In April British editorial cartoonist Martin Rowson drew a cartoon that was deemed antisemitic. Since that time Rowson has not appeared in The Guardian newspaper, his newspaper, that published the cartoon. Until now.
Martin apologized for the cartoon, as Mike Peterson said at the time it was “one of the most complete apologies and in-depth explanations I have ever read, not only from a cartoonist but even from an analyst of cartoons. It is absolutely required reading for anyone in the trade or interested in the trade or interested in fairness.”
Now Rowson returns to The Guardian, not with a cartoon but with another mea culpa:
But soon [the apology] no longer mattered. Intentionality became irrelevant. I could now only see what Rich and thousands of others saw, and saw it for what it was. I was now consumed with deep, devouring shame. That coming Friday, I was due to draw a cartoon covering the coronation, but by this stage I had long since lost all sense of moral authority or even agency to draw anything or judge anyone, and two days after the Sharp cartoon was published I asked for time off.
All of this matters so much because this mistake – though “car crash” comes closest in my mind to describe the jagged intermeshing of accident, chaos, loss of control, damage and huge hurt to blameless bystanders – happened within a context I’m very conscious of.
What I do in my work is a twisted and dreadful magic, and it needs to be practised with extreme care.