Here in Summerside, PEI, we occasionally have hard rock concerts at a local youth club called "Generation XX". A talented guy named Tyler Landry usually does the posters, which have become somewhat legendary around here. One of the local bands is named Jesus Who? and Landry usually draws Jesus Christ in a humorous, though sometimes sarcastic, situation. For example, once Christ was wearing a sandwich board which read "will heal for food". Speaking for myself, as a Christian and music lover, I have always found these drawings very amusing. However, a recent drawing caused quite a stir. Pictured here, it shows Jesus wearing a Dunce cap. Perhaps a bit of a slam on the concept of Christ, but itís obviously satire, not to be taken seriously. Unfortunately, some people arenít so tolerant. Again, this is totally unconfirmed and hearsay, but apparently, some woman felt this drawing attacked her Christianity, and, upon seeing the poster at a grocery store, tore it down, crumpled it up, threw it in a clerkís face and proceeded to scream and rant (with self-appointed authority) about the satanic overtones of the drawing, etc. The next day, the Summerside Police somehow felt they were in their right to go around town removing any copies of this poster they could find, and a replacement poster, which had the drawing replaced with blank space, was promptly distributed (Jesus Who? did not play the show advertised). No one seems to be able to tell me what was illegal about the poster, and how the police had the right to remove it from the public view.
It was far from over at this point, for one of the members of the band decided to make a little flyer explaining the poster and what the police did, and posted it on bulletin boards and walls at his school, in the name of fighting censorship. Of course, these posters were promptly removed by teachers, and the student was almost suspended (another student had recently been suspended, apparantly for publishing an article on a band with a song called "Kill the Fuckiní Principal").
Itís bad enough that certain religious types seem to think they have the right to dictate what lyrics can be heard on the radio, what books kids can read in school, and what weíre allowed to see on TV, but now they are deciding whatís humorous and whatís blasphemous. If someone is offended by the site of Jesus in a dunce cap, itís their right to be offended, but it is not hateful, it does not incite violence, it is not racist, sexist, or satanic (although Iím sure Satan had a little giggle about it), and as far as I can tell, there is nothing illegal about it. I did not ask the police for comments or explanations for fear that they would come down on me and somehow prevent or limit the printing of this zine. Some may say that they wouldnít be able to do that, but they already took action on the poster, whoís to say whatís next?
So, religious fanatics, police, and teachers have decided to do our thinking for us, as usual. What can we do about it? For starters, continue to distribute your own pamphlets and posters revealing these injustices among your peers as much as you can. Research whatever laws apply, and, when you can, resist anyone attempting to enforce non-existent laws. This may or may not be over... Jesus Who? is still a band as of this printing, and still playing gigs at GenXX, but the most recent poster had no picture, just the band logo. Iíll keep you posted.