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Not just lines

V.C. Rogers' assertion that his cartoons are "just lines" and "not blasphemous or indecent or anything else unless you want [them] to be" (Peripheral Visions, Feb. 8) is disingenuous at best. We do not live in a deconstructionist society: Pictures, words and actions do have meaning. If Mr. Rogers does not create his cartoons with intent for a shared understanding of their meaning--if they are indeed "just lines"--why does he bother drawing weekly political cartoons? (For that matter, why bother publishing a newspaper? Are the letters forming the words on these pages "just lines" as well?)

If my son drew a picture of a fist with its middle finger raised for his grandparents, would I praise his work as a lovely configuration of "just lines"? Of course not. I want my son to learn that he is responsible for his actions--drawings, words and physical actions all--for the intent and meaning that they have, and for the effect they have on other people. That is, I want him to have integrity.

Should Mr. Rogers and my son be able to draw, write or publish whatever they want? Yes. But in a civil society, freedom comes with responsibility. We must carefully consider the meaning of our words and actions, and we must be accountable for their effect on others, be they Muslim, atheist or Quaker like me.

Jen Wichman


Mardi Gras on the Eno

We in Hillsborough agree that this year, more than ever, people should come together to celebrate the rich southern-Louisiana mix of music, food and camaraderie ("Throw us something, America," Feb. 8). On Feb. 24, we'll have our inaugural Mardi Gras festival.

john delconte

hillsborough arts council

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