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Posted by: steve benson ( )
Date: November 10, 2017 06:56PM

It's always interesting, entertaining and baffling to get feedback from readers on cartoons. The following has come in response to a cartoon I did recently about that mass murder rampage of Christian believers in that little town in Texas:

Here's the 'toon:

Here's hearin' from the readers:

A. I Don't Like It

*Complainer #1 (under the subject line “disgusting”):

“How dare you use Jesus. Liberalism and socialism lead to Communism. Keep Jesus out of your sick views!!!!!”

*My reply:

“Did Jesus tell you to command me not to use Jesus? Did Jesus tell you why he was so interested in cartoons that feature him as being a non-violence advocate? What, exactly, did he tell you in that regard?

“The cartoon wasn’t about 'liberalism and socialism leading to Communism.'

"Rather, it was about the use of guns leading to the death of innocent congregants assembled to worship in a Christian church In Texas. (It’s been all over the news).

“Jesus is the Prince of Peace, right? So, holster your piece and follow your Master of Peace.”

*Complainer #2:

”I was appalled when I opened the newspaper and on page 17A the most degrading attempt to picture Jesus as seen by the person that must have been looking in the mirror when this reproduction was made.

“You apparently believe this caricature cartoon depicted a humorous situation with guns on his head to represent the crown of thorns was supposed to be funny or entertaining, Wrong

“Well Benson, I for one wasn’t impressed by your lack of knowledge, ability, and insulting cartoon you are being paid to put in the paper. But again the low life reporting by the media showed its true colors and can do and say anything it wants with no fear of ever being wrong. The editor of this paper better wake up when letting such an atrocity appear that insults not only the church, those that lost their lives but many millions of people that believe in a religion. Cartoons should not be in news section of a paper, maybe in the funny paper, and this wasn’t funny.

“You can stop my delivery of paper to my home 1306 E. Louis Way as I don’t need trash to read , there is enough of it on TV and other media.”

*My reply:

“Jesus is the Prince of Peace. I doubt he would advocate the use of gun violence against worshipping Christians assembled in that small Texas church.

“That’s what the cartoon was about and was synchronized for publication within the context of that news event.

“Thanks for writing.

“Steve B.”

B. I Do Like It


“I realize that you are probably being crucified for today's political cartoon, but I thought that it was great! Another poignant commentary from you. My only criticism is that you didn't give Jesus any armpit hair.

"I'm Jewish--and we Jews do have armpit hair, just not horns. :-)

“Best, . . . “

*My reply:

“So far, so good.

“My daughter asked me about the absence of armpit hair, too. And she’s not even Jewish. ☺


*My reply:


“(P.S.—I’m an atheist)”

[Note to RfM readers: I made a copy of both the reader’s letter and the cartoon for my daughter and brought them home. She liked it].

C. I Don't Get It and Would Like an Explanation

*Confused Reader Seeking Understanding:

“Mr. Benson,

“I wanted to ask you about your cartoon published today. What were you trying to convey by putting guns in the crown of thorns?

“Regards, . . .”

*My reply:

“Jesus: Prince of Peace

“Guns: Ungodly, Bring Him Sorrow”

D. I Don't Get It But I Don't Like It

*Confused Reader Who Has Made Up Their Mind Anyway (under the subject line, ‘your editorial cartoons”):

“As a retired artist my wife and I have been subscribers to the Arizona morning paper since 1955 This is before you became the liberal editorial cartoonist for the Arizona Republic We really enjoyed the editorial cartons from this time...but your liberal cartons lack a complete understanding of a point you try to make. In order to understand your meanings could you possible put a small caption under the cartoon to explain the point you are trying to make? Thank you for understanding our problem with your cartoons.”

*My reply:

“Well, being the retired artist that you are, you no doubt realize that you are able to express your own views through your art because this is America. I happen to do the same thing as a currently working artist, also expressing my views in America.

