Saturday, November 26, 2005

For those following along and checking out my other blog/webcomic, Major Studio Production, will be aware of the fact that it was pulled from publication due to its controversial content. According to the managing editor, the executive decision was made to summarily pull the strip, citing that it was seen as offensive to veterans. What do you think? The following is a letter to the editor written in response to the decision to not run the strip, which was published in the November 16th issue of The Other Press (click on image to view full-size).

Considering the subject matter of The Other Press and the amount of leeway given to its contributors, Major Studio Production has found its ideal home. Having depicted a dead body mistaken for Halloween decoration (Oct. 26) and kids getting their eyes stabbed out with scissors (Oct. 19), I felt that it was time I made a serious political statement with the Remembrance Day strip. Reproducing iconic images of war atrocities, they were placed against a quote spoken on November 11, 1918, this being the first reference of World War I as the war to end all wars. Of course, given the images, that quote is truly ironic.

Yet, in a surprising display of restraint, the strip was not run in the last issue due to its controversial and potentially insensitive nature. So, was this the right decision?

Given what does get printed in The Other Press, this might be seen as a double standard. One only needs to see the controversial Sex Issue (Sept. 28) to get an idea of how crazy the material can get. Yet Remembrance Day remains an untouchable sacred cow. Recall just last week, where Conservative MP Stephen Harper is caught on tape complaining about the pin holding his plastic poppy. Everybody who purchases one will have problems keeping them on in some way or another, yet for some odd reason, this is newsworthy, and even potentially controversial.

As to whether I agree with the decision to not run the strip, I’m divided. Indeed, Remembrance Day is an important observance and we should all remember and be grateful for the sacrifices of our war veterans. Life in general would be drastically different if not for them. But clearly, the powers that be have not remembered the lessons of the past, as we find ourselves in a perpetual cycle of war and destruction.

I feel that Remembrance Day should not just be a day to remember the war veterans, as soldiers are never the only victims of war. The examples I picked out are a small sampling out of an excessively long history of war atrocities. Why shouldn’t we remember them too? As it is, it seems that anything with an anti-war slant (which the strip certainly is) is deemed as a slap in the face against our war veterans.

It appears that whether we point out that poppy pins fall out or that soldiers aren’t the only victims of war, our long adherence to tradition is preventing us from seeing the bigger picture.

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