Saturday, February 10, 2007

Comic trouble in Norway

It seems that a comic strip entitled M is causing a stir in Norway.

Translation of article:
Elisabeth Riiber from Selbu files lawsuit against newspaper for blasphemy, after two strips from the comic 'M'.

It's especially the two strips from monday and tuesday this week that Riiber is reacting to. "On monday especially I think there was a grotesque episode that mocks and makes fun of Christ," says Riiber to Nea Radio. She further threatens to end her subscription unless Adressa stops the comic, which is made by local resident Mads Eriksen. Riiber is of the opinion that it's ok to make jokes about the church, priests and christianity. The reaction comes strongly, however, when the cartoonist mocks the main person of the christian world.

"This has nothing to do with freedom of speech. You can't use Jesus Christ as an advertising board," says Riiber to The 94 year old woman became so angry when she read the comics in Adressa monday and tuesday, that she filed against Adressa for blasphemy. [Norway has a sleeping blasphemy law.] "Do you see this as a parallel to the Muhammed drawings?" "This isn't just a parallel, but much worse. Christianity has many prophets, but we have only one Jesus Christ. He's much more than a prophet, he's the main actor," says Riiber. She's a former vicar's wife in Selbu and has been working with visitation service in the commune for many years. "Although I am 94 years old, I still have thoughts in my head. I became so angry when I saw this, and thought that this comic shall not continue without my protest. But I don't mean to create any circus with this. But I thought Adressa was a too serious newspaper to use a comic like that."

"I think we should be able to stretch freedom of speech at least this far. If you read the strips properly, you'll see that Mads Eriksen is confronting the power of advertising. He puts things pointedly to get his message across, not to insult anyone," says Sigrun Berge Engen, culture editor of Adressa.

"Do you understand that some people may perceive this as offending?" "Yes, I can understand that. But we need space for artistic freedom. Especially for local cartoonists," opines Berge Engen. "This is nothing to get excited about."

According to sheriff John Paulsby in Selbu and Tydal, Elisabeth Riiber compared the M strips to the Muhammed drawings, and thinks she has good reason to react. "We have received the [file, lawsuit], and sent it to a jurist, suggesting to dismiss the case," says Paulsby. He agrees that this is no laughing matter, but doesn't think that the strips break any laws.

Mads Eriksen reacts with raw laughter when we bring him news of the lawsuit. After he regains control, he describes the situation as absurd. "I find it completely absurd that a 2000 year old fairy tale should dictate my cartoons. I have no respect for her invisible playmate," says Mads Eriksen to, and adds that he has never before witnessed anything like this.

"You have no plans to accommodate her wishes?"

"No, in no way."
So what are the strips?

Translation of strips:
Jesus: Hi guys - Jesus Christ here, son of god, but also the cheery carpenter from Galilee!
Jesus: In my work as Messiah, it's important to have good tools ... which is why I only buy tools from "Onan's bazaar and ironware"!
God: Ahem ... Didn't you visit "Yehud's carpentry shed and used camels" the other day?
Jesus: Daaaad!
God: The holy spirit wants to know why you're hanging around Gethsemane late at night with those hoodlums - and what is the deal with all that foot-washing?

Jesus: When you're hanging out all day, sun and wind will dry out your skin and make it lifeless and matte ...
Jesus: That's why I use: "Pilate's Crucifiction cream for manly men"!
Jesus: A unique formula with myrrh and philistine foreskins makes the skin soft and smooth, and the patented ... Ack!
Jesus: Ack!
Jesus: Nose itching! Ack! Ack!
Jesus: Ack!
Roman offier: Cut! Cut!
It seems to me that Ms. Riiber has completely missed the point of the comics. The comic artist isn't the one using Jesus to peddle his wares. Instead, what he seems to be parodying is how others do this.

But apparently pointing out such things is considered worse than drawing satirical images of Mohammed.

Eriksen has another strip that I think is particularly amusing though:

Mormon: Hi there! Can I tell you about Jeesus?
Man: Huh? You're christian?
Mormon: Yes?
Man: Why?
Mormon: Because ... the bible says that
Man: That's just a moldy and old fairy tale book!
Mormon: It is?
Man: Sure is!
Man: Now come inside and grab a beer! We're watching "Wrath of Khan".
Mormon: But-
Man: No "but"!
Mormon: Uhhhh
Man: Meet Job and Isaak. They're mormons.
Ex-Mormon-1: We were mormons!
Ex-Mormon-2: Now we're trekkies!
Great. Trading fairly tales for technobabble. At least it's one step in the right direction.

Found via livejournal atheism group.


mollishka said...

hahahahahhahhaa .... the Trekkie/Mormon one is hilarious!

Simon said...

Quite tame really. You should read my "Easter Sinday" post...

Stephen said...

"Life of Brian" DVDs are on sale at the grocery store. Very funny. I doubt she'd like it.

Unknown said...

The old lady is protesting something that she finds objectionable, but which in fact is rather tame. Wonder what she'd think of Jesus wrestling Satan on "South Park?"

If everyone who objected to a certain book, movie, comic strip or TV show had his or her way, there'd be nothing to see or read. I say, folks, grow up. If you don't like something you see, don't look at it. A novel approach, I admit.

Anonymous said...

If you think that's bad, you should see the fuss going on at Clare college, Cambridge, England ...

A student is in deep trouble, because he (shock horror) MADE FUN OF MOHAMMED!