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Hey! Turd blossom! Get in here!
July 26, 2005 2:15 PM   Subscribe

If the president can say it, why can't Gary Trudeau?
posted by ZachsMind (59 comments total)

 
Did, Jon Stewart call Rove a "Turd Blossom" last week? I'm almost positive he did..... Maybe him and Gary are collaborating now....
posted by Debaser626 at 2:19 PM on July 26, 2005


Didn't, ..... rather....
posted by Debaser626 at 2:20 PM on July 26, 2005


If the president can say it, why can't Gary Trudeau?

He can and did. And certain newspapers can (and did) choose not to run the strip. (Gotta love that two-way feature of the First Amendment).
posted by pardonyou? at 2:21 PM on July 26, 2005


Yeah, debaser, Stewart did call Rove Turd Blossom. The salient point is that TB is BUSH's nickname for Rove.

No harm, no foul, I say!
posted by beelzbubba at 2:23 PM on July 26, 2005


those liberal media unhinged hippies have terrible, terrible manners
posted by matteo at 2:25 PM on July 26, 2005


Eh. Dailies pull comics all the time and have for as long as I can remember.
posted by sonofsamiam at 2:26 PM on July 26, 2005


Turd is not even one of the seven filthy words that got the FCC upset with kpfa so long ago. Why are we veering more towards the acceptance of censorship when it has always been so blatantly irrational?

I understand that newspapers pull comics at the drop of a hat but this is different. The president himself has said this word. The president of the United States. If the president can say this word, it shouldn't be a censorable word. This is so blatantly absurd I can't believe it.
posted by ZachsMind at 2:28 PM on July 26, 2005


OK, I understand some editors deciding not to run it (I don't agree, but I understand). But this:

"I didn't think (taking out the word) hurt it," Executive Editor Joel Rawson said. "I would prefer to run the strip and if we can edit it, that's fine.

Doesn't make any goddamned sense. it doesn't hurt the strip to run it without the punchline? And Rove doesn't look anything like Blossom.
posted by COBRA! at 2:30 PM on July 26, 2005


ZM, the difference is that newspapers are not the government. You can't analogize a private newspaper to the FCC.
posted by pardonyou? at 2:30 PM on July 26, 2005


beezl.... I SEE... that joke is MUCH funnier now..... *crawls back under political rock*
posted by Debaser626 at 2:31 PM on July 26, 2005


Pardonyou: "(Gotta love that two-way feature of the First Amendment)"

Did these same newspapers ever use this word in any of their reports about the Karl Rove issue and what terms George W. Bush uses in reference to Karl Rove? If they didn't, then they're not reporting very thoroughly, and if they did, this is yet more blatant hypocrisy.
posted by ZachsMind at 2:31 PM on July 26, 2005


If they didn't, then they're not reporting very thoroughly, and if they did, this is yet more blatant hypocrisy

How is it hypocritical to report on actual events using the language actually used, but not to promote it further by removing made-up from cartoons?

For example, it's one thing to show a bloody scene as part of a news report... it's news and it's a duty of a paper to report on the news. However, that doesn't mean that the comics page should be covered in gore or that it would be inappropriate for newspaper to pull a strip that was violent. Yes, there is violence on A1, but that doesn't mean that there should also be violence on D15. One is reporting, one is gratuitous.

Further, it's worth noting that the comics page in general probably attracts a younger audience than the news pages. Doonesbury may be an adult strip, but it's still buried with the kids stuff in most papers.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 2:36 PM on July 26, 2005


I thought most newspapers were putting Doonesbury in the edtorial section rather than the funny pages. Has that changed again?
posted by ZachsMind at 2:40 PM on July 26, 2005


I thought most newspapers were putting Doonesbury in the edtorial section rather than the funny pages. Has that changed again?

Seems to depend on the paper and whether it's weekday or weekend. I've seen both recently.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 2:47 PM on July 26, 2005


"Congressman Kickass" !!?!?!!?
posted by gnutron at 2:56 PM on July 26, 2005


If Rove can be called Turdblossom, can Bush be called Shitstain?
posted by five fresh fish at 2:56 PM on July 26, 2005


Ah, the ol' "But comics are for kids!" canard. WE MUST PROTECT THE CHILDREN FROM TURDS!

