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Harel should have seen it coming

by admin October 7, 2009

Harel should have seen it coming

by Archives October 6, 2009

The Vision Montreal mayoral candidate and former PQ minister, Louise Harel, was already unpopular with Montreal anglophones when she kicked off her campaign in August, by waving a broom and promising to sweep corruption out of city hall.
Terry Mosher, the well-known editorial cartoonist for the Montreal Gazette, saw the connection immediately. Throughout September, Mosher, better known under his pen name of Aislin, started drawing her as a witch 8212; complete with green skin, a black pointy hat and, of course, her magic broom.
“I’d been looking for an angle on Louise Harel, because Tremblay seemed to be in trouble,” Mosher said. “So it looked like one of the most interesting campaigns in recent years. Harel, I knew she had problems with the English, so I knew I would get a visceral reaction if I drew her as a witch.”
It did draw a visceral reaction. Even Harel, in her interview with CJAD radio in Montreal, acknowledged it as a sign of the difficulty she’s had winning over English voters. Letters began pouring into the Gazette in response to Mosher’s depiction. Some readers expressed their delight at the editorial cartoons, but others accused Mosher of misogyny.
“It’s an old kind of approach from the male side,” said Beryl Watson, of Westmount, who wrote a letter to the newspaper criticizing the artist. “If a woman does anything, she’s called a witch, or something that’s spelled a lot like witch. [Mosher]’s supposed to be a top notch cartoonist with a fine sense of wit. I just feel he could use his brain better than that.”
Mosher denied any suggestion of prejudice, and said the entire point of his cartoons is to get people discussing an issue.
“There’s a couple of entitled women in Westmount who are saying, ‘how can I do this to women?’ But I do it to men as well. Come on, it’s a cartoon. This is satire and it’s cartooning. It has served its purpose. Rather than it being a dreary election campaign, suddenly personalities are evolving and people are talking about it.”
Mosher’s version of Harel has also drawn fire from an unlikely source: real life witches and Wiccans who accused him of misrepresentation.
“Some of his art carries a meaningful, if sarcastic, message,” said T. Scarlet Jory, a teacher at the Crescent Moon School of Magic and Paganism. “And sometimes it is like listening to some child trying to speak a language they don’t know at all and coming across speaking complete gibberish. This image is very much gibberish symbols to me. Aislin should do some research into the symbols and social meanings of them for the current era before using them.”
However, in the what may be a sign her image with Anglophones is in trouble, not even all witches sided with Harel.
“Doesn’t bother me at all. I think if you’re going to go with evil stereotypes, I would have drawn her in a white sheet,” said Carrie Rice-Leroux, of the West Island Pagans Association.

The Vision Montreal mayoral candidate and former PQ minister, Louise Harel, was already unpopular with Montreal anglophones when she kicked off her campaign in August, by waving a broom and promising to sweep corruption out of city hall.
Terry Mosher, the well-known editorial cartoonist for the Montreal Gazette, saw the connection immediately. Throughout September, Mosher, better known under his pen name of Aislin, started drawing her as a witch – complete with green skin, a black pointy hat and, of course, her magic broom.
“I’d been looking for an angle on Louise Harel, because Tremblay seemed to be in trouble,” Mosher said. “So it looked like one of the most interesting campaigns in recent years. Harel, I knew she had problems with the English, so I knew I would get a visceral reaction if I drew her as a witch.”
It did draw a visceral reaction. Even Harel, in her interview with CJAD radio in Montreal, acknowledged it as a sign of the difficulty she’s had winning over English voters. Letters began pouring into the Gazette in response to Mosher’s depiction. Some readers expressed their delight at the editorial cartoons, but others accused Mosher of misogyny.
“It’s an old kind of approach from the male side,” said Beryl Watson, of Westmount, who wrote a letter to the newspaper criticizing the artist. “If a woman does anything, she’s called a witch, or something that’s spelled a lot like witch. [Mosher]’s supposed to be a top notch cartoonist with a fine sense of wit. I just feel he could use his brain better than that.”
Mosher denied any suggestion of prejudice, and said the entire point of his cartoons is to get people discussing an issue.
“There’s a couple of entitled women in Westmount who are saying, ‘how can I do this to women?’ But I do it to men as well. Come on, it’s a cartoon. This is satire and it’s cartooning. It has served its purpose. Rather than it being a dreary election campaign, suddenly personalities are evolving and people are talking about it.”
Mosher’s version of Harel has also drawn fire from an unlikely source: real life witches and Wiccans who accused him of misrepresentation.
“Some of his art carries a meaningful, if sarcastic, message,” said T. Scarlet Jory, a teacher at the Crescent Moon School of Magic and Paganism. “And sometimes it is like listening to some child trying to speak a language they don’t know at all and coming across speaking complete gibberish. This image is very much gibberish symbols to me. Aislin should do some research into the symbols and social meanings of them for the current era before using them.”
However, in the what may be a sign her image with Anglophones is in trouble, not even all witches sided with Harel.
“Doesn’t bother me at all. I think if you’re going to go with evil stereotypes, I would have drawn her in a white sheet,” said Carrie Rice-Leroux, of the West Island Pagans Association.

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