Civil Censorship.


Warning to my regular readers: This post is not funny or happy. It's a response to an unfortunate situation that I felt compelled to step into, as a matter of principle.

I had originally written this post in a fit of anger in response to the malicious and horrific harassment a fellow blogger and artist experienced as a result of two pieces of art she published on her blog, I Rock So What. The images were Native American themed, and it turns out that some in the Native American community found them offensive. After having a bit of time to reflect, I reconsidered my stance and rewrote this post.

My anger was not directed at the offended parties; rather, it was specifically due to their method of attack. Instead of calmly explaining why these images were offensive, and thus educating people who might not understand, they lashed out with threats of violence and harassed this young artist and her sponsors until she was forced to take her art down.

What purpose does that serve? Responding to ignorance with hate and censorship does nothing to educate. I'm not trying to say that her art is "right" or "wrong." My opinion is that it's her art; and she has a right to create in any way she chooses, especially on her own blog. I often see art that offends me in some way. But, art isn't reality; it's a creative vision, a dream of a person. If we try to censor all of our expressions in an effort to not offend anyone, then nothing will ever get created. Her artwork was not mean-spirited and it wasn't meant to be offensive. However, the same rights that should allow her to post her drawings on her blog also allow her detractors to compare her art to Nazi Germany.

Does this art offend you? If it does, I invite you to write a coherent, thoughtful response. I will post it here, with the pictures, which I am including here in the interest of free expression. This is what the artist herself has to say on the matter: Being Strong Armed.

The only way to progress is to create with wisdom.


  1. I definitely agree with your stance. Art is personal and should be able to express what an artist wants however they want - for goodness sake an artist once placed a cross in urine and while controversial, he still had it in a museum! But on the other hand, we have that thing called freedom of speech, but taking it to the point of harassment and contacting those who have no control over the content on a website is taking it a bit too far. Explain your anger, don't just rage on.

  2. This is interesting because the picture above seems to be a copy of model Thyland Loubry Blondeau, a french model who happens to be 10 years old who was featured in Vogue. The uproar over these photos was her age and racism wasn't part of the conversation that I was aware of. I'm less offended by the image and more offended that there's no attribution to the original photograph. I could be wrong, but I couldn't find any. If I'm wrong please accept my apologies.

  3., forgot to include the link! Just scroll down and you'll find the photo I'm referring to.

    1. Betty, thanks for the link. I was unaware of the original photograph, and since I wasn't part of the initial controversy on I Rock So What and she's since taken down the original page, I don't know if the artist cited where her inspiration came from. It's really common for artists to use photographs and the like as models for interpretive art; I don't think that's really a problem, but most artists will say where they got the idea originally if it's clearly an interpretation.

      Thanks again for the info. It's interesting that the original photo was also controversial, but for different reasons...

    2. Jess did cite the original model/photographer on her post with the drawing. :)

    3. just to let everyone know, the original post that i had with the drawing gave credit to the photograph.

  4. Maybe I'm just simple , but I don't see anything that would be offensive to anyone. I think people ( of all races and religions ) are over sensitive anymore and go looking for reaasons to be offended . Like that whole " Merry Christmas " , " happy holidays" controversy. Geez.... just let it be .

    Your Stalker :)

  5. I'm so glad that you posted this. I just barely started reading your blog, but I've been reading Jess' for a few months now at least and think all of this is just so ridiculous. I hate that we live in a world where the opinion of a handful of people is more important than thousands. Everytime she posted something about this whole thing on instagram or even her blog, she received comment after comment of support. It sucks that the overly-sensitive had to ruin it for the rest of us.


I'm not always great at replying to comments but I DO read every single one of them and I always reply in my head. So in my mind we've had this deep conversation about the meaning of life or whatever, and we're best friends, and we craft together on Sunday afternoons while drinking Mojitos and watching old Indiana Jones movies. So thank you for your comments. And now I want a mojito.

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