A vulgar cartoon that ran in the Marlborough Express yesterday has caused enormous offense to absolutely everyone, including the cartoon’s artist, who has suggested the paper should apologise for publishing it.
The cartoon, which was drawn by award-winning cartoonist Al Nisbet, features a giant ejaculating penis raining semen down upon a series of other offensive images, including the September 11 terror attacks, a defecating Maori statue, and a white woman having an outdoor interracial threesome with two black men.
When held under concentrated UV light, the cartoon also reveals a three dimensional portrait of the Muslim prophet Muhammad.
Nisbet has said that he’s “disgusted” by the cartoon, and can’t bring himself to imagine why anyone would draw something like that.
The illustration has already been the subject of numerous complaints to the Human Rights Commission, and has caused palpable outrage in the Maori, Muslim, Jewish, female and male communities.
But despite all this, the Marlborough Express isn’t backing down, saying that while the cartoon was “a bit edgy,” it was meant to get everyone talking, and in that regard, it had succeeded.
“Sure, some people might question why the Islamic star and crescent has been so readily used to label that hijacked plane,” said the paper’s editor Steve Mason. “Or perhaps they’ll take offense to the explicit spit-roasting of that young white girl? But then why would they? Why are we so offended by three people consummating their love outside in front of what appears to be two brown dwarves licking a giant pair of balls?”
While Nisbet appreciated that the paper was in a difficult position, he said their explanation simply wasn’t good enough, and that there could be no reasonable justification for printing his cartoon.
“If I was the editor and that turned up on my desk,” said Nisbet, “there’s no way in hell I’d print it.”
Newly appointed Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy broke her silence on the cartoon late this afternoon, saying that, after extensive consultation with her staff, she had determined that it was offensive, although she wasn’t yet sure why.
“We think it might have something to do with that square spirally type symbol in the middle there,” she said.
Devoy reassured the public that she would be discussing the cartoon with the paper’s editors in the coming days, in an attempt to ascertain whether the giant testicles were being licked by dwarves or children.
“If it turns out it’s children, we’ll definitely be having a stern word with them,” she said.
Mason wasn’t bothered by Devoy’s comments. He said the cartoon wasn’t what a lot of people had taken it to be on the surface, and that it was trying to make a serious point through the use of irony. He compared what his cartoonists do to the work of satirical publications such as The Civilian.
“Everyone’s getting offended when we’re doing it, but they do this all the time,” he said, noting that no one complained last week when The Civilian ran a cartoon featuring two Maori adults bragging about how they’d save money for “booze, smokes and pokies” by exploiting the food in schools programme.
“It’s satire,” said Mason, “and if you’re still offended, it’s simply because you don’t understand satire, and there’s nothing I can do to help you.”