Sunday, March 12, 2006

"Muhammad and Me" Toons - Rediscussed

Bobby's blog has been receiving overwhelming comments from around the world towards his cartoons (see below). Here's a sample of thoughts I could contribute.

Images are intellectual property of Bobby Wheelock.

Describe Muhammad in this toon in your own words:

AIAI: I have many friends whose names start with “Muhammad”. Muhammad Ali, Muhammad Hassan etc. Muhammad in this toon is surely a Muslim guy, perhaps from Mid East as he has thick lips and eyebrows, perhaps still studying in high school, outgoing, a non racist, caring, loving.

BIBI: I agree with those traits, to add, I think he is portrayed as the follower. Everything his white friend does, he will follow. The sorrow face character may be drawn to illustrate pressure. Muhammad's way of doing things may denote his race is more backwards.

Do you think Muhammad in this toon denotes the Prophet? If not, why?


BIBI: I cannot be certain on his real intention to use the name Muhammad. I look at it as in a general name for Muslim. He is definitely portraying a white and a muslim in the picture. Muhammad is no 1 world most common name and I’ve many friends who has the name Muhammad .so automatically, I look at it as in a general name for of course , Bobby being the smart fellow, he is manipulating it in a lot of way especially after the cartoon controversy...strike while it is hot..I bet, years ago, he would have probably use "Me and Osama" instead of "Me and Muhammad".

AIAI: I agree with that!

Describe Bobby as a character in his own toons.

AIAI: Playful, sharing, loving

BIBI: Jovial.

Do you see evil in this cartoon, is it provocative?

AIAI: Absolutely not

BIBI: Not at all

What do you think this cartoon is intended for?

AIAI: Kids drawings are honest thoughts. Bobby’s, in this case,… it could be his real experience, it could be his way of studying religious and racial differences, it could be his portrayal of peace, what he wish the world could be, it could be just his understanding. I am curious where he is bringing it to and where the twist is.

BIBI: A psychology study to readers

What is your perception about the Muslim and the Christians, the two major races who makes comments in Muhammadandme.blogspot. You may break them down to more categories if you want.

AIAI: I used to perceive that Muslims are very emotional and easily jump when provoked. In the comment box, giving benefit of the doubt the commentor by the pseudonym "Prophet Muhammad lovers" are real, the majority of them are emotional. I am surprised the Christians are too when they are not the one at the moment under any religious oppression. Glad to see many who also studies the cartoons in utmost proximity and takes things positively.

BIBI: I am not sure if my answer relates but i think generally the commenter are focusing on the extreme side , how ..?? influence by the media. What i see is how they are have already had the hatred build in them and that is why they look at the picture negatively..

What are your spiritual backgrounds and race?

AIAI: A Muslim by birth. Was secular and hedonist, still is sometimes. Discovered the personality of my Prophet and our God at the age of 28. I speak about my religion only at the age of 30 but still not a completely pious person.
I am a Malay.

BIBI: Good question, you got me thinking hard there. I am a Chinese. I was born a Buddhist not a strong one, got lost half way into Christianity...and now still seeking. I had a Muslim boyfriend for donkey years and I would like to be buried the Buddhism way until further notice. I won’t be surprised I’d choose Catholic one day.

Any further comments about the cartoon from a person of your spiritual background?

AIAI: I don’t feel offended with the picture of Muhammad getting drunk. I think it goes to show everyone’s imperfect. Everyone’s perception is it is definitely a genious work of art that spurs debates. And what's wrong with Muhammad reading "3 Little Pigs" to Bobby which has the word piglets in it? It is just a story book.

Put being a Muslim aside, in a bigger perspective we forget that we are normal human beings who can’t stop ourselves from being succumbed to over indulgences and sins.

How can we deny that we do drink, utter profanities, behave insensitively towards other race and religion etc although every religion preaches good things.

My wild guess is Bobby is genuinely a white guy, yet the tagline mentions "Mecca."
The Muhammad and Me tagline explains itself, “On the way to Mecca, there are many stops.”
To me it serves a universal meaning, there are certainly a lot of challenges before anyone discovers themselves regardless our creed and colour.

BIBI: Probably he/she ( the cartoonist) is a lost but good soul like me ( hehee) still searching for the right destination. Whatever he is trying to tell in his artwork , one thing for sure , it is up to the viewers on how they want to look at it. I WISH everyone values the cartoons the way children do; with innocent thoughts.
My quote of the day : Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

AIAI: Hmmm... I hope the two horns on Muhammad's head doesn't carry double meaning, him standing like a cross when they are fitting their suits.... oh, oh, please erase this from my imaginations!!!

"A coward is incapable of exhibiting love; it is the prerogative of the brave".
-Mahatma Gandhi


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