“Please make note of the fact that it is not my job—or the job of any other editorial cartoonist, for that matter—to draw your points of view for you. Editorial cartoonists work on the opinion pages as individual commentators with their art signed as such, not in the news section as reporters.

“Despite your opinion that you possess “a complete understanding” of certain issues--as opposed to what you regard as my incomplete understanding of certain issues (none of which you identified, by the way), I happen to disagree with your point of view in the general sense (since you weren’t specific about what views you were talking about).

“Again, welcome to America, Land of the Free, Home of the Differing Points of View.

“Best wishes in drawing your own point of view and thanks for writing.”


Another day in the deep, shallow and middle end of the ink bottle. I don't get it. :)

Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 11/11/2017 02:21PM by steve benson.

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Posted by: MeM ( )
Date: November 10, 2017 09:16PM

I like your cartoon and I believe it says a lot about the USA late in the year 2017.

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Posted by: danr ( )
Date: November 11, 2017 11:29AM

The only people that need a caption are the ones that don't see guns.

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Posted by: Kentish ( )
Date: November 11, 2017 11:46AM

Good cartoons on topical events are always provocative. Often people can miss the point and can only handle their misunderstanding by placing the provocateur in a a manageable box.

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Posted by: dagny ( )
Date: November 11, 2017 11:52AM

When golf players often wear pastel polyester, the two become associated.

To me, the cartoon represents an association that has been building in momentum. Well done.

Also, I'd like to say, I applaud any cartoons that show a deity. IMO, it's time to remove the "off limits" cloak of sacredness and bring them all under the scrutiny of comics and cartoonists! People get all offended when their sacred cow is discussed openly. They need to know that's their problem not the problem of everyone else. As we know, some cartoonists have paid a high price to meddle into religion.

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Posted by: steve benson ( )
Date: November 11, 2017 02:26PM

And that includes, for instance, manufacturing their he-man Christian god-man as a gun-toting American with a love for assault rifles and a willingness, even eagerness, to use them against, say, critics of the NRA.

If they're going to do that, then I can shoot back in my cartoons, so to speak. If they can't handle cartoons, how can they handle a gun?

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Posted by: dagny ( )
Date: November 11, 2017 03:21PM

Bow your head and say yes to that!

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Posted by: East Coast Exmo ( )
Date: November 11, 2017 03:04PM

I was wondering about the armpit hair too, but I figured it was an artistic decision, like shaving William Shatner's chest.

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Posted by: donbagley ( )
Date: November 11, 2017 03:20PM

God and guns go together on a bumper sticker. But in a cartoon is just wrong, gosh darn it. Please don't make us think about it.

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Posted by: steve benson ( )
Date: November 11, 2017 03:23PM

You pray for me, and I'll think for the both of us.

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Posted by: Badassadam1 ( )
Date: November 11, 2017 05:17PM

I might steal that line. Never had a good comeback for their robotic "i will pray for you phrase."

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Posted by: cutekitty ( )
Date: November 11, 2017 06:53PM

But we HAVE to think about it, donbagley.

It is becoming a weekly occurrence, somewhere in the world. It is a VERY, VERY scary world full of guns and mental issue victims who think they can OUTDO the last guy who pulled it off.

With no body to pray to for help anymore, we have to be very careful these days!

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Posted by: donbagley ( )
Date: November 12, 2017 03:56AM

Yes. At some point the firepower is too much. It's frightening.

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Posted by: catnip ( )
Date: November 11, 2017 08:19PM

Visual imagery is not one of my strongest points - one of MANY reasons why I am not an artist - but this one struck me as one of your best. Spot-on, and powerful.

And don't worry about the armpit hair. That would only have distracted from the message, and probably pissed off another whole subgroup of people.

Well done, sir!

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Posted by: dagny ( )
Date: November 11, 2017 08:26PM

Jesus shaves.

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Posted by: steve benson ( )
Date: November 12, 2017 01:33AM

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Posted by: steve benson ( )
Date: November 12, 2017 01:32AM

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