Comic Talk and General Discussion *

Causing offence?
Ozoneocean at 9:42PM, May 28, 2021
posts: 28,796
joined: 1-2-2004
Do you worry about offending specific people with your writing? Where's your line between honest expression and regard for other people's feelings?
usedbooks at 5:28AM, May 31, 2021
posts: 3,357
joined: 2-24-2007
If your honest expressions are offensive, I think the fault is not in your writing but in you.

Now, there is some nuance. The difference is between opinion and identity. Because people can technically be offended by either and sometimes hold their opinion to the level of sacred, which is ridiculous. No need to walk on eggshells to avoid offending someone who passionately believes pineapple belongs on a pizza, for example. Or who is vehemently anti-dog-breeders. Or whatever.

And some people like to hold fast to outright fantasies and are offended simply by research and knowledge. No need to humor them either. If you think crystals and CBD oil are going to cure your child's cancer, you are a child abuser. Nope. Not going to worry about offending you.

But offending someone's sense of self is deplorable. Race, gender, sexuality, disabilities, body traits, etc. Religion is something of a minefield. I love religious satire. But it sort of straddles that line of identity and belief. I find criticizing and poking fun at the ideologies, mythos, and customs acceptable, while poking fun at the FOLLOWERS is mean-spirited and offensive. Even, and especially, in an oppressive belief system where the followers are basically victims of their own ideology.
bravo1102 at 5:43AM, May 31, 2021
posts: 6,089
joined: 1-21-2008
There is honest satire of belief systems like the Broadway play “Book of Mormon ” or “Southpark ” and then there's cruel attacks on belief systems and believers like any number of the militant atheist books.

H.L. Mencken was often borderline in being offensive but he was also uncomfortably close to the mark as was Mark Twain. Both were brilliant satirists. There's also Will Rodgers. He'd say plenty of offensive things but the folksy manner would cause folks to shrug it off. But it hit home. Don Rickles?

Talk about offensive but you laugh in spite of yourself and realize about how he's right.

The offensive thing has to be honest as opposed to belittling. Playful not vindictive, a wink and a nudge, not a knife in the stomach.

And then there's the crap I write. Absolutely nasty stuff. Tell me and let's have a dialog so I know what I'm doing wrong. Always looking to make it worse.
last edited on May 31, 2021 5:50AM
hushicho at 12:25AM, June 1, 2021
posts: 161
joined: 10-4-2007
I'm of a number of minds on this particular question. Overall, I'd like to make people happy, and give them something fun and enjoyable that they don't have to worry about, at least as long as they're good with nudity and some mature content like sex and sexuality.

As far as taking extra care not to offend, I don't think I take much extra care beyond the writing. I do consider things and assess them to see if I feel like they might be offensive in some way. I tend not to try things I think would be particularly hard to handle well and might be offensive, though that is usually more a matter of time, energy, and effort I have to spare. If it's a difficult enough issue that it's going to cause me a significant amount of work, I'm usually going to do something else and not a high-risk, low-return thing. I've seen too many people, even ones writing about their own social groups and cultures, mess that up, and there are better, more sure bets I could be working on!

But I'm sure my work offends plenty of people, and I think anyone can agree – it's already been mentioned – that there are people we are concerned about offending, and people we are not. I frankly don't care if anyone is offended by the nudity, sexuality, sex, or any other mature element of my comics. Similarly, I don't care if someone finds my often very gay-centric stories offensive for that focus. Every comic isn't for everyone, every work of art and expression will not appeal to every single audience who comes upon it.

I would rather not hurt anyone's feelings or cause serious offense with my work, but on the other hand, you can't please everyone all the time, and it usually just makes it worse to try. I've spent so long trying to fit within what some call reasonable bounds, but those invariably have become narrower and narrower, and less and less progressive with most hosts over the years. At this point, I just don't care. I want to tell a story and have fun, and I want to bring fun to others who share my sense of enjoyment. If it's not for a person, it's not for them, move on, there are plenty of comics they could be enjoying instead. We should agree in that case that we're not a good fit and get on with our lives, I think.
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Andreas_Helixfinger at 3:12AM, June 1, 2021
posts: 380
joined: 3-16-2019
This is something I think about a lot actually and I have to admit that I'm very split about it. On one hand I want to take the same stance as the one taken in this scene from Duckman

On the other hand I don't really want to be utterly insensitive with my work either. I know that my stories are probably always gonna confuse or skeev out most people one way or the other.

