A few weeks back, the Cartoon Network turned into the news when 12 innocent people in France were murdered over a cartoon…. A CARTOON! As the world rallies behind France, I’m still trying to draw some sort of understanding about exactly WTF happened in the country that U2 calls its summer home.
Cartoons and U2 have coexisted for decades: The song Cartoon World, The HMKMTMKM video, The Fly, Turn off the Dark: Spider Man play and even the cartoon character, Macphisto have made their way into U2’s catalogue of work. All these cartoon references were used to prod, poke and make the observer rethink and or revisit their own way of thinking about things such as: religion or politics, which is part of U2’s collective DNA. To my knowledge, no one from U2 were killed by a terrorist for any of their cartoon references.
Can cartoonists and fundamental extremists coexist? Is it written in the Koran, that Muhammad had no sense of humor? You know how many times I’ve used the “Burning Bush” story just to get a laugh…more than 40 days and 40 nights, that I can assure you. Does a cartoon represent an entire religion or group? I hope not. If we were to base U2’s entire catalogue on U2’s Cartoon World, they would have disbanded 35 years ago.
When tragedies like this occur, a worldwide discussion about topics such as: freedom of speech and press, gun control laws & how to deal with fundamental extremists that regardless of the topic ALWAYS GO TO FAR becomes the topic du jour!!! Does Bono’s mantra of, “You don’t have to become the monster to defeat the monster” still hold true today? If you are like me, it’s getting harder to hold on to those words…….but we must.
In the darkest of days is when our collective light needs to shine at its brightest. Wanting revenge and retaliation are easy thoughts to run to when tragedies occur. They may make us feel better for a short amount of time, but do nothing to push us towards a more civilized world.
Whether it be a cartoon about Muhammad, Jesus, Buddha or whatever other God you believe in, people need to see past the satirical cartoon drawing and see what the artist is trying to get you to see. When fundamentalists open their eyes and truly see what is going on in the world, they will see that not only did they hurt their “cause”, but only lessen it. Draw what you will from this tragedy, but one undisputable fact remains true, the world is behind France and the fundamentalists won nothing.
Viva La France!