Saturday, April 6, 2024

Graeme Mackay meets pushback for an editorial cartoon

From Graeme Mackay's website

I was met with push back after my March 20 editorial cartoon depicting Benjamin Netanyahu and Vladimir Putin engaged in military offensives against innocent civilians juxtaposed with Justin Trudeau announcing Canada’s decision to halting arms sales to Israel.

My mission as an editorial cartoonist includes observing Canada’s place in global affairs, and the vote by Parliament to suspend arms shipments to the Netanyahu government was significant and warranted reaction. 

While the cartoon may appear provocative to some, its intention is clear: to comment on current events and political decisions in a satirical manner.

Four letters to the editor essentially singing in chorus about my own cartoon alleging to be anti-Israel is as daft as saying a cartoon mocking Trudeau is anti-Canadian, or one ridiculing Biden is anti-American. 

One called it antisemitic, another called for an apology.

Let’s be clear: I am not an anti-semitic person. Hamas are the terrorists – I am not. 

 I support the hostages being released asap, along with food, water, supplies, and medical aid being easily accessible to all in the Gaza strip.

The Hamilton Spectator has maintained a rich tradition of keeping editorial cartoonists on staff for longer than most newspapers across Canada. 

Blaine, Doug Wright, and Ivan Glassco are just some of the names that have kept the light of satire burning bright in this city.

I am immensely humbled and honoured to walk in the trail cleared, and grateful that those controlling the levers in difficult times show their value for editorial cartooning by keeping me on the payroll.

We who target the powers are sometimes subject to the violent repercussions from those who react to offence by thrashing about. 

In the instances when we become the news, be it the Danish cartoon controversy or the Charlie Hebdo magazine massacre, refreshers on the meaning of satire fills the airwaves.

While they can be helpful, it’s disappointing when so many people still pass judgment by declaring editorial cartoons complete fails when they don’t elicit laughter as if they are no different from strips found on the funny pages.

It’s boggling that people prove ignorance about newspapers which for ages, traditionally, carry hard news along with opinion.

It’s depressing when masses of people align themselves with politicians pledging disdain, or even revenge for media that dares to question or resist their intentions.

It’s disheartening when readers take it upon themselves to pen their own opinion to silence fair game opinion expressed in satire. 

To those who demand an apology for being offended by my March 20 editorial cartoon, I default back to Stephen Fry’s expression where you can refer to my thoughts spelled out above.

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