I arrived at work to an anonymous phone message left on my voice mail from an angry senior telling me I’m going to hell for drawing the cartoon above. Another hoped I would one day become stricken with cancer. Soon after a colleague picked up a call from a church minister almost saying the same thing. My colleague offered to transfer the call to me but didn’t want to talk to me.
Then, the Spectator’s comment board displayed these tidbits:
Jul 27, 2011 9:58am – by dajguy – The spec should be embarassed this is terrible and in bad taste. And I’m not an NDP supporter.
Jul 27, 2011 10:34am – by YelloLine – I’m trying to think of a time when Mackay published a cartoon that was in good taste, or indeed was in some way meaningful. Or even funny. I’m drawing a blank. This editorial cartoon from Mackay, as with all the others before it, offers valuable insight into the Hamilton Spectator’s editorial relevance.
Jul 27, 2011 11:29am – by Zoetta – Disgusting The Spec editorial team could do fine without Mackay. Making fun of a man with a probably terminal illness and his connection to duly elected new parliamentarians is despicable, but what I have come to expect from this master of bad taste. Mr. Layton and his party deserve an apology.
Jul 27, 2011 11:36am – by Allan Taylor – Although I abhor the NDP and see the problems the cartoon alludes to as real this cartoon is disgusting and everyone involved in the decision to print it should be fired.
Jul 27, 2011 1:25pm – by CallMeAxe – @Allan Taylor. Agree completely. The unemployment line should be a few people longer, occupied by those who made the decision to print this.
Jul 27, 2011 1:28pm – by CallMeAxe – MacKay should be 1. FIRED (click agree) 2. Suspended indefinitely without pay (click Disagree) or 3. Encouraged to do more tasteless cartoons (click Offensive).
Really – fired? I thought after the whole Danish cartoon controversy a few years back the world got a good series of lessons on freedom of expression and how far we editorial cartoonists could go. How soon some of the anonymous around us forget and are prepared to issue Canadian fatwas against cartoonists which dare to illustrate a revered leader in something not resembling a get well soon Hallmark card.
There have been quite a few nice Jack Layton fighter cartoons drawn by my friends in field, examples are these drawn by Mike deAdder, Malcolm Mayes, and Mike Graston. All very observant towards Layton’s fight which lies ahead with some thought to his achievements in the past.
The added element or stinger in the above cartoon may be the sight of his party as peewee hockey players left learning how to skate. While a metaphorical group of babies, children, or teens has often been used, and even overused, in the last couple of months to illustrate the bulk of the newly elected NDP caucus, the concern truly exists of inexperienced MPs leading the opposition charge. I think that’s a hard fact for many NDP supporters to face as they look down the the road without their great saviour at the helm, or without their best player scoring goals.
Or, maybe it is the plain sight of a political leader taken off the ice that stings them the most and prompting calls for my head. I don’t know. What I do know is that there’s a lot of truth to this cartoon, and while it has caused people to react angrily, which is what a cartoon is supposed to do, it’s obvious that the truth hurts, but there’s no need to apologize for drawing it.