In a statement with his name and ID number dated 19 July, which was published on his official website and later disseminated on his social networks(1)(2), the 86-year-old cartoonist made it clear that the images of his popular character “Mafalda” with the blue scarf of the movements against legal abortion in Argentina are neither his authorship nor does he share the message they promote, and he qualifies it as such:
We inform that Quino did not declare himself in favour or against the legalisation of abortion. Only, always and explicitly in favour of women’s rights. Therefore, all the statements attributed to him on the networks in this regard are neither his own nor official.
In part, the trigger for the statement is a false message widely shared on the internet in which the author supposedly positions himself in favour of the opponents of the abortion law.
Photomontage with a fake message attributed to Quino spread on social networks.
Undoubtedly, one of the most popular characters on the internet is Mafalda. I think there are already more manipulated cartoons of Quino’s little girl than original ones on the internet.
There are people who believe that writing any nonsense about a Mafalda cartoon makes it something great and unquestionable. To do so, they don’t hesitate to change the texts for nonsense written with crappy and impossible fonts. They add all kinds of neochurrigueresque elements, multicoloured stickers, frames, logos and/or slogans, often with their corresponding spelling mistakes.
One of the much-touted is thisbut almost all of them are being dealt with. On Facebook, the torture-fest of Mafalda strips is particularly savage. Twitter also hosts a good amount of works that are the result of groping.
It’s not so difficult
Today it is no longer necessary to become a forensic image expert or a scholar of the artist’s work. It is enough to pay a little attention to basic details. Such as the resolution and quality of the images and to the added elements that squeak and move away from the author’s style.
Although it is customary on the internet, boosted by meme culture, to transform images, there is something that goes beyond this “natural” behaviour. When the works of such recognisable and popular authors end up being used to disseminate political or social messages of criticism with positioning that end up in the author’s mouth and understood as the opinion of someone “relevant”.
An exception should be made for this type of cartoons, as they are still the personal opinion of the person who signs them. I understand that the authors want to make it clear that they don’t share the messages of these crappy modifications, as they can end up, as is the case with the Pepe the Frog case, furie’s character, become the image of causes and ideas that they reject, do not share or repudiate. This is something that, sooner or later, ends up happening once upon a time to almost all authors.
Abortion in Argentina
The bill on the voluntary interruption of pregnancy regime, which allows the voluntary interruption of pregnancy up to 14 weeks, was approved on 14 June. It was approved with 129 votes in favour, 125 against and one abstention, after a 23-hour session in the Chamber of Deputies.
This bill for the legalisation of abortion is now in the Argentinean Senate. It will continue to be debated to determine whether it will become law.
On 8 August it will be voted on in the Senate, if approved, the bill will have to pass presidential sanction to be approved and become law. In the event that the Senate modifies any article, the bill would return to the Chamber of Deputies. If it is rejected, the whole process would restart in 2019.