When we first started working on the Googly Gooeys almost 5 years ago, I really made sure that our identities were concealed. I was explaining to a fellow designer a couple of weeks ago that when we started, with the fear of being judged, as much as possible, I tried to make our comics look nationless. Any reference to food (except for one that slipped in the early days of the comics) were all desserts so it’s universal. We also tried working on topics that mostly didn’t have to refer to a particular culture. It was about us but we always kept it light.
I even made a conscious effort to have people think that Ponggo was the one running the site. Thus our e-mail address to date is still ponggo(at)GooglyGooeys(dot)com. I always wanted people to guess how we went about our online routine. Shame on me for someone who drives by herself, works for herself and claims to be a feminist when I always thought it was more acceptable if a guy drew funny thing. I didn’t want to reveal myself until the latter years when I stopped wanting to receive questions as to who does the comics.
In 2012, when I heard about a satirical magazine being condemned for their Muhammad cartoons, the more I made an effort to make everything in the blog neutral. I could just imagine the horror of being bashed online. We even tried to stay away from making our own political stand saying that our blog is too happy to meddle with such affairs. If we ever got involved with national news, we tried limiting it to natural disasters.
We also found that our personal political opinions are always not shared by the majority anyway. For example, we’re pro-price hikes especially if it’s long overdue and if systems have long been unnecessarily subsidized by the government. We’re also against impossible demands in increases if it will just hasten inflation and will hurt the country in the long run.
Anyway, we tried to play it safe until it got stale for both of us. Then, this year, I told Ponggo that I should make it more personal and vocal which is the reason why I started writing things like Finding Your Own Art Style in the hopes of voicing out how I truly felt about the local art scene and I recently started my blog post with lines like, “But as much as I’d like to edit my thoughts, I can only write from my eyes & heart” in an effort to stop editing myself.
Today, I woke up early and found a number of photos tagged Charlie Hebdo and Je Suis Charlie (translation: I am Charlie) on social networking sites. I eventually learned that 12 employees of Charlie Hebdo, a French satirical magazine and the same one responsible for sparking protests in the Middle East three years ago were shot dead in their office in Paris. Amongst them were the brave cartoonists and the magazine editor himself.
Above: 12 pens & brushes for all those who died in the Charlie Hebdo shooting incident in Paris.
So I was feeling a bit pensive this morning. Charlie Hebdo kept on coming up with controversial satirical cartoons in the efforts to protect the freedom of expression and here I was tip-toeing my way through the web comic & blogging scene in the hopes of playing it safe and hoping not to awaken herds of protesters.
So, what does it mean for the Googly Gooeys? Things don’t change overnight and this blog will not shift into a political one starting tomorrow but the Charlie Hebdo incident is definitely a good reminder for me to braver not just with my thoughts but with any decision in I choose in my life.
May the victims of the shooting incident rest in peace.