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Molly Caves

Molly Norris, the cartoonist whose poster promoting “Everybody Draw Muhammed Day” on May 20th caused such a stir, has called it quits.

Her home page today shows the following statement:

I make cartoons about current, cultural events. I made a cartoon of a fictional ’poster’ entitled “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day!” with a nonexistent group’s name — Citizens Against Citizens Against Humor — drawn on the cartoon. It was in specific response to the recent censoring of a South Park episode, a desire to bring home the importance of the first amendment. I did not intend for my cartoon to go viral. I did not intend to be the focus of any ’group’. This particular cartoon has struck a gigantic nerve, something I was totally unprepared for.

Personally I can feel afraid of Muslims because I really have no idea if in their hearts they hate non-Muslims. There are so many interpretations of the religion that I hear told — sometimes it is a very extreme translation (that’s the scary part, the radicals that believe that Westerners should die), then at other times it sounds more peaceful.

I hope for the sake of this country that moderate Muslims will speak out with everyone else against any violent members of that or any other religion. That way I would know that there is a difference. Maybe this cartoon I made, this fictional poster of “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day!” had such a wildfire effect because it is finally time for Muslims and non-Muslims to understand one another more.

I am going back to the drawing table now!


I feel for Molly. She clearly wasn’t ready for all the fame and noteriety that her seemingly (to her) innocuous move made for herself. But there’s something disturbing about her tone here. Unlike many people, including my fellow bloggers and many commenters, sensitivity to cultural differences doesn’t seem to be Molly’s reason for pulling back.

There is clearly a tone of fear in what she’s done. Perhaps she’s simply an introvert and publicity gives her the creeps. Many artists are like that. But my instincts tell me that she’s actually caved because she fears genuinely for her safety.

It’s ironic, and a shame, for this to be the case. Those of us who have taken up this cause did so to mitigate such threats. As Mark Steyn so aptly put it:

If you want to put bounties on all our heads, you better have a great credit line at the Bank of Jihad. If you want to kill us, you’ll have to kill us all.

Fortunately for the First Amendment and other American values, the cause presses on, even without Molly: Citizens Against Citizens Against Humor.

Sometimes you choose to be an icon for unapologietic defense of Free Speech. Sometimes you have it thurst upon you.

-Nick (ColoradoPatriot, from HQ)



  1. There is clearly a tone of fear in what she’s done. Perhaps she’s simply an introvert and publicity gives her the creeps. Many artists are like that. But my instincts tell me that she’s actually caved because she fears genuinely for her safety.


    And for the record, I have yet to see criticism of Everybody Draw Mohammed Day which didn’t:

    1) Assume that its supporters must be motivated by something other than a desire to protect free speech by “spreading around” the terrorist threats / risks of retaliation, and
    2) Assume that “moderate Muslims” are delicate wallflowers, moral infants, unable to handle depictions of Mohammed despite the fact that such depictions are within Islamic tradition.

    Both of which assumptions can only be characterized as stupid, as well as offensive to others (and thus hypocritical).

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — April 27, 2010 @ 12:22 pm - April 27, 2010

  2. (i.e., offensive to moderate Muslims)

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — April 27, 2010 @ 12:23 pm - April 27, 2010

  3. EDMD isn’t about about offending Muslims, it’s about saying “We’re all Spartacus.”

    Comment by V the K — April 27, 2010 @ 3:24 pm - April 27, 2010

  4. […] Molly Caves […]

    Pingback by GayPatriot » About General Jones’ Joke: — April 27, 2010 @ 6:03 pm - April 27, 2010

  5. Sorry CP, you have just disproved the claims used to justify this silly, counterproductive demonstration.

    So much for the disingenuous argument that this juvenile demonstration was ever going to be anything BUT a gratuitously offensive, utterly meaningless, juvenile demonstration MEANT to offend

    Also so much for the ridiculous claim that this childish, unthinking demonstration is “spreading around the risk”. You’ll notice its all ANONYMOUS.

    And what is truly stupid is non-Muslims telling Muslims what is and is not offensive to Muslims. I am reminded of Andrew Sullivan writing that HE knew better than the Pope himself what it meant to be a “REAL” Catholic, and that “real” Catholicism required, naturally, dropping all that outdated Bible stuff, adapting to changing times and supporting gay marriage.


    is the blunt, imbecilic, unthinking falsehood used to justify a blunt, imbecilic, unthinking, and counterproductive demonstration that has always been akin to performing surgery with a wrecking ball.

    And despite the silly claims that objecting to what can only be described as gratuitous offense is treating Muslims like children, James Taranto NAILS is that it is treating them EXACTLY the same way we treat everyone else.

