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Cartoonists' Quandry
October 12, 2001 7:42 AM   Subscribe

Cartoonists' Quandry Apparently Newsday and NY's Daily News has pulled 'The Boondocks' cartoons because they may be... eh... too controversial? Perhaps "unamerican" to some? I understand these are difficult times where everyone feels vulnerable and suspicious, but nonetheless, the issues are worth addressing. Does expressing one's views and dissatisfaction with the government make you automatically unsymapthetic and unpatriotic? I can't pretend to understand what it's like to be a New Yorker over this last month, but I do think I would like to hear all perspectives, regardless of how potentially offensive or analytically critical they were.
posted by eclectic glamazon (14 comments total)

 
I'm a New Yorker, and you know what? The knee jerk, "Oh, he's criticizing the Government, he's un-American... GET HIM!!!" mind set is driving me frickin' crazy. Just because we were attacked does not mean the government can do no wrong. In fact, what the hell are we defending if not the free society where one can criticize the government without fear. In fact, I think now more than ever Americans need to realize that we trained these terrorists, we funded them for years in their fight against the Soviets. New Yorkers and Americans are looking for some sort of sense of what the hell happened on September 11th, and I think any one who is satisfied with "Oh yeah, they're just evil" is in danger of underestimating the problem, and therefore destined to repeat mistakes of the past.
posted by bob bisquick at 7:54 AM on October 12, 2001


I doubt that the thousands of New Yorkers who have been regularly demonstrating with signs reading "Our Grief Is Not A Cry For War" would have a problem with Aaron McGruder continuing to address timely issues in his excellent comic strip.
posted by sudama at 8:11 AM on October 12, 2001


They start here and they're pretty damn good (I'm in the UK - never heard of this cartoon before). He's not taking it lying down ;-)
posted by andrew cooke at 8:28 AM on October 12, 2001


"Thousands"? "Regularly"? Cite? Well, no need really. Even if it were thousands, that's a hopelessly tiny number compared to the 8 million that live in the City proper and >20 million in the metro area. If I were the editor of a New York paper, I'd absolutely have yanked those strips. All they would do is add to the hurt a lot of people, and inflame the anger of even more, for absolutely no reason. Incendiary political statements are not the purpose of the comics pages. Besides, editors across the country routinely yank individual strips for various things they don't like. There's nothing special about this. Comic strip cartoonists ought to get down on their knees every day and give thanks to the syndication gods that they have such constant daily access to so many newspapers anyway. It's common knowledge that most newspapers subscribe to a number of columnists, and every day they sift through what's available, picking and choosing which columns they actually want to publish based on every personal bias under the sun. Given that, why should cartoonists be granted carte blanche to say or do whatever they want without any consequence? The strips are on the web anyway, so anyone that wants to see them still can.

Oh no, I just said "god." There goes the thread.
posted by aaron at 8:45 AM on October 12, 2001


Oh, an even better reason to yank at least one of them: It's spreading intentional disinformation. Bush did not give the Taliban $43 million in May. This is a blatant lie spread by one of the most ideologically meanspirited columnists in the entire nation, Robert Scheer of the LA Times. Just this week Spinsanity posted an excellent article detailing Sheer's nonstop dissemination of falsehoods designed to further his own political agenda:

At a time when all too many pundits engage in their share of lies, spin, and jargon, Robert Scheer stands out in a class by himself. In column after column, his favored tactics have been irrational criticism, distortion, and spin. At his worst, Scheer's false tropes spread and become part of the commonly accepted discourse. Since September 11, for instance, as Dan Kennedy noted in the Boston Phoenix, the Taliban aid trope has been repeated in The Nation, The New Yorker, The Denver Post and Salon. For those concerned about the rise of irrational discourse in American politics, Robert Scheer stands out as one of the worst offenders.
posted by aaron at 8:56 AM on October 12, 2001


"Boondocks" is a great strip. Maybe it does belong on the editorial page, but no more than "Doonesbury" or even "Bloom County", for that matter. Ah, "Bloom County." How we could use you now. Opus, where for art thou?
posted by ColdChef at 9:03 AM on October 12, 2001


Boondocks is definitely the best strip to make it in the papers in a while. And yet, every day I see it, I do find myself amazed that its still there.
Given the comments i just read in the next post, it sounds like there're plenty of MeFi'ers that'd applaud this move, that would applaud clamping down any voice that is 100% gung ho american and ready to kick ass for jesus and baseball. This place is getting scary. i'm just waiting for the posts that call for an end to trial by jury and public gatherings.
posted by badstone at 9:11 AM on October 12, 2001


"Thousands"? "Regularly"? Cite? Well, no need really. Even if it were thousands, that's a hopelessly tiny number compared to the 8 million that live in the City proper and >20 million in the metro area. If I were the editor of a New York paper, I'd absolutely have yanked those strips. All they would do is add to the hurt a lot of people, and inflame the anger of even more, for absolutely no reason.

Aaron, the prevailing mood in New York City is a movement for peace. Believe it. Most cries for war are coming from outside, from uncaring, thoughtless masses who know little of destruction, violence, enduring grief and stinging pain. We in New York City are not afraid of going against US popular opinion, and we resist harder when others demand we "watch what we say."

Also, I am in contact with the cartoon syndicate to try and run those strips, and all future ones, on my site. They deserve to be heard.
posted by Mo Nickels at 9:56 AM on October 12, 2001


I'm a big fan of the Boondocks, and, like badstone am amazed (and cheered) that it still shows up everyday in my morning paper.

Beyond the truth/falsity of the comments made in the strip, it should be noted that Huey's comments were completely in character. What would have been weird is if Huey hadn't been calling up the FBI hotline and trying to get Bush listed on their "suspected terrorist" list.
posted by theMargin at 12:46 PM on October 12, 2001


2 small points, aaron.

The strips are on the web anyway, so anyone that wants to see them still can.

I doubt very much whether most people read comix online, aaron. Many don't use the Web for that, even if they have access.

Oh, an even better reason to yank at least one of them: It's spreading intentional disinformation.

You've got to be kidding. Of course it would be nice if no one spread disinformation intentionally (and I don't know if that's true in this instance or not anyway). Starting with the government and corporations, which have comic artists at a slight disadvantage in terms of influence, wouldn't you say?
posted by aflakete at 3:07 PM on October 12, 2001


Heh

That guy looks like his character :P
posted by delmoi at 4:37 PM on October 12, 2001


Great point, themargin. In the words of Holden McNeil, "These are fictional characters. Fic-tion-al char-ac-ters! Am I getting through to you at all?"
posted by kevspace at 4:46 PM on October 12, 2001


Phew. For a second, I thought I read that Boondock Saints was being taken off the shelves.
posted by saladin at 6:11 PM on October 12, 2001


Believe it.

I lived in Manhattan, two miles from the WTC, for twelve years. I still know and have talked to plenty of people there. And their statements (save for one) are all exactly the opposite of what you just said. I have no reason to disbelieve the prevailing mood amongst your own chosen friends and acquaintances is as you say, or even that the percentages of "peaceniks" vs "warmongers" is a bit more skewed towards the former in NYC than it would be in, say, the dumpy burg I currently am trapped in, given the liberal tendencies of New Yorkers in general. But we have to take into consideration the statistical distribution set here.
posted by aaron at 10:39 PM on October 12, 2001



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