Monday, September 20, 2010

The Elusive Molly Norris

Do you remember the “Palestinian child brides” from a few months ago?

As you may recall, a sensational video and some photos made the rounds of the Counterjihad websites for a few days. They purported to show the mass wedding of Palestinian men to little girls, and there was obviously something wedding-related going on — the tiny girls decked out in white gowns, the men dressed in their best clothes.

I was suspicious from the first because there were no English translations available, and MEMRI didn’t feature the video — anything this outrageous, if authentic, would surely have been covered by MEMRI. As it turned out, the video was real, but those little girls were not brides — it was some other Palestinian custom related to weddings.

A lot of Counterjihad blogs posted the video and the photos. Those with integrity later published retractions, but others simply made sure their posts on the topic disappeared without a trace when the truth became known.

An incident such as this does a certain amount of damage to our cause. The vultures of the Left circle us continuously, waiting for mistakes like this to happen, and then they swoop down and feed on the unlucky blogs who make the errors. This helps reinforce the meme that Counterjihad bloggers are hysterical extreme right-wing crypto-fascist lunatics who care nothing for the truth and will believe any lie or fantasy, no matter how improbable, provided it supports their cause.

This is why — assuming we aspire to be effective, which I do — we need to report with the utmost probity. We must be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. We need to stick to the facts as we understand them, and label all rumor and speculation as exactly that. When we goof, we should retract our errors publicly and prominently, and post corrections. For some of us it hurts, but it’s necessary for the greater good.

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I bring all this up because of the intense discussion that has emerged over the last few days about Molly Norris, the Seattle cartoonist who earned herself a death fatwa from Anwar al-Awlaki for originating the idea behind Everybody Draw Mohammed Day.

A meme has taken shape around Ms. Norris portraying her as a very young and naïve woman who stumbled into something that she didn’t expect. She then apologized. She recanted. She made a peace sign T-shirt to show that she really loves Islam and every other creature on the planet. But all to no avail. Thus she recently went into hiding.

This meme has considerable force. Just search for “Molly Norris” on Google news and look at the latest results. She is a young, naïve woman who has been forced into hiding. That’s the story that has emerged and is being handed around the web like a baton in a relay.

Yet how accurate is it?

On Saturday Dymphna posted on the topic, but a number of readers seemed to misunderstand her point. She wasn’t saying that Ms. Norris got what was coming to her for being such a clueless squishy liberal, or that the poor woman is not really in any danger. Dymphna simply pointed out all the obvious signs indicating that Molly Norris is a publicity hound.

During all this discussion, someone suggested that Ms. Norris might not be as young as she was allowing people to believe. This got me to thinking — what do we know about this woman? We know she drew cartoons for a Seattle newspaper until recently. We know she has now gone very publicly into hiding. We’ve seen one picture of her, and indeed she looks quite young. But how recent is that picture?

And who is Molly Norris, really?

When I get curious about something, it’s like a fever. I just have to keep investigating until the fever passes.

So late last night I fooled around with Google for a while, but when you search on “Molly Norris”, it’s hard to get past the hundreds of thousands of entries about EDMD. I labored for several hours with little to show for it. Then, in the wee hours, I came up with the bright idea of googling “contact Molly Norris” (including the quote marks), which led me to Gallery 110.

This revealed that someone named Molly Norris had been the director of Gallery 110 in Seattle as late as last year. How likely is it that there are two trendy Seattle artists named Molly Norris? A somewhat deeper check eventually turned up an exhibition at Gallery 110 of cartoons by Molly Norris that were obviously drawn by the same person who drew the inaugural EDMD cartoon. So this is definitely the right woman.

However, in the process of clicking through dozens of art-related websites, an interesting fact emerged: up until a year or so prior to the above-mentioned listing, a woman named Molly Norris Curtis (or Molly Norris-Curtis in some cases) had also been the director (or curator) of Gallery 110. All through the 2000s Ms. Curtis had given shows at Gallery 110 and numerous other locations. She wrote reviews (many of them in Seattle Weekly, the same paper that later published Molly Norris’ cartoons), was mentioned in magazines, and was cited as a reference in other artists’ résumés.