    Why is “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day” different? Because the taboo against depictions of Muhammad is not a part of America’s common culture. The taboos against flag burning, racial slurs and Holocaust denial are. The problem with the “in-your-face message” of “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day” is not just that it is inconsiderate of the sensibilities of others, but that it defines those others–Muslims–as being outside of our culture, unworthy of the courtesy we readily accord to insiders. It is an unwise message to send, assuming that one does not wish to make an enemy of the entire Muslim world.

    Comment by American Elephant — April 27, 2010 @ 8:26 pm - April 27, 2010

  6. EDMD isn’t about about offending Muslims, it’s about saying “We’re all Spartacus.

    perhaps thats the dream, but the reality is that what it says is:

    1. “We’re all ANONYMOUS” and

    2. “You’re all the same!”

    Comment by American Elephant — April 27, 2010 @ 8:46 pm - April 27, 2010

  7. In case anyone missed it when I posted this link the other day, Zombietime keeps an extensive archive of Mohammed portrayals:

    To reiterate points I’ve made before, some are part of Islamic tradition; in other words, it is arguable indeed whether any Muslim should be offended by any neutral-to-respectful portrayal of Mohammed. Many others are part of modern controversies and include the artist’s working name – whether that be a partial name, a blog name from which the artist could be determined, or in some cases, the artist’s full, legal name. I have no doubt that what’s coming in EDMD will feature a similar mix.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — April 27, 2010 @ 8:48 pm - April 27, 2010

  8. In case anyone missed it, here again is the REALITY of the depictions of Muhammad

    Which are EVERYTHNG that Althouse, Taranto, and I said they would be.

    Juvenile, intentionally, gratuitously offensive, and ANONYMOUS.

    ALL of the claims of the supporters of this childish demonstration destroyed by the demonstration itself.

    Comment by American Elephant — April 27, 2010 @ 9:16 pm - April 27, 2010

  9. Some great reads out there. First, the hat tip to My Pet Jawa for linking them:

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — April 27, 2010 @ 10:06 pm - April 27, 2010

  10. Next, Bookwormroom. A teaser:

    n the old days, the notion of incitement to violence examined whether the speaker literally incited violence. For example, the speaker might say to the crowd “Kill the President”…

    We’ve now entered a brave new world that redefines “incitement to violence” away from its traditional meaning of explicit demands for blood, death or revolution. Now, “incitement to violence” includes speech or images that [ed: allegedly] hurt someone’s feelings…

    Where we would once police the crazy man, we now police ourselves. Everything we say must be run through the filter of “will it make the crazy man angry?”

    Except of course, we’re not talking about any random crazy man. We’re talking about the sharia-obsessed Muslim crazy man. And by making that man — that sharia man — the standard by which incitement must be judged, we’re veering sharply away from a constitutional standard of free speech, and placing ourselves squarely within that man’s sharia code. Which really means that the second American Revolution, the one that sees us forever part ways with our current system of government, will begin, and end, not with flaring muskets and brave midnight battles, but with a whimper and a bowed head.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — April 27, 2010 @ 10:07 pm - April 27, 2010

  11. There’s more. But next, Ayaan Hirsi Ali in today’s Wall Street Journal. A teaser:

    Any Muslim, male or female, who knows about the “offense” may decide to perform the duty of killing those who insult the prophet. So what can be done to help Mr. Parker and Mr. Stone?


    One way of reducing the cost is to organize a solidarity campaign. The entertainment business, especially Hollywood, is one of the wealthiest and most powerful industries in the world. Following the example of Jon Stewart [emphasis added], who used the first segment of his April 22 show to defend “South Park,” producers, actors, writers, musicians and other entertainers could lead such an effort.

    Another idea is to do stories of Muhammad where his image is shown as much as possible. These stories do not have to be negative or insulting, they just need to spread the risk. The aim is to confront hypersensitive Muslims with more targets than they can possibly contend with.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — April 27, 2010 @ 10:07 pm - April 27, 2010

  12. There’s more. But next, The Simpsons, with a clever ironic/reflexive commentary:

    South Park – We’d Stand Beside You If We Weren’t So Scared

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — April 27, 2010 @ 10:07 pm - April 27, 2010

  13. Next, the Powerline guys (names available on the blog: John Hinderaker, Scott Johnson, Paul Mirengoff) yesterday brought us a Mohammed / free speech cartoon from Chris Muir:

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — April 28, 2010 @ 10:28 pm - April 28, 2010

  14. I’d not seen that one. “And a high chair for my wife.” ROTFLAMO.

    Comment by The_Livewire — April 29, 2010 @ 11:50 am - April 29, 2010

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