NYT Rejects Comic About #Yesallwomen

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NYT Rejects Comic About #Yesallwomen

It's an unfortunate bit of timidity by the Gray Lady, though not necessarily the scandal it appears to be.

Newspaper cartoonists often have to contend with touchy editors when it comes to discussing controversial topics; avoiding angry readers who might stop purchasing newspapers as a result of being offended is one of an Editor's jobs, after all. So it's nothing new when a paper passes on a submitted cartoon.

Even so, political comics have always been a bit different from the daily variety, with controversy often being the point. That's even more true when you consider the vast difference between the newspaper-style cartoonists pre-Internet and post-Internet. Many cartoonists today cut their teeth online, where courting controversy - even outright trolling - is as vital to generating interest and discussion of one's work as being actually good at said work. Which is why it's somewhat surprising when a paper declines to publish a political cartoon, as was the case yesterday when the New York Times kiboshed the weekly installment of See Something, Say Something.

Here's what artist and co-creator Michael Kupperberg had to say about it on his blog:

Some of you may have noticed that David Rees and I have been producing a comic for the New York Times Week in Review section called "See Something, Say Something" every other Sunday... but we're not in today's paper. That's because they objected to David's script this week and refused to consider printing it... the subject matter (male rage, online bullying & the hashtag #yesallwomen) was "too sensitive."

I disagree very strongly with that decision, because I feel David was making a point that deserves to be made. So I went ahead and completed the script as written; here it is, see for yourselves.

Here's the comic that caused such a fuss.


A little context: In the aftermath of the University of California Santa Barbara shootings, it was revealed that the shooter held deep-seated, vicious resentment against women who, he said again and again, deserved death for sexually rejecting him. Thousands of women tweeted the hashtag #yesallwomen, along with examples from their own lives in which they've been sexually harassed or assaulted by men espousing views similar to those expressed by the UCSB shooter. The point being that all women have stories like this.

As hashtag campaigns go, it's hardly offensive, though a sizable group of people have missed the point, adding their own hashtags mocking or criticizing the original campaign. Obviously, this comic takes a rather aggressive stance toward people complaining about #yesallwomen, but is it really "too sensitive"? Maybe, but I don't think so. It sounds like the NYT simply wants to prevent the inevitable storm of trolling and counter-trolling in comments and letters to the editor. That's disappointing, at least in the sense that a newspaper should be willing to wade into controversial topic.

On the other hand, I have to be honest: I think this comic is way too on the nose to make a decent point about male rage or the weird resentment of #yesallwomen, and it relies too heavily on Internet shibboleths for the joke to work. That sucks to say, because I'm a huge fan of David Rees' Get Your War On, but it's true.

Maybe I'm being too hard on it, or perhaps I'm being too hard on the NYT for refusing to publish based on sensitivity. What do you think, readers? Sound off in comments.

Via Bleeding Cool.


The entire situation is a recursive monster of endless straw arguments. This comic is about average for that.
For more information on this subject, just wait for this thread to fill.

Egh. Terrible artwork aside (which may or may not be intentional), I can see why this got rejected. It's not clever, it's not witty, and it tackles the issue with all the grace of an elephant. Never mind that it is an issue I really don't think even needs to be addressed in a periodical.

Egh. Terrible artwork aside (which may or may not be intentional), I can see why this got rejected. It's not clever, it's not witty, and it tackles the issue with all the grace of an elephant. Never mind that it is an issue I really don't think even needs to be addressed in a periodical.

I agree about the artwork and the writing, although I think the issue of #yesallwomen is worthy of further discussion in as many formats as possible.

The comic should never have been rejected for being too sensitive, just because it is outright bad, on all fronts.

I don't have an issue with the hashtag. What I have issue with, is the ignorance presented by several of the people who used said hashtag, claiming that the man-child in question was purely a misogynist. Fact is, he hated women for not being sexually subservient towards him and he hated men who he deemed to be more successful than him. Want to know how far that hatred goes? I'm an impoverished native american Canadian, I lost my virginity with a 8/10 red head goth chick at 14. Based on that second bit, he would have hated me with the same deep seeded despair that he hated the women he wanted to bone. Because I've been with a woman, I'd qualify as more successful than he in his own eyes, despite being in a much better socio-economic position. But the thing that really gets me is the man was deranged, had severe issues and needed some serious help. But there are many amongst those who used the hashtag that were simply abusing it for the sake of being misandrist pigs and pushing their own agenda, the comic in question sidesteps the entire issue and makes it seem as though we, as males, have absolutely no reason to be annoyed or bothered by some of the comments that were being made and aimed at us simply for being born male.

Oh, come on.

They'll run the cartoons of Glenn McCoy -- without being forced to, even -- but they won't run this?

Was there supposed to be something funny or witty in that comic?

The entire situation is a recursive monster of endless straw arguments.

Truer words were never spoken.

Where has our society gone...what happened to the good old fashioned social norms...

We need a hero...no...we need three...we need a defense force...for white guys!

No your right it is way to on the nose to make a real point,be funny, or have an impact. Im not sure what it needed but it needed something to work better. I think its fine that they comment on such a thing just that they should do better and I wouldnt have allowed the comic on the grounds of quality.

