Monday, February 20, 2006

Art Spiegelman suddenly sounds like a Conservative

Noted liberal Art Spiegelman (author of "Maus") has a surprisingly candid -- and rational -- assessment of the cartoon debacle (hat tip: Nation):

This notion that the images can just be described leaves me firmly on the side of showing images. The banal quality of the cartoons that gave insult is hard to believe until they are seen. We live in a culture where images rule, and it's as big a divide as the secular/religious divide--the picture/word divide.

The public has been infantilized by the press. It's escalated to the point where it's moot whether one should reprint these pictures or not because now to do it puts you firmly on the side of the libeler, the defamer. And yet, it seems to me that to write about this without access to the pictures is an absurdity. The answer to speech, in my religion, is more speech, a lot of yakking--and a lot of drawing. And if a picture is worth a thousand words, very often it requires 2,000 words more to talk about the picture, but you can't replace that thousand words with another thousand words.

If The Nation and the New York Times had simply said, "We're scared s***less," I could take that. I'm not only a cartoonist--I'm a physical coward.

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