To read or not to read.

I have given up reading PvP, for the most part. I haven’t liked to do so, but I have become troubled by something that cropped up twice this year. I’ve thought about it for a while and come to the conclusion that I won’t read PvP any longer. What has occurred twice are instances where Scott Kurtz wrote something that was intended to directly antagonise believers in orthodox Christianity. (That’s with a small “o”.) The first was his response on 02/15/05 to complaints he had received about having one of his characters use the Lord’s name in vain. You can find that here (you’ll need to scroll down to the post for that date since the link goes to the entire month of February). And the second was a similar situation except he responded in comic form on 06/28/05.

I’ve thought long and hard about whether or not to blog anything about these two instances and why they bothered me. I think the risk of misunderstanding is small as long as I take care to carefully explicate what exactly it is to which I object.

First, I do deplore the careless use of the Lord’s name merely as a way to emphasise one’s other words or as a throw-away exclamation. But if I were to try to avoid every single instance of that, I would have to walk around with my fingers in my ears and my eyes shut. It isn’t feasible to try and not ever read it or hear it. And since Scott Kurtz is not a Christian, I do not know him personally, nor do I have any professional contact with him, I think it might do more harm than good for me to chastise him for an offence he doesn’t understand. (As demonstrated by his response to those who have criticised him.) And because more than four months separated each incident, I think that he was legitimately ignorant of the offence he was to cause each time. That is why neither of those instances which preceded his intentional antagonism were sufficient to cause me to cease to read his comic.

“But mark the sequel, Jeeves.” After each strip wherein a character used the Lord’s name in vain, it seems Scott Kurtz received a large number of e-mails complaining about this. At this point, he had a multitude of options available to him. He could have apologised, he could have explained why he didn’t think it was a big deal, he could have ignored them and carried on as if he had not been criticised or any number of other actions or combinations thereof that would have defused the situation or kept things on a civil basis. But instead, each time he chose deliberately to further irritate those readers whose convictions he had already disturbed. In each case, he mockingly intimated that he had a divine revelation which gave him sanction for what he had done. Deliberate blasphemy, with full knowledge of the offence he was to cause, I cannot accept.

PvP is a funny comic. I enjoyed reading it every day. I regret that I can no longer, in good conscience, do so.

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