Wether its because of the nudity, the sexual content, the violence, the disproportionate character designs (almost always mixing buff with cute), the awkward powers the characters possess, the strange mythology ,the bizarre and absurdist concepts and issues these stories tackles, or just the fact that most of my protagonists are anthropomorphic and female (which is totally incidental by the way. Zero agenda behind that).

But if I do come up with a plot element that people may find particularly offensive I will do what I can to clearify, through the writing, that I'm not doing this purely just to shock people. There will always be a reason, a why, behind what I'm doing. You might find even the why quite bizarre, but bizarre as an interesting/amusing, untapped hypothesis, as absurdist storytelling usually tends to be all about.

I like to think that intentionally offensive writing can be justified if the intentions are good and well thought-out. The intention and the why behind a certain expression I think absolutely matters and has to be taken into account.

It should be taken into account if the viewer truly cares about the story, and it should come clearly through to the viewer if the creator cared about it as well.

And even then I would never tell any creator that they cannot write stuff that is purely for shock value. That kind of thing is not for everyone, true, but it has a place as anything else in the world of fiction in that it helps keep things from getting boring. Sometimes you need a good curveball now and then in order to keep things entertaining. And that is a valuable thing no matter what people have to say about it in my opinion

last edited on June 1, 2021 11:55AM
Call Me Tom at 3:26AM, June 2, 2021
posts: 359
joined: 10-28-2010
I'm deeply worried about causing offence, mostly because I've managed to cause somewhat widespread offence with my drawing and wrighting style (or lack thereof). I try hard not to cause offence and know it would be better for everyone if I stopped drawing and wrighting altogether, but I guess I'm just kind bastard because I still draw stuff. Some day I'll figure out how to be a good person.
I'm sorry for any offence I cause.
Socratatus at 3:54AM, June 2, 2021
posts: 33
joined: 8-10-2019
This all comes from each person's point of view and how they see stories. There is no one perfect story. A completely ‘non-offensive’ story is NOT a perfect story. In fact, I'd say it's no story.

Some of the best time-honored and loved stories is ‘offensive’ to someone. Stories we do now will be ‘offesnive’ to someone in the future as times change.

We can't freely write stories being constantly worried about what might offend someone.

To be honest the word ‘offended’ is thrown around way too much.

I even get ‘offended’ by jumpy, smiling bunny, super colorful, flower stories!

I try to make my stories ‘realistic, even in a fantasy world. It’s a character or society or a culture thing especially when doing stories in certain genres where you want to suspend disbelief.

For me it's all about OVERCOMING whatever offends you and moving on. The joy is finally revealing the good and the light. Light cannot work without some dark. That's what life is about. that's what my heroes in my stories are about. You must FACE your hurdles and climb them, not carry them on your shoulders.

But I'm coming from a hard perhaps even dark, ‘realistic’ point of view, even in fantasy. I like to think what if there are dragons, but in a world that's like reality in the ancient days? What if it's WW1, but with giant walking mechs instead of slow-boring tanks? People will still be rude, racist, whatever except we have giant walking machines that belch steam! And go from there.

But that's just me. I don't worry about or become a radar..

I suppose no one will read my story now. Oh well.
last edited on June 2, 2021 4:36AM
lothar at 4:28AM, June 4, 2021
posts: 1,740
joined: 1-3-2006
I don't want to offend anyone. that's why I stick to hard core porn.
hushicho at 3:13PM, June 4, 2021
posts: 161
joined: 10-4-2007
lothar wrote:
I don't want to offend anyone. that's why I stick to hard core porn.

Words to live by, at least as far as I'm concerned!
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Andreas_Helixfinger at 4:56AM, June 5, 2021
posts: 380
joined: 3-16-2019
lothar wrote:
I don't want to offend anyone. that's why I stick to hard core porn.

