Change of gameplan

April 15, 2011 by Tim

So some of you will have seen the original script for today’s comic, and notice that it has now been changed.

I agonized the entire day about what to do with the script for today’s comic. On the one hand, I felt the joke was funny, and ultimately harmless. But on the other hand, clearly any jab at a racial stereotype, no matter how playfully intended, is going to be a touchy topic for many people.

Allow me to first state that there was absolutely zero intention to offend anyone with today’s comic. There was no ill-will, malicious agenda, or racism involved with arriving at the script for the comic. I am about as far from racist as a person can be.

On the other hand, I will admit that I often laugh at jokes about racial stereotypes when they’re told for comedic, light-hearted purpose (as opposed to coming from a place of anger or ignorance). A lot of standup comedians make jokes about stereotype humor. I think that racism is a serious matter, but I also think that stereotype humor can be funny, in the same way I think that real world violence is a terrible thing, but I find humor in cartoon/comic violence.

I talked to a good number of people this afternoon while I was working on the comic, to get outside opinions and advice about whether or not I should proceed with the original script. I knew it was a big risk, to trust that it would be apparent that it was coming from a place of good-natured ribbing on a well-known stereotype, and not any place sinister.

In the end I wrote three different versions of the comic and prepared them. I decided to launch with the original script, stay up late and monitor how it was received, and have the backup on hand in case it didn’t go over well.

I’m not out to offend anyone. My goal is to make people laugh. Not everyone has the same sense of humor. Some people are offended more easily than others. In hindsight, it may have been irresponsible of me to try and walk the admittedly very fine line that is racial stereotype humor in a medium where I have such a broad and varied audience that I cannot immediately see/guage.

I tried something different, and I’ll be the first to admit that it didn’t work for me. Rather than keep the comic up and offend people, I decided to swap it out for one of the alternate scripts. Again, if you were offended by the original script, please accept my sincerest apologies. I certainly meant to no harm by it. Ideally we’d live in a world where we could all laugh together and tease and poke fun and nobody’s feelings would get hurt. But until that day, I promise that if I’m on the fence about a potentially abrasive joke, I’ll err on the side of caution.

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