Riffing on the Molton “Pigdemic” cartoon controversy

In today’s issue, two Mountain Xpress contributors — the Asheville Disclaimer parody news and cartoonist Brent Brown — riff on the controversy over one of the most discussed and debated recent items to appear in the publication: Randy Molton’s May 6 “Pigdemic” cartoon.

Readers sounded off about the cartoon, which many deemed an offense against mountain culture for intimating that a mountain resident had sexual intercourse with livestock (specifically, a pig), in lengthy online discussions here, here and here.

Perhaps the discussion will take even more new directions, given the follow-up pieces by Brown (click here to see his cartoon) and the Disclaimer folks (click here for their bit).

Jon Elliston, managing editor

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About Jon Elliston
An Asheville-based mountain journalist: Former Mountain Xpress managing editor. Investigations and open government editor at Carolina Public Press. Senior contributing editor at WNC magazine.

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4 thoughts on “Riffing on the Molton “Pigdemic” cartoon controversy

  1. Susannah G

    As a 7th generation Appalachian, I can say that the thing that offends me most about this controversy is the idea that I am a fragile oppressed minority in need of special protection. I wonder how many of the well meaning individuals who would protect my honor actually came from here or understand the culture. One of the greatest qualities of Southern Appalachian culture is the combination of humor and humility that allows us to laugh at ourselves freely. We as a people are more than strong enough to shrug off yet another silly cartoon.

    One thing I have observed in life is that ignorance does not have regional boundaries, and that perversion is universal. I can laugh at the idea of an Appalachian having relations with a pig, because I fully believe that northern farmers have done the same thing- in fact I believe bestiality has historically existed wherever beasts mix with man. Perhaps I have an unusual perspective on this, but really it’s only an extension of the well known internet “rule 34” which states “If it exists, there is porn of it”.

    In the weeks before this cartoon was printed I saw several online posts that insinuated the same thing about Hispanics and livestock, but of course that slipped under the local radar and was forgotten, and perhaps that was best. The most useful response to insult is to ignore it, rise above it, and move on- think how many more people have seen this cartoon now that there has been an outcry- if there had been no controversy it would have been forgotten in a day. How many more people have heard the phrase “nappy headed ho” because of controversy in the media, versus the number of people who would actually have listened to Don Imus’ radio program in the first place?

    I don’t believe that political correctness or sterilization of language has done anything whatsoever to help the groups it tries to protect, if anything it perpetuates the idea that some people will always be different and in need of special protection- in short PC speech control perpetuates the very stereotypes it claims to prevent, as well as focusing a spotlight on people’s individual pains, hurt that would best be forgotten and moved away from.

  2. Carl Crowder

    I remember a bit the Disclaimer did on women in business about a year or so ago. There was quite a stir as feminists objected. The Disclaimer sheepishly discontinued and appeared to be completely chastised. Personally, I don’t think this cartoon is insulting to local folks.

    But instead of the knee-jerk liberal decision to make fun of Dr Mumpower, it would’ve been cooler, and much more rebelulous to put in a prominent democrat. How about Judge Shirley Brown? She thinks of herself as a god of sorts and is the perfect foil for an ego deflating joke.

  3. Betty Cloer Wallace

    Susannah G wrote: ” The most useful response to insult is to ignore it (Pigdemic cartoon), rise above it, and move on- think how many more people have seen this cartoon now that there has been an outcry- if there had been no controversy it would have been forgotten in a day. How many more people have heard the phrase “nappy headed ho” because of controversy in the media, versus the number of people who would actually have listened to Don Imus’ radio program in the first place?”

    Remember, Susannah, that Imus was fired for making that “nappy headed ho” comment, and he will certainly not be so blatantly racist in such a manner again. It will happen again, of course, but his firing did dampen the racism coming out of many mouths. Same thing with Kramer’s racist language in the LA comedy club. Same thing with the closing of the old Sambo’s Pancake Houses.

    Southern Appalachian people have tried to overlook blatant cultural stereotypes for over a century to no avail. Trying to ignore the insult and taking a “step-n-fetchit” response has reinforced it and perpetuated it in the minds of so many people that they think it is all right to continue the insult.

    Simply ignoring it and allowing it to continue in such a blatant manner is an awful legacy of submission to leave to our children and grandchildren.

  4. Al Cottingham

    Betty, I hear your point. But aren’t we joining the “victim” parade here? You know, the liberal victimization whining show. To fix it, just put up a fence on the Mason-Dixon line and don’t let any more yankees in. And if you think about it, having a “red” neck comes from working hard out in the sun. Pasty-faced yankee big city people are too lazy to work and just look for ways to leech off the rest of us through welfare. And if these yankee transplants think their home places are so special, why did they move here in the first place? And I don’t see anybody moving to the NE states or Chicago. Nuf said. The South rules!

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