Best, shortest and the most to-the-point reply ever^^ I love it^^
L.C.Stein at 6:05PM, July 3, 2021
posts: 109
joined: 10-2-2020
Yes I do take this into consideration. I have a satirical and dry sense of humor, and I do have to evaluate whether something is worth posting. I have to think about whether the joke is worth it me to express and maybe lose some followers…if I don't see any merit in it, it is not worth it, since I'm still trying to grow and can't really afford to lose massive amounts of followers. But I may put some stuff out there to test the waters a bit to see what happens. I don't like censoring myself, but i gotta be smart about it. I have a day job that pays health benefits I Really can't afford to lose.

I personally don't get too offended by other's work, and I like and support some pretty offensive and not-so0PC stuff, so long as it's not meant to be outright cruel and offensive.
rickrudge at 8:52PM, July 6, 2021
posts: 121
joined: 10-3-2019
Normally I try to keep my mouth shut to avoid the taste of foot in my mouth. I try not to offend anyone in general.

But, when it comes to my comics, that’s different. That’s me expressing myself. My family doesn’t really understand it. My friends must think that I’m nuts (or at least a pervert), but I really enjoy drawing my comix and posting them here.
ArrenMcStealsalot at 6:45AM, Sept. 5, 2021
posts: 41
joined: 8-24-2021
I say that artis should be able to offend, provoke and challenge world and society. Especially when we're talking about stories for mature audience. As long as nobody gets hurt during creation of art, artist should be able to do wahtever he likes. I believe in free speech and free expression, even if the person says something stupid without value. If someone says “kill all XXX” I'm just going to ignore this person.

When it comes to my art, I draw whatever I want, without intending to attack anyone, sometimes leaving space for interpretation and it's not my problem when someone sees something offensive in place where I ask “what do you see?”. Society needs a clown - somebody who can do weird and offensive things, and doesn't have to be taken too seriously, because it's just a clown doing silly things. But this clown can point out and make fun of some problems that nobody else wants to talk about. Edgy art and jokes are society's safety valve.

This is why during times of monarchy there was a jester on king's court in my country. A “fool” (who was very often a smart man) that could say some things nobody would dare to say. King didn't have to listen to him, but sometimes this “fool wearing silly costume” had some interesting things to say from a position of a man who doesn't have to care about offending someone, because his job was to cause offence.

Without a clown we risk that some problems will be ignored until the moment when nothing can be done about them and everything crashes.
lothar at 5:22AM, Sept. 7, 2021
posts: 1,740
joined: 1-3-2006

this whole cancel culure thing is just gonna lead to massive amounts of hubris .
theres another word im trying to remember but i cant put my tongue on it
Ironscarf at 6:29PM, Sept. 7, 2021
posts: 1,911
joined: 9-9-2008
Genejoke at 10:02PM, Sept. 7, 2021
posts: 4,207
joined: 4-9-2010
Hmmm, I think about it to a degree but I agree with the common sentiment many people are too easily offended. Or in many cases people are offended for other people taking some half baked moral high ground while being obnoxious. As has been said there's a fine line between being humorous and being offensive and for me, like bravo said it's often when it comes to belittling and being deliberately mean offensive.

One consideration I have is the difference between the views of the character and author. In blood and water I have a bit where a character uses a racial slur, I could have cut it and it wouldn't have made any significant difference to the overall story. I kept it as I wanted to show the difference in attitudes of the time period. To counter it I had another character be dismissive of the character and comments. Context is king I suppose.

ArrenMcStealsalot at 1:17AM, Sept. 8, 2021
posts: 41
joined: 8-24-2021
There's nothing wrong about having racist or sexist character in a story. If your character uses some slurs, it only tells me that this character is racist and doesn't automatically make the creator racist. Like you said, Genejoke, context is king. When you have many characters in your story, it's obvious that they should have differrent views, not always politically correct. Otherwise we're going to end up with dull clones who have nothing interesting to say.

Unfortunately we have this easily offended types who scream how even mentioning some word in a story is bad. Same goes for something I personally experienced, which outrage caused comics showing nudity and sex. They are M or A rated, so please don't scream “we need to think about the children” at me. If someobody clicks on adult comic and complains that there's adult content inside, it only tells me that this person has some kind of problem and I shouldn't treat this voice seriously.

Sadly, we seem to live in an age when many people, often those who aren't creative and have nothing else to do, just want to scream at something to get few social points. And they often wear “I care about X” as a shield to avoid any criticism.

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