Cartoons and homosexuality

Being inspired by our today’s conversation, I started looking for some more visual sources pertaining to homosexuality. I came across a website that offers a range of cartoons and other materials representing Jeremy Thorpe as a politician wanting to stay in power even if it meant using Machiavellian solutions. ( ). Ultimately, he didn’t manage to continue his leadership over the Liberal Party because of being accused of incitement to murder of his ex-partner Norman Scott. Some of the cartoons create a derogatory image of homosexuals by comparing them to dogs (during the planned assassination of Scott, his dog Rinka was shot which needs to be taken into consideration while analysing these sources). According to the website mentioned above, there are numerous cartoons concerning this scandal. ‘Most of them are about the Liberal Party’s machinations to evade the embarrassing Thorpe, but not actually confronting the whole murder and homosexuality thing, which is of course why Thorpe was such a liability’. This could connect with our subtheme of censorship.

by Michael Heath in “Punch” 29 November 1978
by Marc in “Private Eye” 20 February 1976

There are also some cartoons about Chris Smith who was the first MP who came out as gay while still in office.

Another public figure that attracted cartoonist’s attention was Kenny Everett who was openly gay for most of his career. He also tried to change the general opinion on homosexuals by being funny and human.

And one of the most shocking cartoons relating to homosexuality that I have seen so far is the one

Within the next few days I will write more on these sources.

Changes to the topic

This week, we have created a rough outline of our presentation that we will commence on making in the following next days.

It is important to note that we had few difficulties that we encountered in the previous weeks. We have abandoned the focus and the research question that we initially decided to work on because of the ethical issues that could arise in progress. Hence, Sophie had advised us to redesign our research question and perhaps choose another topic to work on. After some thought, we had decided that analyzing the development of the satire cartoons concerning religion was a better option to choose.

The Danish Cartoon Crisis in 2005 and the attacks on Charlie Hebdo staff in 2015 have got us thinking about the implications that the Western media has on the public’s perception of the Muslim community. The case study on satire cartoons about religion has always raised different ethical and political question in societies. Because of this, the norms and definitions of freedom of speech and expression were always scrutinized.

We have decided to focus on the development of cartoons that were created in the 21st century, especially after the 9/11 attacks. We will look at this case study through the lenses of politics, philosophy, and geography, as the events of the Danish Cartoon Crisis and Charlie Hebdo have generated complex geopolitical and ethical implications in the media and the society.

The presentation will start with the general context of the topic. We will briefly discuss the rise of terrorism, the issues of immigration and give some information n the Islamic norms and traditions that relate to the problems that occurred after the creation of the cartoons. We will also cover the general Western perception of Islam and the notion of freedom of speech and expression and what it means in the Western world. We agreed that it is crucial to highlight important definitions to make the topic of the presentation as much comprehensible as possible. These will include outlining the definitions on the freedom of speech and freedom of expression, as well as terms such as ‘prohibition,’ ‘blasphemy’ and ‘discrimination’ as three positions of offense (Jytte Klausen, 2009). We will also look at the notions of the public sphere and the media and what freedom of speech is like in today’s media world.

From the philosophical point of view, we will apply the paradigms of morality and ethics on discussing the power of the media and its implications on the general Islamic community. We will discuss the line between what is acceptable and what is not regarding freedom of speech and racism in the media. The theory of social constructivism will be used in the lense of Politics. We will question how the cartoons construct the image of Muslims among the Western community, as well as discuss the notions of democracy and whether people of one group can fight against the freedom of speech exercised by the cartoonists. Through the lens of geography, we will look at how the processes of globalization and the media contribute to the construction of the Muslim image and how they fuel the political and social implications that the controversial cartoons have across the globe at the age of advanced communication and media technologies.