Back then her work was in mixed media, very postmodern and ironic. Some paintings were included, but cartoons did not really feature in her oeuvre until Molly Norris appeared in 2009. There was, however, some overlap in the exhibitions by Molly Norris and Molly Norris Curtis, in which one could see that both artists executed the same basic kind of artwork.

Occam’s razor cried out to me: these two women are the same person! Molly Norris was married at some point to a guy named Curtis. Then she reverted to her maiden name.

A lot of the catalogue entries and gallery sites link to Ms. Norris’ website, mollynorris.com, which not surprisingly has been stripped clean and had its ownership anonymized (except for the name Molly Norris).

However, during my searches I came across this Gallery 63 page describing and cataloguing a 2006 exhibition of Molly Norris Curtis’ work. Partway down the page you’ll notice that the artist says this:

My American sixties childhood was a loud colored, pre-jogging age filled with cocktail parties, night lit swimming pools, curvaceous women and seatbelt free drives — along with various and sundry Cold War terrors.

And at the bottom of the page there is a photo of someone (who may or may not be the artist herself) sitting on what appears to be a peculiar giant shoe with an enormous stuffed animal. Underneath the photo is a link labeled “Vist [sic] the web site of Molly Norris Curtis”, which leads — surprise! — to mollynorris.com, the same site that has now been stripped of content.

Thus we may safely assume that Molly Norris and Molly Norris Curtis are indeed the same woman, and that —unless she is lying about a childhood in the 1960s — she is over forty years old.

But we’re not done yet. Following the trail of breadcrumbs on her full name, I came across what appears to be a sort of cached version of her site from around 2001. It contains quite a bit of autobiographical information on her, which — depending on how you read it, the entries indicating either that she was born in 1966 or graduated from high school in 1976 — tells us that Molly Norris is between forty-four and fifty-two years old. It also confirms that she was married and divorced by 1999.

That is: if any of this is really true, and not an entirely fictional account.

The oldest of the reviews of her work (from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer) dates back to 1987. Once again, unless this newspaper article is made up (I don’t have LexisNexis to check it), Molly Norris was exhibiting her work publicly twenty-three years ago, and is thus well past the first bloom of youth.

My “line of best fit” on Molly Norris Curtis is this: she was a trendy Seattle artist (one of dozens, Seattle is full of them) working in mixed media until about 2009. Then she dropped the “Curtis” and reinvented herself as Molly Norris the Cartoonist for Seattle Weekly. A middle-aged change, trying to revive her career, with the help of a Seattle paper in which she had been publishing reviews for years.

After Parker and Stone earned their death fatwa and were censored by Comedy Central, she saw an opportunity: create a silly little ironic cartoon in solidarity with them, borrow some of their (considerable) fame, and ride their coattails to a new and brighter career.

But it didn’t work out the way she planned. She was naïve (to put it mildly) about what she was doing, and what would in fact happen to her.

Now she is trying to salvage what she can from the mess, making a big splash by “going into hiding” with a lot of free publicity orchestrated by that same Seattle newspaper, God bless them, and accompanied by that cute photo, which was probably taken twenty or twenty-five years ago — if it is in fact a picture of the same woman.

In a few months there will almost certainly be a new media splash about her somewhere, probably accompanied by artwork sold only online.

Wait and see.

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I respect Molly Norris’ cartoons, although they are not to my taste. She is competent in her ability to compose images and use color, as her numerous published paintings attest. The mixed media artifacts are another matter: postmodern irony lies so far outside my range of taste that I am quite incapable of passing judgment on them.

I wish her well. I am in full solidarity with her, notwithstanding the fact that she caved immediately and completely to the violent threats of those who seek to impose sharia on us.

We must stand with her.

Intentionally or otherwise, whether she likes it or not, she has become one of us.

