Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Comics and Tom Harris

We posted yesterday about the story of the new course in comics at Dundee University, and also reported the ignorant comments by the Labour politician Tom Harris.

Well, last night we posted a link to the blog on Twitter, and this started an interesting exchange with Mr Harris which started with this (rather cheeky it must be said!) suggestion from us:

Wonder if  has read V for Vendetta? It doesn't defend tax evasion, but there might be a message in there for a politician

(Yes, by the way, Mr Harris spoke out if favour of companies like Vodaphone who are blatantly avoiding paying tax in the UK)

He replied with:

 Not only have I read it - I read it when it was first published in Warrior. And I still have the issues.

And we said:

 good for you. If you like, we could ask David Lloyd to respond to your opinions on comics as education?

And his bizarre reply was:

 You do realise I was talking about comics, not advocating child slavery?

The exchange finished with our tweet:

 yes, & I know a strawman when I see one. I thought you were dismissing education in the subject as a joke-perhaps I am wrong...

Mr Harris did not reply to this to either confirm or deny his opinions on the educational power of comics.

Now... there are a few things very wrong with Mr Harris's responses.
Firstly- 'child slavery'? Where exactly did this come from? It's almost like, I dunno, he was throwing something ridiculous into the mix in an attempt to derail the subject... but surely he would not do something as crass and obvious as that, would he?
Certainly, when we ignored this and asked him about education he came back with a full and proper answer... oh wait- he didn't. Sorry, my mistake. He didn't respond to the question at all.

The other is the V for Vendetta thing- now I'm sure most of you have read it or watched the movie, so you'll know the politics of it- and it seems that, when watching the behaviour of Mr Harris and the arrogance he displays in his 'answers' that old V was not too far of being correct in his opinions...
And apart from that, the supreme irony is, of course, that V co-creator David Lloyd is a passionate advocate of comics in education- check out Cartoon Classroom to see what we mean.

All in all it is amazingly disappointing to see someone who is supposed to be a public servant - a Scottish public servant-denigrating the study of something that has made Scotland, and Dundee in particular, world famous.

We'd like to take this opportunity  to invite Mr Harris to the next Hi-Ex convention in Inverness, and perhaps he can sit in on a few classes and see just how educational comics can be.



    - a slightly less ignorant response to studying comics I hope! :)

  2. Indeed it is! Nice piece, thanks for linking it here!