The silence surrounding Molly Norris

Alan Gardner at The Daily Cartoonist makes an interesting point about the lack of support from the journalism and some of the comic/cartooning community regarding the news that cartoonist Molly Norris has had to go into hiding following death threats or a fatwa or whatever it is ignorant religious hatemongers call it;

Ever since it was reported that Molly Norris has had to move and change identities, the story has spread out through the internet and into the main stream media. What hasn’t spread is a chorus of support, or even outrage that in America – the birthplace of codified free speech – a cartoonist has had to go into hiding and presumably give up her livelihood after a declared fatwa. […] Contrast Molly’s situation with Kurt Westergaard who drew a much more “offensive” drawing of Mohammad. He is protected by police security, has received several awards for free speech and is invited to speak on the topic.

There’s a lot of stuff that’s actually going on, and The Seattle Times has a very in-depth story about Norris that might answer some questions.

Now Gardner notes that there has been support for Molly, like this comic by Signe Wilkinson.  However, in comparison to the focus given to Westergaard and the lack of formal support of even statements by several leading journalistic organizations that are notable 1st Amendment supporters, it’s admittedly a little piss-poor.

Thoughts?  I mean Norris has had to cut herself off from family, friends, work, and ever being able to draw comics again for fear of being recognized and found based on what were considered credible threats by US law enforcement who haven’t, as far as I’ve read, actually actively helped her “go ghost” beyond tell her it was her only option right now.  It’s a pretty shitty situation to find yourself in and it must be incredibly heartbreaking to not even be able to use your own name anymore.  I can only imagine how much that fucking sucks, especially as a writer and wannabe cartoonist myself.

The worst I’ve ever had happen to me in response to my writing has been angry emails and online comments about how I have no taste in TV and videogames.  I can only imagine creating something that triggers a response like that.

And while some like Ted Rall are calling Norris an idiot for what they see as provocation of a dangerous enemy and a coward for not “standing up” to the threats, I don’t think that that’s necessarily the right attitude to have.  It just reeks of a cartoonist version of “she was drunk and dressed like a slut, so she was asking for it.”

I can only hope that in the end, this is very much a temporary thing for Ms Norris and that she resurfaces.  Comics are a sadder voice now that she’s not lender hers  to the collective over this.


About Costa

Writer. College professor.
This entry was posted in blogging, comic books, editorial cartoons, independant media, molly norris, news, random, what the fuck?. Bookmark the permalink.

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