The whole affair makes me feel sorry for Molly Norris Curtis. I don’t think she has a clue. I don’t think she has ever really had a clue. It’s as simple (and sad) as that.


Hat tip: The G-Man.

29 comments:

RKB said...

When all hell started to break lose and she tried to backtrack (peace shirt cartoon, embracing the idea of making it Everybody Draw Al Gore Day instead), she put a video up (and pretty quickly took it down) of her self explaining how she didn't want to be insensitive and made a mistake etc... she looked well past her 20s. She also took it down and her reason was "it looked like a hostage tape". The thing that amazed me the most and still does about all of it is some people seem to think freedom of speech here in the states has anything to do with sensitivity, cultural respect, and never ever engaging in 'hate speech' however you want to define that. I never noticed any of those people bringing up those concerns when flag burning 'for it or agin' it' was all the rage to talk about some years ago, let along the hippy-dippy sound of crickets filled silence from the same circles about invoking sensitivity, tolerance, and being anti-hate speech during the Piss Christ media maelstrom. Turns out I'm a free speech fundamentalist (google that for some interesting reading) who thinks Molly should have learned the lesson from Rushdie apologizing is pointless you can't 'dial it back' when dealing with kill crazed mobs.

EileenOCnnr said...

"We must stand with her."

Well, then -- don't post a lot of personal info about her then for anyone with SJS (Sudden Jihad Syndrome) to read! She does have a fatwa issued against her after all. :-/

Baron Bodissey said...

Eileen,

Don't be absurd.

Everything I posted is VERY public information, posted out there for free. The for-pay "find people sites" would do much better. Not only that, I am a complete amateur. Anyone who knows what they're doing could immediately find out much, much more.

Furthermore, everything I've posted is old and out of date. No current address, phone number, email, or photo. Nothing.

It's gratuitous and/or jejeune to claim this could in anyway harm her. A paid private investigator could find 100 times as much after spending one day in Seattle.

Marianne said...

Well done, Baron. I think you've "discovered" the true story. BTW, I like how author comments are highlighted.

Zenster said...

Outstanding detective work, Baron!

I spent almost half an hour doing a similar search last night but was unable to unearth Ms. Norris' actual age. Her age is very relevant to this entire matter as it would reflect the probability of her being fully cognizant of the downstream repercussions that might − or probably would − arise from her "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day".

Armed with the knowledge of her probable age − and your investigative work looks pretty solid − a more clear picture of Ms. Norris emerges.

As Dymphna noted in Saturday's GoV article, Ms. Norris' "disappearing act" certainly did not reflect a best effort at truly submerging from public view. I tend to concur with your own surmise that much of this was a carefully calculated publicity stunt which took on a very easily anticipated and all too predictably violent life of its own.

One can only hope that, as a result of this, Ms. Norris has "grown a brain" about what Islam portends with respect to Western civilization. There does not seem to be a lot of hope for this but, if anything, having such a tidy little fiasco take place in the midst of a Liberal bastion like Seattle is a definite bonus.

Intentionally or otherwise, whether she likes it or not, she has become one of us.

I must reluctantly concur. One of the best possible outcomes would be if "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day" became a wildly popular annual event. Regardless of Ms. Norris' own participation in it, such a tradition would serve the counter-jihad quite well.

The whole affair makes me feel sorry for Molly Norris Curtis. I don’t think she has a clue. I don’t think she has ever really had a clue.

I agree and sincerely hope that the very real object lesson of what Islam means with respect to Free Speech has, somehow, managed to sink in for her. I wouldn't bet more than pocket change on that possibility because she has yet to demonstrate much in the way of conviction or even a remotely thorough understanding of what, where, why and how all of this happened.

I stand by all of my previous comments regarding Ms. Norris and believe that this most recent post validates much of the observations contained in them.

Anonymous said...

Perceptive all the way to the end - but thanks for gracious addendum. Dwelling in the Land of CounterJihad is lonely enough. How one arrives may be interesting, but once one is domiciled as a near or far neighbor(willingly or by force of events)a hand of welcome should be offered - even if what's in it is a book of instruction.

