November 24, 2014

Commentary | January 20, 2014
Weak-willed and ironic
LETTER
Written by Isaiah King

Dear Daily,

I am writing to express my disappointment in The McGill Daily for not running images of my artwork alongside an interview with me (“Getting graphic,” Culture, January 9, page 17). I was informed this was due to the religious content of my work. I see this as a weak-willed editorial decision.

Louis Denizet’s thoughtful interview was undermined by this shameful outcome. Cowardly editorial choices are unfortunate in all arenas, but when they occur within the context of a learning institution (one of Canada’s most respected educational establishments, no less) it is particularly egregious.

The irony of your decision is of course glaring and comedic. The Daily chose not to run a potentially controversial image alongside an interview that discusses art, activism, opinion, personal expression, and public discourse.

I am curious who precisely you were hoping to protect by taking this course of action? Do you believe that the McGill community lacks the intellectual capacity to handle art containing religious imagery in the context of an article subtitled “Graphic designer Isaiah King on art and activism?”

I feel that small individual acts of censorship are ultimately more corrosive than overt censorship from large organizations such as governments, corporations, or religious institutions. When a private citizen (especially an editor working in the news media) makes choices that are consciously contrary to expression, dialogue, and freedom of speech, that is when censorship has truly entered our day-to-day lives.

The punchline to this whole episode is that you thought it better to create your own artwork to appear alongside the article, rather than display art by the interviewee. By doing so, you have demonstrated a unique and bizarre logic and successfully run an interview with one artist while prominently featuring the work of another.

Yours truly in disappointment,

—Isaiah King

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