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After comedian George Carlin‘s death, a number of political cartoonists wanted to pay their respects.

Take a look at some of these cartoons and see if you can spot a pattern:






So what do they all have in common?

They show Carlin in Heaven or Hell — places Carlin didn’t even believe existed.

One cartoonist, Daryl Cagle, posed an excellent question to the various artists who depicted Carlin this way:

… Carlin was a very vocal atheist and the question sometimes comes up about what the cartoonist has in mind by drawing a memorial cartoon featuring dead celebrity in a religious scene from a religion the celebrity didn’t choose…

Does the cartoonist’s religious view trump the celebrity’s religion in an obituary cartoon?…

The responses are really interesting:

From Steve Benson:

… Atheist Carlin (assuming he ended up in “heaven’ which, of course, he did not because there is no such place as the Pearly Gates) would have had a great time shakin’ up the joint — and hopefully St. Pete would have appreciated the show.

In cartooning, an artist’s religious or non-religious views often make their way into their artistic commentary in clear, iconoclastic and sarcastic ways — and at the end of that process, the inkslinger’s view trumps everything.

Myself, I am — like Carlin was — an atheist…

From Steve Nease:

…I am not in the least religious, but I often do obit cartoons on famous people using the “pearly gates” setting.

It’s not that I actually believe in such a scenario, but, much like other metaphors and symbols we cartoonists use, it immediately puts the reader in touch with the situation, regardless of their religious beliefs. George Carlin’s personal views on religion never entered into it for me…

Cagle also offers a personal anecdote:

When I was on my recent speaking tour of China, I showed a bunch of Pearly gate cartoons (I’ve drawn my share of Pearly Gates cartoons, too). Often a question would come form the audience, “Are you a Christian?” I would reply, “I’m not much of anything.” And the questioner would reply, “No, no, I think you are a Christian.” – Daryl

Matt Bors is right: this cartoon by Kevin Moore seems to “understand” Carlin the best 🙂

(via Bors Blog)

[tags]atheist, atheism[/tags]