Grégoire Among the Ruins: an apologia about my lack of creativity, and more Gregs

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It is a truth universally acknowledged (according to moi), that all intentions, no matter how good, pure, or sincere, mostly and inevitably get tarnished and eventually chucked. This, at any rate, applies to me: there I was, secure in my own supercilious pomposity, intent on writing and posting exactly how much I wanted to. After all, isn’t time simply what one makes of it. Four essays, piles of translations, and a few panic attacks later, I humbly concede that I am absolutely rubbish at managing my own personal time, and thus it is unlikely that I’ll even be able to produce on critical review per month. Mon Dieu. With a humility that is uncharacteristically French (haha), I present to his adoring fans five more pieces from the Grégoire the Grizzly Comics. Please enjoy. It’ll make me feel marginally less bad about being such an appalling time manager.

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26. I am very melodramatic. I am also very good at making a mountain out of a molehill. It is reasonably fair to say that I overreact. In light of this, I decided to make my little creation as ridiculous as me. And, seeing as he is French, and a great aficionado of all things over-the-top and frilly, what better guise could I put him in, than a musketeer’s outfit? The Riot Club mention was merely a throwaway comment to commemorate the awkwardness and stiltedness of the entire film.

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27. If it wasn’t already apparent from the previous pictures, I have a great interest in Art and Fashion through the ages. This Greg was partially inspired by the Princess in Braveheart. Despite the lack of historical accuracy in the epic itself, I thought that the film was a nice tribute to epic cinematography in general, and especially liked the costume and the soundtrack. This Greg is an attempt to commemorate this.

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28. My good friend J is an awful hack. Truly awful. He was also absolutely insistent on getting a Greg, as he feels ‘he is a little bit of a big deal’ (really now J?). This Greg encapsulates all that is J, and, despite grumbling, secretly, he very much loves the tongue-in-cheek nature of the comic.

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29. My college mother L is a Japanologist (as you can probably tell from the Greg). I wanted to thank her for her amazing parental skills (she gave me cookies!), so I drew her this Greg. She approves, she definitely approves 🙂

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30. My friend P is absolutely mad. He is obsessed (and I really mean obsessed) with lingusitics and languages, so much so that sarcasm etc goes completely over his head. His enthusiasm was infectious, and so I gave him a Greg comic as a wry tribute and satirical take on his all-consuming passions. Surprisingly, he quite liked it, and said “it was quite accurate” (you don’t say). Watch out for an upcoming review soon, and new installments of Greg next month! I only have seven slots left until I finish off the entire series, and whilst I am excited about the prospect of finishing off a project on such a successful high, I am also sad that the end is drawing near. Oh well, there’s always time for future projects! Best wishes, Hectorella and Grégoire.

Thoughts on a 21st Century Tragedy

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Trigger Warning: Racism, Freedom of Press, Religious Discrimination.

Though I promised that I would never lower the tone of this blog through the posting of any irrelevant or egotistical musings, as a journalist and wannabe cartoonist, I feel it is almost a duty to  do this for those who choose to listen my thoughts on the tragedy that is the Charlie Hebdo Shootings. In doing this, I hope to do honour to the journalists who died yesterday, and also show my stance – how, though the thoughts and opinions expressed by others may be distasteful, bigoted, or outright outrageous, expressed they must be, and expressed they shall be; I occasionally deplore the intelligence of Man, yet I feel we have very little to look forward to as a species if we cannot even trust the intelligence of our fellow man enough to know what is and isn’t a disgusting opinion.

So, in writing this article, I know I am breaking my own cardinal rule of keeping Greeneland Revisited purely for book reviews and (occasional spurts of) creativity. However, Greeneland Revisited, and the opinions it expresses, only exists because of la liberté d’expression (or freedom of speech) is a fundamental right, or should be such in a Utopian world.

I am also recycling an old Grégoire sketch of mine, one which was done with a happy mind and a mischievous mood – in choosing to write antonyms on Gregoire’s Les Misérables banner, a mockery of the fervour and fanaticism that has often been the reception for the classic musical, I didn’t realise that I was reflecting the thoughts of many people in France at the moment, morbid and self-centred though it may sound. I hope you enjoy the sketch, even if the experience is somewhat bittersweet and (for those of you who’ve seen it before) boring.

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I by no means want to be one of those teenage hipsters who jump onto a political bandwagon, espousing values of liberalism and sentiments of horror over the recent events in Paris, but, as a French nationale who identifies as a devout Roman Catholic, and who also identifies as a minority race (as my mother is from Hong Kong), I feel this has to be said. I’m sure many others of my ilk shall express the same sentiments as me.

I don’t think anyone who’s alive and breathing and/or active on social media could possibly be unaware of the horrific events that occurred yesterday in Paris. That such an event should occur only a day after the optimistic and festive Epiphany festival strikes my morbid and somewhat overactive imagination as well. My condolences go to the friends, family, and any other people who may have been severely affected by such a catastrophe. The sheer violence and horror of the occurrence made my blood go cold when I heard it, and I immediately felt at one with all the protesters and mourners all over Europe who gathered together to remember the dead. Though nationalism can be divisive and ultimately destructive, I don’t think I’ve ever felt more French – or sadder at a public disaster – than I did at that moment, embarrassing though the sentiment may be. And I certainly condemn any actions of violence that is done in the name of anything whatsoever, be it Religion, or money, or for the ‘lolz’.

I am also sad that the expression of one’s opinions and beliefs, no matter how distasteful, should have resulted in tragedy. As an amateur cartoonist and satirist myself, I have seen fit through my Gregoire Le Souflurre comics (which, in a sad twist of fate, was a French bear meant to represent the freedom with which the French supposedly expressed themselves, as the Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité motto implied, or at least suggested), both to mock myself, my circle of friends, and the environment I live in, from the insular issues such as the pettiness of college rivalries, to the more major problems stemming from perpetuated rape culture and trans-hate. It sounds silly, but I use my Gregoires as an expression of my creativity (what little of it there is), and of my sarcasm, a tool which, though may be the lowest form of wit, is also an extremely useful way of expressing disgust or resignation over certain situations and events. It pains me that others, like myself (how egotistical of me!) should pay the price for that freedom of expression, and for the inclination to express what they believe.

However, this doesn’t make the current backlash right. I don’t care whether the shooting was barbaric or violent (though it was), and I don’t care who did it, or for what reason. The core point that should be remembered is that innocent blood has been shed, and freedom of speech has been violated through that. Blaming a particular race, or religion for the crimes of a very small minority is counter-productive, and will only serve to worsen the situation and continue the vicious cycle of mistrust and racism. I, as a Catholic, am frankly outraged that there are people who are using this as an excuse to commit hate crimes against institutions of religion, as well as against people of certain racial and religious denominations. I may be bad at arithmetic, and also a bit cliched, but, in all honesty, two wrongs do not make something right.

So please, mourn the dead, and deplore the logic that resulted in such a catastrophe. But, if we really want this world to be liberal, open-minded, and multiculturalist in nature (and I mean truly liberal), please be a little more considerate in the thoughts expressed in reaction to this event. Not, to be fair, that I’m condemning anyone on here, but I just needed to have the whinge. Thank you. I apologise if any of the sentiments that I have expressed has been in any way distasteful.

Hectorella, Creator of Grégoire.