In his acceptance speech for the George Polk Career Award, the cartoonist made provocative remarks about satire and the responsibility free speech confers.
Ridiculing the non-privileged is almost never funny—it’s just mean.
What free speech absolutists have failed to acknowledge is that because one has the right to offend a group does not mean that one must. Or that that group gives up the right to be outraged. They’re allowed to feel pain. Freedom should always be discussed within the context of responsibility. At some point free expression absolutism becomes childish and unserious. It becomes its own kind of fanaticism.
It’s not easy figuring out where the red line is for satire anymore. But it’s always worth asking this question: Is anyone, anyone at all, laughing? If not, maybe you crossed it.
Source: The Abuse of Satire – The Atlantic by Garry Trudeau, American cartoonist best known for Doonesbury, his Pulitzer Prize-winning comic strip