become inured to its subtleties.
In the spirit of religious tolerance and total non-violence, I offer this Photoshopped image intended to make you think:
I had buried this image in a long post where few would see it, but wanted to give it some signal boost since it could spark debate about the ethics of using cartoon characters to sell an idea or product, and broader issues. Some key points are: Continue reading →
Weighing in on Maggie Simpson’s flag-waving for Charlie Hebdo. Do Maggs and Charlie really go together like vanilla ice cream & apple pie? Can Richard Engel, Ursula K. Le Guin, or Hanna-Barbera offer any insights?
This post was originally titled “Using Children To Market Toxic Products Is Wrong,” which seemed to confuse people. I was making the rhetorical point that Charlie Hebdo (the magazine) can be rather carcinogenic.
I sometimes feel like I lose people in a long post which ties together many themes. Understanding a thing by means of another thing is what thinking people do, but it does take time. To encourage readers to take that time, let me provide a brief map of where we’re headed:
Populism has its limitations; the majority is often wrong.
Combining the Maggie Simpson and I Am Charlie icons is something we should examine for signs of propaganda.
Juxtaposing Maggie Simpson with an actual Charlie Hebdo cover may reveal a mismatch.
To build a more civil society, we need to respect each other’s sensitivities and not intentionally desecrate each other’s images.
We can enjoy robust freedom of speech without giving license to hate speech.
Richard Engel made a useful comment about how the I Am Charlie phenom was perceived in the Middle East.
I portray Charlie Brown & Snoopy as serene I-Am-Charlie refuseniks who’ve put together the “puzzle pieces” and arrived at religious tolerance.
The Charlie Hebdo controversy occurs against the backdrop of a French law banning Muslim women from wearing headscarves (hijab) in some places.
The French are trying to create social cohesion by suppressing religion and imposing drab, secular sameness. I tie this in with The Lathe of Heaven by Ursula K. Le Guin.
Religious freedom means the freedom to live life integrally, with all its colours and complexities on display. Suppression can lead to an anti-assimilation backlash.
France is still wavering between a number of polar opposites such as colonialism vs. multiculturalism.
What would it look like if Maggie Simpson waved a flag demanding the right to wear hijab?
French policemen wear uniforms, and so do Catholic nuns like Thérèse of Lisieux.
True égalité means not discriminating against a component of the uniform as a proxy for discriminating against the faith.
Joe Camel and the Flintstones are cartoon characters previously used to market toxic products (cigarettes).