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MIKE DIANA, JAILED FOR SACRILEGE

from Chris Wayan's journal 1994/6/23


Today I got a letter about a benefit for Mike Diana, an undergound cartoonist in Florida who did grating, obnoxious anti-religious stuff in his comic book, BOILED ANGEL.

Did, but doesn't now. He was JAILED for it, and forbidden by a judge to draw, and forced to go to therapy! In Florida, anti-Christian art is a crime. And insane. To be forcibly cured.

I decide to send him some money and donate some of my own erotic dream-comix for sale at the benefit.

I mention all this to my housemate Alder. She says he may have deserved jail! "Well, how disgusting is his stuff?" She adds casually "Lots of people I know would call your art disgusting and obscene, and want to shield their kids from it."

After I get over the shock and personal hurt... there's a deeper anger here.

Shield their kids from MY art? As if kids are spared anything in this child-unsafe society! I find kids' comics, and the network news, and American daily life disgusting and obscene--not just violent but sadistic. A training camp for sociopaths. I go to such effort to make my art positive in the face of that, to show the virtues in what I was taught to disdain, starting with sex, dreams, the body, emotions...

But what I really find chilling is that this generally liberal woman immediately blames the victim. Who cares what he said? He's a criminal for drawing comics, not burning down churches. He offended some Christians, so the cops took him away! People died for freedom of speech, and here Alder is going on and on about how she understands the urge to censor things, how "they" have gone too far...

Well, I'm one of "them", I guess.

The people who really want freedom of speech and religion, want what people died to guarantee us.

The "them" who actually want to say something.



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