Letter: offence taken to offence being taken

By Jason Kempton

This is in response to a previous letter “Gauntlet comic extremely offensive to Sikhs” [Nov. 24, 2011] — which was itself in response to an “offensive” meme-image displayed in the Gaunlet comic strip Network Admin [Nov. 17, 2011].

First, I’d like to thank the author of the letter for explaining the joke, as I now find it much funnier.

More importantly, however, I remind the author of what country we are presently in, and the one often unappreciated piece of paper that our fine country is built upon that all Canadians of all nationalities can hold paramount: the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The Charter is more than just a guideline for how we wish to be governed, but a rubric for how we wish to live our lives. Relevant to this situation regarding the ‘offensive’ comic, there is one clause that stands ‘right’ out of the page: the right to free speech.

Somewhere along the way people got the idea that a contradictory clause exists that guarantees the right not to be offended. Having personally read the Charter I can assure you that no such clause exists. Being offended is a choice, which happens to conflict with the actual guaranteed right to free speech, analogous to how murder is a choice, as it happens to interfere with another person’s right to life. The Charter not only tells us what rights we are guaranteed, but with which rights of others we are not permitted to interfere.

By drawing a line in what is okay to laugh at or talk about, a person only demonstrates their own insecurities, and by trying to force those beliefs on others, attempting to limit their own light-hearted outlook. The alternative is to accept that cartoons are merely expressions of an artist’s belief that dark situations can be much less devastating when inspecting them in a light-hearted nature, knowing that an assortment of colours and lines does nothing to further or condone devious acts themselves. Family Guy and South Park are prime example of offending every type of individual they can think of for the sheer purpose of demonstrating that nothing should be off limits in a freedom-oriented society.

The funniest cartoon I’ve ever seen was from Network Admin that depicted a snarling wolf with the caption: “Parents catch you masturbating? Look them in the eyes and finish like a boss.” This could have offended both hairy and angry masturbators and anyone caught masturbating, but instead it delivered nothing shy of grade-A comedy enjoyed by those with all types of senses of humour.

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