Thursday, March 14, 2013

Newspaper Banned My Comic and Audience's Reaction

After publishing two of my comic stripes, the Daily Cardinal, a student-run newspaper, made a sudden decision that they could not publish Molecules I Have Known and Loved. The release of MIHKAL ended without receiving reader complaints or objection. Several people expressed their disappointment or anger after hearing my apology that MIHKAL was banned.

The Daily Cardinal staff said they were very concerned about depicting dangerous drugs, such as Speed, as cartoon characters. I was very excited to see my works published, but I understand that not all people can tolerate drug-related topics. My comical depiction can be easily interpreted by some people as advocacy for drugs. Here I'm saying again that the intention of my comic is neither promoting nor against recreational drugs. I'm more frustrated with the editors' inconsistency - granting me the opportunity then taking it away within a month.

Professor W. noted that there is always phobia of drugs in the society. He saw the outcome as discouraging but understandable. My lab professor did not see a good potential in MIHKAL as a comic series, but said it surprised him that the Daily Cardinal, well-known on campus for their liberal and undaunting attitude, turned it away.

Other people deemed the newspaper editors' decision as narrow-minded. They understood that MIHKAL is meant to be a humorous take-on of the subject. My current classmate S. K. thought newspapers should publish controversial materials to promote the diversity and freedom of expression. A post doc in philosophy and a physics faculty said it was "ridiculous", because Speed whom was blamed is just a comic character. People who do drugs would have done them anyways, regardless if they read my comic. The faculty said with disbelief that the Daily Cardinal, which publishes offensive and controversial things all the time, including articles that teach people how to have sex, would reject such funny and artistic work.

Some faculties felt sorry for losing an opportunity to educate the public. C. D., a research fellow  specialized in sedative-hypnotics, wrote in a message that "they clearly did not get the scope of [the] comic" and that people just can't make rational judgement on certain topics. The physics faculty imagined MIHKAL would be very informative, which could potentially help reduce drug-related problems in the society. "The problem is we don't talk about it," she said.

A few people thought the newspaper should never publish such material. Perhaps with some misunderstanding, Professor G. said, not unhappily, "[The comic] suggests that you [the author] took and enjoyed those drugs. I was surprised that the newspaper agreed to publish it."

Despite people's divergent opinions, they agreed that the quality of my art is good. I've got a feeling that this is not the end of this incident. The Daily Cardinal staff said they still hoped my art to be a part of their paper and wanted to discuss with me, though with hesitation and possibly denial. Two of my friends eagerly wanted to see MIHKAL published on paper and volunteered to show my online samples to the city-based newspaper office.

So far I'm happy with just doing a web-based comic series and sharing it with my dear friends and professors. It should be a work enjoyed by people who do drugs as well as people who don't. In fact, I've received positive responses from both kinds of people. I'm also getting prepared to be notorious if I'm determined to deal with this subject in long-term. This is definitely not the end of MIHKAL. It just got started.

1 comment:

  1. 我上星期有跟妳說,這樣的漫畫在台灣的校刊上是絕對會被禁止的,果然在美國也是會引起異議。