The Political Cartoon Instagram Doesn’t Want You to See (Update)
Update: The cartoon has since been restored, and a representative for Instagram maintains that it was “removed in error.” The original post can be found below.
Last week, days ahead of the first anniversary of activist Heather Heyer’s slaying in Charlottesville, Va., and a second “Unite the Right” rally, Instagram banned a political cartoon by artist Jesse Duquette on the grounds that it “encouraged” or depicted “extreme violence.” Duquette, who provides regular commentary on the Trump administration via his feed, the.daily.don, responded as follows:
Not sure how a cartoon commenting on Trump’s relationship with the rise in white nationalism fits into either category but it seems IG’s desire to cave into some touchy Trumpflakes and deliver them their badly-needed safe space is more important than having to make sense. One more strike (likely) and the acct could get the axe, so if this page suddenly disappears (very likely), at least it will have allowed some proud boy alpha males to sleep a little more soundly knowing they won’t have to be confronted by these dastardly cartoons anymore. #onedayatatime #resist #magaisformorons#cartoon #trumpflakes #shitholepresident#thedailydon
While it’s possible—even probable—that the drawing was flagged for its inclusion of a swastika, the Facebook-owned site’s refusal to acknowledge the context in which it was drawn nonetheless raises pertinent questions regarding free speech. Call it corporate censorship by algorithm.
As the newspaper industry has declined, so too has the political cartoon, despite offering a vital check on the power of state and federal officials. Observes Dwayne Booth, better known as Mr. Fish, “A cartoonist is there to ridicule assumptions in service of either humor or dissent, something that resonates with the human heart, the heart being typically contemptuous of the cold rigidity of piety and obedience to authority.”
Below is the cartoon in question, posted here with permission from the artist:
Wait, before you go…
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