Friday, November 21, 2003

B.C. vs. Islam

When I saw this B.C. comic strip last week it made no sense to me. That's not unusual for B.C. cartoonist Johnny Hart whose humor often falls flat in my opinion. But now a big stink has been raised over the strip by people who think that it was a veiled insult directed at Islam. The Washington Post has a story that details the complaint:

"...the cartoon contained six crescent moons -- three in the sky, and three on the outhouse door...
and also noted that Hart had drawn a prominent sound effect -- "SLAM" -- between two frames to accompany the closing of the outhouse door. The SLAM was stacked vertically, in the shape of an I, and could be seen to signify "Islam." The cartoon appeared on the 15th day of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month."

Hart denies the allegation and claims the strip is just a "silly" bathroom joke. Frankly, it wouldn't surprise me either way. Over the years Hart has turned his comic strip about prehistoric cavemen into a forum for his far-right evangelical Christian views. He regularly uses the strip to slam liberals, Democrats, feminists, public education and much more. His political statements can be every bit as blunt and incendiary as anything in Doonesbury or Mallard Fillmore.

I thought it was interesting that of all the cartoonists asked to comment on the controversy, the only one who stepped up to defend Hart was Gary Trudeau who writes the liberal Doonesbury strip.

"We cartoonists are simple folk. We don't write on that cryptic a level. Leave Johnny alone."

I have to agree. Although I don't buy that Hart is totally innocent in this case, I think that it would not serve any good purpose to make a bigger deal of it at this point.

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