Wow, so much controversy. It's unlike anything the internet's ever seen!

I wonder how many more years will have gone by before people finally stop caring about what stupid people say on the most stupid medium in existence.

I wouldn't say the subject matter is offensive, but if it was my call, I would question printing it for some of the specific lines, primarily the rape reference and the "fat and ugly" comment. I understand the statement, but I would understand if someone said that content was too sensitive for publication. Of course, I don't know what is the standard for the NYT.

That said, I'm all behind the #yesallwomen campaign for the most part (granted that I'm sure there are people using it in ways I may not support, but they don't need my "support" or approval). And I even like the message of the comic, but as others have said, the delivery is crap.

The entire joke/point of the comic is that those guys are babies? Geez, you'd think people who get to write on The New York Times might manage a little more depth than the average toddler. This is just embarrassing, I'm not surprised they didn't want it in their paper.

I'd say it should have been printed or at the very least not rejected for the reasons it has been.

That said I do think it's a horrible comic that, instead of making any actual point, just seems to add another strawman into the mix. I mean let's be honest, can you imagine anyone ever looking at this comic and going "hey... I hadn't looked at it that way before..."? I sure as hell can't.

And I do think that's a requirement for a good political comic. It's meant to inspire at the very least a second cursory look from a slightly different perspective at a certain topic. I don't see this comic doing that.

Too bad the editor didn't say the comic was rejected because it 1. wasn't skillfully written 2. wasn't skillfully illustrated, because those reasons are good enough.

How is this newsworthy? I would've rejected it for being a shitty, hateful comic.

He should have done it in MS Paint. Any opinion can be made to look stupid when you draw it in MS Paint.

errrrghhhh. . . this comic hurts me.

I'm all for woman's rights i really am, but the more you use something the less power it has in peoples minds.

as for the comic itself its childish, immature, and the point its trying to make is just stupid.

Frankly, I think the comic's crap.

The sort of men who actually post threats towards people they disagree with or quietly harbor seething rage at women would likely have one of two responses: it would bounce right off unnoticed, or it would just verify their views that the world at large is hostile and uncaring and not worth engaging on its own terms (with the attendant and rather parallel dismissal of anyone who disagrees with their reality.)

Anyone who had a more moderate view- say, sympathetic with #yesallwomen's ideals and sense of solidarity but wondering if the hashtag approach is really provoking serious conversation or long-term change- would likely take the comic as a sign that they should keep any qualms to themselves for fear of ridicule, making any genuine productive conversation that much poorer.

Has any conversation, ever, gone uphill for someone literally referring to one segment as a bunch of babies peeing their pants? This may be cathartic for the author, but it's value for the readership is dubious at best.

I love how SJWs spend all day whining about everything that offends them, then make comics about how everyone else is so whiny and sensitive whenever anyone criticizes them. Their absolute void of self-awareness and constant projection is matched on by their dedication to straw men and ad hominem. This comic would be embarrassing for your average webcomic, let alone for a major publication.

I never thought' I'd type these words...

'I agree with the NEw York Times'

I had to type that sentence five times before my auto correct realized I was actually typing it and not making a mistake.

The whole thing between Testosterone Entitleists and Feminists is simply one of communication. The latter can't make a statement without be seen as attacking the former and being men if you come in swinging we'll start swinging too. It's playground rules people. To be fair fems...we Guys react this way regardless of gender... we'd don't care if the attack comes from a guy or gal we are gonna swing back. Welcome to gender equality... not quite how you imagined huh? I've said it before .. if women want to be treated equally with men.. they're gonna have to learn to take punches... because we guys punch... a lot. There's a reason we as a gender have a higher pain tolerance than you...it's the only way we survive all the punching and kicking.

But back to this...feminists... the reason why we come back swinging is because for some reason you conflate your experience with one guy to the whole gender thusly many normal rational men that see your remarks think you might be attacking them and well see the above paragraph. It's nothing personal ladies.. we're conditioned to be like this by society. It sucks for us as well...Many feminists actually make a point of being deliberately inflammatory to get reaction *cough*anitsarkesian*cough* and I can respect this because thick-headed oafs that we are we tend to miss things delivered in a calm polite manner...

So how do we get a discourse going? Well ladies and yes I am putting the onus on y'all, you're the diplomatic gender or are supposed to be at least. Men smashy.. women do the whole wordy, talky, emotion thing type stuff. So help us out here please? Instead of pointing out all the bad guys and the oafs and our bad times.. how about pointing out the good stuff you. Instead of going on on rants about when a guy makes you feel like half a person, perhaps try you know pointing out the time when you felt a guy treated you with the same courtesy and respect that he treats his brother... minus the punching. If you can't think of one.. do what storytellers do and make up a hypothetical scenario with a fake guy. Rather than attack us.. how about ever so gently steering us a few degrees towards where you want us to go. Instead of calling us out on being sexist... highlight when we're not. And if you can't find an example.. that may be a sign that the problem is in your perception. After all if you can't think of a time when people aren't insulting you.. then you're either in a spectacularly *shitty* place or perhaps it's how you've taught yourself to perceive the world.

