On Katharine Hepburn and clueless editorial cartoonists.

In my meanderings around some of the blogs I don’t read on a daily basis I came across this entry at The Raving Atheist wherein he lists off a number of different editorial cartoons on the recent death of Katharine Hepburn similar to the one over there on the right from Henry Payne of The Detroit News. Quite a lot of the editorial cartoons marking Hepburn’s departure from the land of the living that day had a similar religious theme detailing her arrival in Heaven and quite a few also made some lame joke about “guess who’s coming to dinner” taken from the title to one of her films. Seems like a nice enough tribute, doesn’t it? So what’s the big deal?

Well, Katherine Hepburn was an atheist.

“I’m an atheist, and that’s it. I believe there’s nothing we can know except that we should be kind to each other and do what we can for people.”—Interview with Ladies’ Home Journal, 1991.

As one commenter on TRA’s site put it: “Will these uncaring bastards show Joe Lieberman welcomed into heaven by Jesus? George W Bush ushered by Mohammed to his seven virgins?”

Would they indeed? I almost hope they would just for the amusement factor it would bring.

And with this post we have officially hit 1,000 entries here at SEB. Yay!

14 thoughts on “On Katharine Hepburn and clueless editorial cartoonists.

  1. I honestly think that is just terribly shitty. No respect for her and her beliefs at all. I swear, if someone says a prayer at my death, I will come back and torture them forever…lol

  2. When Anne and I got married we specifically went with a “Justice of the Peace” in part because we wanted to keep religion out of the ceremony for obvious reasons.

    You’ll imagine my surprise, then, when about mid-way through the ceremony the good Magistrate asked us to bow our heads and pray and proceeded to lead everyone in a prayer. We were under the impression that we had communicated our desire not to have religion interjected into the ceremony, but the Magistrate either didn’t remember or just didn’t give a damn what we wanted. He seemed personable enough so I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt and assuming he didn’t remember. I wasn’t as upset about it as you might think because I was just happy to be getting married, but Anne was a little worried I was ticked off about it. I’ve resigned myself to the idea that it just comes with the territory.

  3. I don’t think it was necessarily carelessness or a lack of respect for the beautiful Ms Hepburn…I’d be willing to bet the editorial cartoonists were just reflecting their OWN beliefs..as many people do..without thinking of the other person…a large part of the population is probably unaware of Katharine Hepburn’s beliefs and were all thinking the same things…heaven, pearly gates, blah blah.

    When my ex and i got married, we too had a justice of the peace. We didn’t want any religious connotations in our ceremony. The nice thing was that the judge gave us a copy of several civil and non-denominational ceremonies that he’d performed and allowed us to ‘cut and paste’ to make one to our liking (we of course chose from all the civil and didnt touch any of them that had a mention of god ). He stuck to the script and it went off without a hitch.

  4. I took the cartoons in a different way.  Ms. Hepburn was an atheist, Mr. Tracy a devout Catholic.  In the world of “humor” suppose there was a heaven, suppose Ms. Hepburn ended up there anyway.  One could imagine her taking charge..and the surprise of the others that she was coming.  I didn’t take it as disrespectful..but her personality, beliefs and live remembered. More than the majority of us will ever get.

  5. I was working under the impression that most of these guys didn’t mean any intentional disrespect and that’s why I called them “clueless” instead of “dumbass.” Still, she made no secret about her status as an atheist and although I’m sure she would’ve blown off the slight in much the same way I tend to anymore, it’s still tactless in much the same way as showing Joe Lieberman being welcomed by Jesus would be. It didn’t help that almost all of them used the same lame joke either. grin

  6. This annoyed me too at first, but having thought it over I’m with Greg and Dawn. After all the pearly gates joke has been a mainstay of the cartoonist as long as there has been cartoonists. Let’s face it, this puerile concept of heaven is a gift to the humourist, especially the lazy syndicated hack.

    As for the great lady herself, she’s gone for the big dreamless sleep, and nobody can touch her now.

    Oh, and Hi, by the way – first comment.

  7. Man, Barry White, BARRY WHITE, died on July 4th.
    Not to take anything away from K. H. because she was classy no matter what kind of religious/non-religious views she may have had. But the man with the smoothest of smooth voices is gone! That’s a national treasure like the Old Man of the Mountain (also gone!).

    If someoneone gave you a choice to have someone else’s or a voice very much like someone else’s voice, who would you choose?
    For me, it would have been Barry. Second would have been James Earl Jones, then an Australian or Scottish accent.

    For anyone who’s lit some candles, put on a Barry White CD and got it on with their girl, this was a sad day.

  8. I meant to mention Barry White in another entry, but for some reason never got around to it. I can’t say for certain that he was an atheist, but according to Reuters:

      He also eschewed religion, telling Reuters in 1999 interview, “I don’t like stories, things I can’t prove.”

    Barry sure did have a voice on him though. I’d probably go with James Earl Jones as my first choice for a voice, but Barry certainly would’ve been second.

  9. Heh, I suppose it’s a sad statement of how jaded I’ve become that this sort of thing doesn’t bother me as much as it used to. It’s like having people worry about saying “Bless You” to me when I sneeze. My boss will do that all the time. I’ll sneeze, he says “bless you” and then panics cause he thinks he’s offended me.

    I try to take things like that, and these cartoons, in the spirit they are meant. The people involved have good intentions and often are unaware of my status, or Kate’s, as an atheist. Hell, most folks say bless you automatically without really knowing why. I wish folks would try to be a little more considerate, but then I wish folks would use their brains a little more than they do as well.

  10. I heard people started saying, “Bless You” because they believed evil spirits came out of your nose when you sneezed.  That’s not the kind of thing I would want to represent were I a Christian.  Geez Les, we still gotta rant about it (even if it is no big deal).

  11. She may have been an athiest but acted like an angel. Lets remember her for the great performance that she made…..We at Film Weekly magazine think that Bringing Up Baby being the best of Kate’s films. Alongside Cary Grant she is brilliantly witty and a perfect foil for Cary’s deadpan style.

    Take a look here for some great early 1930’s images of Kate.


  12. I find that comment somewhat humorous. I didn’t know angels could act or that we know how angels act. Though I do concur with the idea that she was a wonderful actress.

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