Saturday, January 10, 2015

Q&A – RODRIGO DE MATOS – CARTOONIST | FANATICS ‘SUFFER FROM RELIGIONITIS’


Macau Daily Times - What was your first reaction to the cold-blooded assassination of your colleagues at French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo?
Rodrigo de Matos (RM) - Sadly, my first reaction contained everything but surprise, which says a lot about the world we live in. I was very sad knowing that we won’t be seeing new stuff from those cartoonists, whose work I appreciated very much, especially Wolinski’s.
MDT - Charlie Hebdo cartoonists reveled in provocation and took pride in their freedom to poke fun at anyone — be they popes, presidents, public figures or the Prophet Muhammad. Do you believe theirs was a good approach?
RM - Yes, of course. That’s what freedom of speech is about. Agreeing or not with their point of view, to say that they were wrong by expressing it would be the same as agreeing with the savage people who killed them.
MDT - In your work as a cartoonist, what are the limits you set for yourself? Or are there no limits for satire?
RM - There shouldn’t be any limits for satire, beyond those of realizing if our idea is a good or a bad joke. The reasons why something might be offensive for someone are so personal – you can always find someone offended by virtually every joke – that if we start thinking on those terms, there’s a risk of killing all the humor in the world. And what world would that be?
MDT – Cartoonists have become a target for the extremists. Would you say that those radicals suffer from fear of laughter?
RM - They suffer from religionitis (when religion becomes an illness). That disease spreads easily in less intelligent or educated brains, transforming the infected subjects with deadly instruments for some radical groups with very unholy agendas.

MDT – After what happened, do you still believe that pens are mightier than swords?
RM – When you look at the people that die or are imprisoned for drawing cartoons, it’s difficult to say that pens are mightier than swords, but these incidents have the ironic effect of awakening the minds to fight against injustice. Ideas and free speech might not be stronger than guns, but they will prevail for sure. 


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