Excuse me, are you listening? 8-23
Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Dear Ms. Risper,

I would like to add my voice to the (no doubt by now) rising number of readers who took note of your placement of the cartoon “Raising Hector” directly beneath the interview with Rihanna concerning domestic abuse by her boyfriend (Chris Brown).

The cartoon depicts a female severely abusing a male spouse, and appears to treat this as amusing.  It would have been more suitable to delete “Hector” from this issue because of its content.

Or it is possible, it was included to portray how violence against men is still not treated a problem in society? - although it is certainly less common than male-on-female offenses it nonetheless exists in significant numbers.

And if you think WOMEN are reluctant to come forth, social stigma magnifies this reluctance exponentially for men.  It is hard to handle on a reasonable estimate of the rate with which men are abused physically.  Frequently, shelters and other programs to help them are not available.

It was inappropriate to place this comic strip in your paper, with the intent of being humorous treatment.  Putting it directly beneath the Rihanna article is just plain stupid.

P. S. I am also enclosing an article (Lansing State Journal) about PATS, a program to rehabilitate abusers, which is available to Lansing readers, other in area.

Janice Lien
Eaton Rapids, MI

Ms. Lien,

Thank you for your editorial.  I always appreciate all comments when it comes to The New Citizens Press.  Regarding domestic violence gender should not matter at all, in that you are correct.  As to your comment about our “stupid” decision to place the “Raising Hector” column on the same page is something that we could disagree about.  Our goal at TNCP is to open dialogue about what is occurring in our society.  To have story and the cartoon on the same page was not intentional, however, very often the story on the top front page story is usually continued on Page 4 where are comics and puzzles have been since their arrival. The comics vary and they are placed on file months prior to any recent story.  In this edition, we have featured “Broom Hilda” which has been set for this edition for months.

There has been plenty of controversy surrounding what is correct and not correct in our society when it comes to the media. 

Some also say the Rihanna video to her recently released song “Russian Roulette” is irresponsible.   The recently released album cover has a picture of Rhianna with tightly wound barb wire around her body.   The video is full of daring and dark imagery.  It is controversial due to its theme of suicide and it is very disturbingly portrayed in the video.   The cover of the new album is equally dark.  We would prefer not to pass judgment on Rhianna  just as we will not pass judgment on Mr. Ramirez for his creative content. 

Your email brings many other instances to mind when it comes to creative license which I have also discussed in the “Excuse me, are you listening column?” on Page 2.

Mr. Peter Ramirez who is the creator of the comic used his experiences to illustrate the comic strip.  We print cartoons and articles to create a conversation, which this issue has for you and possibly others who made the same determination that you did.  Below I have given you information on Peter Ramirez who is the cartoonist, who frequently printed in TNCP.

Below is a copy of Peter Ramirez's biography:

Raised in the tough & violent streets of New York City, Peter turned to comic strips and comic books as a way of dealing with the harsh realities of urban living. Peter soon discovered the almost healing like powers of humor and comic art.

He became the first in his family's history to attend and graduate from college and while there continued his pursuit of cartooning as he became the school magazine's in-house cartoonist and illustrator. It was during his final year in college that he sought out a mentor to train him in the world of comic art. To his luck he found two mentors: Bill & Bunny Hoest - creator of the syndicated comic strip THE LOCKHORNS. Peter tutored under their guidance for 6 years until Bill & Bunny said he was ready.

During that time right after college, Peter found himself homeless, not being able to return to his mother's apartment due to a fire. Peter found shelter sleeping on the floors of college friend's dorm rooms for several months until he was finally able to return home. Unfortunately, that same fire made it impossible for him to get a job in his chosen field because of the damage caused to his portfolio.

Knowing he needed to work, Peter became a New York City Police Officer in the winter of 1986. After several years of hazardous duty on patrol in the Bronx, New York, he garnered several medals for excellent and meritorious police duty - Peter was accepted in the department's Tactical Narcotics Team of the Organized Crime Control Bureau where he worked opening Buy & Bust operations as a Narcotics Investigator. It was during one of those Buy & Bust street operations in the spring of 1991 when Peter was injured in the Line of Duty while affecting the arrest of a drug dealer.

If any of our readers has an issue with any of the “Raising Hector” cartoons, write or email him directly at raisinghector@optonline.net  or  creator@raisinghector.com or write Mr. Ramirez directly at  52 Peachtree Court,  Holtsville, NY 11742.

I truly appreciate having the opportunity to respond.


Rina Risper
President & Publisher


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