Seriously we punch a lot ladies. The whole handshake thing was basically invented as way of one guy communicating to another:

'Dude.. see open palm.. no rock, no stick to hit you. Not going to punch you because as you can see open palm'

The handshake was the widely accepted alternative to our usual greeting of *PUNCH*

It's a poor attempt at making a good point, honestly. It's about as subtle as a baseball bat to the nose, it flatly denigrates an entire side of a discussion, and the artwork itself is inconsistent and... well, ugly in a number of ways. It looks like it was thrown together in a rush to capitalize on the issue.

If it attacked the #yesallwomen movement like this, people from Hell to Helsinki would be demanding the artist's metaphorical balls on a plate.

The whole hashtag campaign is dumb. Men are assaulted, killed, raped every day by men and women alike. Women are not alone in this, nor do they even bear the brunt of it. Men are far more disposable in every society than females.

In other news: the sky is blue, the grass is green and the sun will come up tomorrow morning. Both sides of this argument are bile filled assholes doing nothing but calling each other names.

To be fair, that's not true, in the same way there are also teenaged atheists who are not rabid Dawkins fans* who badly phrase the teleological argument and then declare victory before the opposing party has said a word. And yes, there are good points to be made on both sides of this debate, but the level-headed people are (as always) lost beneath waves of verbal diarrhoea by semi-sapient assclowns.

I'm pretty sure it wasn't rejected because it's about #YesAllWomen. I was probably rejected because... well... it's not a very good comic.

While I don't agree with the reason for the rejection of the comic, that doesn't necessarily mean it should be allowed in. This comic not only looks and reads like shit, it barely makes a rational point. If the point you are trying to make is that misogynists are all immature, irrational assholes, then there are ways to accomplish that task without seeming like an immature, irrational asshole who also lacks an inability to draw or phrase sentences properly.

I agree that the people the comic was satirizing are not good people, and that immature baby is an accurate description of these people, but at the same time, you also have to acknowledge that an unfortunately large number of these people are also surprisingly intelligent, and are actually capable of forming grammatically correct sentences. The 1st panel on the second line is especially inappropriate if your goal is to satirize a group without people also associating you with the archetypes you are trying to describe a group with.

I'm all for the IDEA behind #yesallwomen

But can we agree that hashtag awareness campaigns(and trying to raise properly articulated and argued points on twitter in general) are bad ways to go?

It reaches a lot of people, sure, but it's far to easy to misunderstand the idea of the supposed campaign when your biggest connector is some vague hashtag with an ocean of posts attached to it.

We've been seeing a lot of it where someone will argue a point about something(like that community manager that got fired for being pro-privacy) but because twitter is an abysmal platform to actual convey complex or intricate ideals, everyone misunderstands and misreads the posts and the entire debate instantly goes to crap.

Of course, even if we stopped using twitter for complex societal issue campaigns and used a better platform, I don't think it'd have saved this comic from being complete and utter trash.

Is that what the comic usually looks like, or did they deliberately make it in MS Paint to make it look more juvenile?

No one should assume that this comic was rejected because of politics, given how terrible it is.

The comic is trying way too hard to make a point, therefore becoming obvious flamebait, and doesn't have a punchline, instead relying on the extremely old and unfunny joke of depicting adults as babies or children. That's a better reason to reject it than "sensitivity".

I'm all for women standing up against people such as the shooter, but not like this.

The comic itself isn't horrible. Yes, artistically one could complain, but that's hardly the point. I think they refused to post the comic due to the replies more than anything else. It's just like that Critical Miss comic about Evangelion (sp) or the WGDF. People were enraged. Even if the author/writer makes a valid point it's lose behind the presentation. Calling those that oppose whiny babies is hardly a way to start any civilized discussion. Not that one could expect one when pertaining to this subject. I can't say how it could have been done better. I'm sure the paper saw the possible fallout and figured it wasn't worth it.

This comic pretty much has the quality of a youtube comment being typed in all caps, and frankly isn't going to make anyone who is anti-this message think anything about their position.

There's a reason we as a gender have a higher pain tolerance than you...it's the only way we survive all the punching and kicking.

You realize that this has been empirically proven to be false, right? In fact, women have the higher pain tolerance, on average.

I'm not gonna comment on the rest of what you said, mostly because I agree with some parts and disagree with others, but I couldn't stop myself from pointing that much out.

Kinda reminds me a lot of that one comic made on this website. Can't argue with someone? No problem - strawman to the rescue!

Let's make any and all opposition seem like the most despicable people on the planet. Yay!

Seriously, though - this stuff should be properly and calmly discussed. Being a moron and shouting about it won't help and a comic that claims to be satirical doesn't either. It just raises tensions on both sides without actually solving anything.

Are we sure it was rejected because it was controversial and not that the comic was just shit? Because after reading it I'd go with the latter.

Brevity is the soul of wit. I like the message/point/whatever of the comic, but you could take out half the panels and the comic would still communicate the same point. Only it'd be funnier for not dragging the joke out for so long.

Oh, and the art is terrible, but that guy's art is always terrible and the NYT never had a problem with that before, so not much ground for an objection there.

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