On my easel is a Muhammad Painting titled "The Genesis of 9/11: the massacre of the Jews of Medina by Muhammad".

Am I a 'publicity hound' for the notion of it, for the act of completing it, for even the mention of it here?

Someone once asked us to "count the cost". Yet maybe the previous concern, and this admonition, is both too late and pointing once an outfit such as the London Fatwa Council has already sent down a ruling.

Ms. Norris, welcome. Now here with us you may find we will become your most earnest friends. Stay put, and stay close - and pop onto Gates of Vienna now and then.

WAKE UP said...

The 60's childhood is a clue: Ms Norris belongs to the media-saturated generation/s who think that life is a movie, and that any problem can be fixed simply by making a video about it. Indeed, there's a subsequent generation that doesn't think anything is REAL until the SATIRICAL video has repleced the original. Ennui and the sardonic are this generation's dialectic; nothing is real, nothing is important.

Unfortunately, this degree of "sophistication" is useless when it comes up against sheer unreconstructed, savage primitivism. Ms Norris simply had no idea that she was dealing with that reality; she thought it was all a movie in which she could digitally re-write the ending.

Which, when you think about it, is still pretty much the metaphor for the entire West's slowness in girding its loins, despite all the available evidence from Salman Rusdie, and 9/11, onwards.

Sir Henry Morgan said...

Stephen

"On my easel is a Muhammad Painting titled "The Genesis of 9/11: the massacre of the Jews of Medina by Muhammad"."

Perhaps you could slightly amend the artwork - a long trench; on the left a painting of bigmo dressed in an arab robe (in black) in the act of beheading a Medina jew wearing one of those stripey arab robes.

On the right an SS officer in black uniform shooting a jew through the head in those concentration camp striped pyjamas.

Both victims kneeling on the edge of the trench and labelled 'Medina and auschwitz, the connection'

I would already have done this if I had the artistic talent.

Dymphna said...

@WAKE UP:

Ms Norris belongs to the media-saturated generation/s who think that life is a movie, and that any problem can be fixed simply by making a video about it...

Or, who, when life got difficult wanted to change the channel to a nicer scene.

Unfortunately, the 60s "types" today, like our Congressman, actually believe you can change things by getting enough people to sign petitions. If that doesn't work, then by all means, hold a candlelight vigil.

I mean this guy actually founds groups who do this. They call themselves "social entrepreneurs" and they live off Soros money.

Dymphna said...

Sir henry Morgan---

Do you think the Medina Massacre was the genesis of all future pogroms?

BTW, I read in a book review today that the root of "gentleman" is "gentile man". Heavens, I hope that's not true...

Sir Henry Morgan said...

Dymphna

I haven't really thought about it, to be truthful.

However, I think it may depend on what we mean by 'pogrom'. If you just mean 'massacre', then it must be said that the Romans were past masters at this, so no.


however, if you're suggesting that pogroms can only happen to jews, then I think the ancient people of Jericho might have a word or two to say about it.

Personally, I suspect that it was just Bigmo taking an opportunity to get rid of actual or potential rivals - a bit like the St. Valentines Day Massacre (only larger).

Sir Henry Morgan said...

I suspect I'm rather missing the point there. I have an excuse - it's 0130 am here, and I am a little tired.

Pogroms - is that what the Turks did to the Armenians?

commoncents said...

Thanks for posting! I really like your blog!!

Steve
Common Cents
http://www.commoncts.blogspot.com

EscapeVelocity said...

The problem is that clueless Molly Norris, is and still does vote for the Western Left.

That makes her and her voting patterns which empower an agenda which is hostile to us, our culture, and civilization much more of a threat than Muslims and Islam.

Even if she is a clueless unthoughtful rube. Its people like her that put Barrack Hussein Obama in the White House....and San Fran Nan in the Speakership.

EscapeVelocity said...

