A couple of months ago, someone recommended the cartoon humor site, FunnyTimes.com. “They’re accepting cartoons from freelancers… and they pay”. I wondered why she was telling me about this, (I can do funny but stand up funny. In person funny. Drawing? Cartoons? Not so much.)
I looked over their website to get a feel for what kind of humor they were into. Lots of single panel cartoon, basic drawing (still out of my wheelhouse) but I started to get some ideas. Then, I got to work. A few weeks later, I finished my first cartoon!
I’d originally intended on using a picture of a lotus flower but at the last minute, I changed my mind. It was the morning I read about that school in Kennesaw, Ga., who received some complaints about practicing mindfulness in the classroom. I can feel my brain start to catch on fire all over again… The school was teaching breathing techniques to the elementary age kids to help with anxiety and stress as a coping mechanism.
Some parents pitched a fit because “kids can’t pray in school, yet they’re pushing ideology on our students. Some of those things are religious practices that we don’t want our children doing in our schools.”
Yes, GOD forbid we bring awareness to ourselves or try to be calm, centered and in touch…
See? Sorry, it just… defies words.
Anyway, I was already wondering if the lotus flower was really the “right” image and after reading that article, I changed the picture from the lotus flower to a woman. Her hands were positioned in a way that mimicked what some people do when they have a headache. Perfect.
I was confident I’d made the right choice. I put it in an envelope and sent it out.
Last week I got a reply. It essentially said “Thanks but it’s not right for us” and they sent my cartoon back.
When I unfolded the picture, the picture I put together and sent out, I was a little shocked. I couldn’t believe I didn’t see it before…
It featured a Hindu woman in prayer. It looked like I was taking a shot at the Hindu religion. I know a lot of people get nervous with comedy and religion start to flirt but if I think something is funny? I’ll say it, write it, apparently cartoon it… I don’t shy away from controversy. Yet, somehow, I was almost offended! I guess it’s because the people at FunnyTimes don’t know me or know that I can joke about anything and not do it with malice. My only intent (usually) is to make people laugh. I laugh a lot. At myself. If other people want to laugh at me too? Great! The more the merrier.
But suddenly, I could clearly see how out of context, the cartoon would be almost prejudice.
So now what? Quit? Fuck that. Find another audience. (Cue you guys).
Here’s my almost, sorta racist(?) cartoon about mindfulness and the ridiculous parents who are afraid of Vishnu (and all the other deities).
“There can really be as many Hindu Gods as there are devotees to suit the moods, feelings, emotions & social background of the devotees.”
~Sri Rama Krishna~
What about you? Do you think there’s anything too serious to be joked about? Let me know in the comments below!
***On a side note, it’s that time of year again! Acme Comedy Co is hosting their annual Funniest Person in the Twin Cities contest. I signed up already and my night to perform is July 5th at 8:00pm. Super glad that a) it’s not the 10:30 show I had last year (every show was at 10:30!) and b) I’m scheduled in July vs June… and then had to wait 2 ½ months to see if I advanced to the semi-finals (I did!).