And have perpetuated to power ideologies such as New Leftism, Gay Agendas, Identity Politics, Wealth Redistributionist Third Worldist Anti Colonialism, Moral & Cultural Relativism.

That which has disempowered the West & Christianity and empowered Third Worlders & Islam.

EileenOCnnr said...

Baron,

I'm not being absurd.

I realize that this is all public information, but you said so yourself that you spent "several hours with little to show for it."

I think we can all agree that the Muslumps are not very intelligent. You're just making it easier for them with this post.

If you back her, back her all the way, even though she is from the looney left.

I also had a bug about Mark Steyn's comments about her the other day, too. You know, now is not the time to be divided against ANYONE who takes a stand against Islam, no matter how lame. We CANNOT afford to be divided. Not now.

monkey said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Baron Bodissey said...

Eileen --

I understamd your concern, but you are simply mistaken.

#1: The job took me several hours because I am a complete neophyte at this, as well as being elderly and easily confused. A young, web-savvy person (and that includes many, many Pakistanis and Turks) could find ten times as much in a tenth of the time.

#2: I have provided no information whatsoever that could help anyone find Molly Norris. She has changed her name and moved. My discoveries will not point to her, since they do not include a current address, a phone number, a photo, or anything else to help find the poor woman.

All I did was discover her (approximate) age, which is what I intended. Nothing else is revealed in all this.

The Mujahideen are smart enough to either pay for a “person-search” website, which will instantly find out much more than I ever could, or they will assign some of the local culture enrichers to the job — there are plenty of them in the Pacific Northwest.

My work is less than useless to them. They will use other means, closer to hand.

Once again, I understand your concern. But you are shying at phantoms.

As for “being divided” — hardly! That’s why I say I stand with her, which I will continue to do. No doubt she would consider me, this blog, and most of its readers appalling and repugnant, but that doesn’t matter to me.

It’s like soldiers fighting overseas to defend the rights of punks to throw blood on the steps of the Pentagon and burn their draft cards — it’s just the normal American thing to do.

WAKE UP said...

However feckless (or calculating, for that matter) Molly has been, of course we must, and will, stand up for her and protect her. SHE's not the problem - ISLAM is.

It's a bit like the old saying: "when you find yourself up to your backside in alligators, remember that your original task was to drain the swamp". Well, Molly might indeed be surrounded by alligators, but it's still the Islamic swamp that actually needs the cleaning out.

Dex Quire said...

Seattle is simply the land of the Eloi in HG Wells' novel The Time Machine. The Morlocks come to snatch one of their own down into the bowels of the earth and at most the Eloi can emit a whimper but that is about it. They have no experience with courage or backbone in standing up to murderous thugs. In fact they do not even acknowledge the existence of a murderous muslim jihad. Molly Norris one of their own is gone now, snatched away but the Seattle Eloi barely notice. They'll go back to grazing and worrying over the spotted owl and eevil republicans.

EileenOCnnr said...

"All I did was discover her (approximate) age...."

No. You also revealed her married name and connections to two art galleries. All information that could prove very helpful in finding her to someone else who might not know where to start looking.

You've made it easier for them. And I'm telling you (an admitted amateur at finding people) this as a professional.

Baron Bodissey said...

Eileen --

You may be a professional, but you're still mistaken.

All this information about Ms. Norris (plus much more) has been spread through the Seattle MSM, which has a hundred times more readers than this piddling little blog. See my post from earlier today.

The Seattle Times has a Google profile that I could only dream of.

So spare me the sanctimony. Anybody who goes googling for Molly Norris, with or without the "Curtis", will find much more information than I can supply long before they ever stumble across an obscure blog called "Gates of Vienna".

WAKE UP said...

Eileen, listen up:
At some point (which is becoming increasingly clearly denoted), inaction and self-indulgent chardonnay soliloquising actually become cowardly, treasonable and collaborative with the enemy.

Molly's not the problem. ISLAM IS.

1389 said...

I'm significantly older than Molly Norris, and have been a part of the counterjihad in one way or another since 1999. I was involved in other political activism before that. Only in the past month or so have I begun to feel that we might possibly be turning the corner.

Believe me, the defense of Judaeo-Christian civilization is no game.

If you want to join the fight and be effective, you'll need a good deal of maturity, and as the subject of this article indicates, that is not a simple matter of chronological age. You'll need a tough hide, a strong stomach, and a clear head. You'll need to do constant homework about who our adversaries are and what they are up to. Seeking and sharing the truth has to be a major priority in your life.

Finally, you will need to accept, evaluate, and manage the risks that you will be taking.

EileenOCnnr said...

Baron said: "All this information about Ms. Norris (plus much more) has been spread through the Seattle MSM, which has a hundred times more readers than this piddling little blog."

Then why, may I ask, did it take you hours to find the information that you did? Did you only discover the Seattle Times after all your searching? I'm not trying to be awkward here, just trying to understand the points you're trying to make.

Baron said: "...an obscure blog called 'Gates of Vienna'."

You're not anymore. You're now tied to Brietbart's "Big" sites. Seriously. I'm sure your stats have gone up here, no?

And, please, stop referring to me, one of your regular readers and supporters, with terms like "absurd" and "sanctimonious". You say you support Ms. Morris; I'm merely pointing out that you have actually increased the danger levels to her, albeit slightly I will agree.

There's no need to make the job easier for someone who's looking for her. By compiling a bunch of facts about her in the same place, you have done just that. If I were looking for Ms. Morris, you'd have saved me some leg-work. Trust me on this one.

EileenOCnnr said...

Wake up said: "Molly's not the problem. ISLAM IS."

Oh, I fully agree. But another major problem is divisions within our own ranks. Like I said, I got annoyed at Mark Steyn's comments about Ms. Norris the other day. Ok, she was cowardly in her response to the threats against her. But now is the time to close ranks against the enemy at the gates! It is not the time to point fingers at someone and call them a coward. (Or, to my mind, share sensitive information about them online even if it is already available online elsewhere. Not if you say you support them anyway.)

EileenOCnnr said...

By way of example to my earlier comment (don't know if it will be approved or not), if I were looking for Ms. Morris and knew, via the Seattle MSM, that she had gone to ground, I might try to find her via some of her family or friends.

I might try googling "Molly+Curtis+husband" for instance. And what is the second result when I search for that, then? Right to GoV.

Baron Bodissey said...

Eileen --

Did you only discover the Seattle Times after all your searching?

Yes. If you had bothered to read the later post I referred you to ("The Mother of All Silence from the Fever Swamps"), you would have learned that. The Seattle Times article would have saved me a lot of work. I wish I had known about it on Sunday.

You're not anymore. You're now tied to Brietbart's "Big" sites. Seriously. I'm sure your stats have gone up here, no?

No. Big Peace does not have high traffic. It has scarcely affected us at all.

Trust me on this one.

No, I won't.

I know exactly how I could find the same information on Ms. Norris, and much, much more. I know which sites to visit, although I won't post the URLs here.

I'd just have to pay a bit of money, and then I'd have the goods on her, big time.

Anybody who wanted to find her would know these things, too. How do you think the pros do their skip-tracing?

So I don't accept your evaluation of the situation. It goes against common sense, not to mention the evidence.

Abraham83 said...

I don't understand the intensity of your dissection of the motivation and background of Molly Norris. Does it really make any difference whether or not she is consistent in her views or pure of motive? Do those motives have to be sanctified before you can accept her right to act under our constitution? In capsule, her defiant act was quite simple--and she displayed some courage in doing so.

You don't like being identified as a "Whackjob racist boob", but seem to have no problem with transferring your own anxiety at being so labeled to another with the temerity of ridiculing the barbaric sensibilities of Muslims--like Molly Norris and Pastor Jones.

Really, Dymphna, you must realize that you display a very palpable fear and with it an apparent cowardice embarrassing to all free men.