This was dumb. The proper response is to complain to your paper. Newspapers are cowardly things, especially these days. They want to avoid complaints. Showing them that they're going to get complaints either way makes them more likely to leave it alone (and don't say that it makes them more likely to drop Doonesbury, since any editor will tell you that a) it's a popular strip and b) the easiest way to make a giant number of people hate you is to drop a comic strip. The greatest number of complaints a newspaper ever gets is when they drop or replace strips, no matter how shitty the strips are).
posted by klangklangston at 2:57 PM on July 26, 2005


You're missing the point. It's not the actions that matter, it's what one represents.
See if a good man does it, even if it's bad, it's good. But even if a bad guy does a good thing, it's still bad.
Same thing with countries. If we torture someone it's 'cause we're trying to win the war on terror and protect people, if they do it, it's cause they hate freedom and they're crazy, see.
So it's like that with the equality in the first amendment. Some are more equal than others.


"One is reporting, one is gratuitous."
What planet are you from?
So the fatwa on Salmon Rusdie is ok because his work is fiction?
Fictional or representational speech is less entitled to free speech protections? Wha?
Yes, let's all think of the children. In fact, let's all pare down our thought processes so as to not offend someone's sensibilities of what someones concept of child rearing should be.
("Fuck" was my first word by the way)
posted by Smedleyman at 3:12 PM on July 26, 2005


That's not nice for the turds.
posted by NewBornHippy at 3:15 PM on July 26, 2005


BTW - background info (by way of columnist Helen Thomas) on the "turd blossom" nickname:
"Several years ago when (Rove) started getting accolades from political writers as the mastermind behind Bush, the president is known to have bristled.

'He once told a journalist that he did not like his aides getting "star treatment." So he started calling Rove 'Turd Blossom,' which refers to the so-called cowpie splat made by bovine waste when it hits the ground."
posted by ericb at 3:19 PM on July 26, 2005


Shut up, poo-poo head! No, you shudd'up penis breath!!!
posted by ericb at 3:24 PM on July 26, 2005


Yes, there is violence on A1, but that doesn't mean that there should also be violence on D15.

BAN THE PHANTOM!
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 3:26 PM on July 26, 2005


The president himself has said this word. The president of the United States. If the president can say this word, it shouldn't be a censorable word.

That's not a very good argument against censorship. Presidents past and present have said and done things which most people would want censored. Personally I think censorship is ridiculous, but this argument doesn't work.
posted by Monochrome at 3:31 PM on July 26, 2005


For example, it's one thing to show a bloody scene as part of a news report... it's news and it's a duty of a paper to report on the news. However, that doesn't mean that the comics page should be covered in gore or that it would be inappropriate for newspaper to pull a strip that was violent. Yes, there is violence on A1, but that doesn't mean that there should also be violence on D15. One is reporting, one is gratuitous.

Have you ever read Doonesbury?
posted by Rothko at 4:00 PM on July 26, 2005


"Shitstain" is so uncouth. I prefer "Fruit-of-the-Loom skidmark" myself.

If the Wikipedia entry is to be believed, I'd love to know the circumstances under which Mr. Rove earned his sobriquet from his boss.
posted by alumshubby at 4:00 PM on July 26, 2005


Yet another reason why the comics page sucks more every day.

Oh, America too.
posted by fungible at 4:09 PM on July 26, 2005


Poo is about the forth word children learn, after mom, dad, and pee pee. It's the punch line to every toddlers first joke.

Turd is a nice alternative. We all know what fecal matter is, even "Bushie" and Bar. And it's definitely OIFYAR. There didn't seem to be much outcry five years ago when we were hearing about hummers and stains.

I think people just don't like to see the crued side of Dubya that we all know exists, they want to perpetutate the myth of dependability and decency.

I am shocked to hear that there are politics affection our media, shocked, I tell you.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 4:22 PM on July 26, 2005


All PR is good PR. If it wasn't for this posting on MetaFilter, I'd have missed it. Glad I got educated about 'Turd Blossom' and now I can use it ALL the time.
posted by alteredcarbon at 4:32 PM on July 26, 2005


Isn't it actually Garry Trudeau? Or am on crack again?

/pedantic
posted by mr_crash_davis at 4:32 PM on July 26, 2005


Or am I on crack again, that is.

I guess that answers that.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 4:33 PM on July 26, 2005


They're not protecting the children. All kids know Everyone Poops!
posted by ?! at 4:35 PM on July 26, 2005


You are on crack mr_crash_davis and you are right it is Garry.
posted by alteredcarbon at 4:40 PM on July 26, 2005


If the president can say this word, it shouldn't be a censorable word.

In the rare event that newspapers have better taste than the President, it might be a good idea for them to exercise restraint.

But to point out the bluntly obvious, it is not censorship when a newspaper makes editorial decisions such as not running a syndicated feature due to content. In fact, the first amendment phrase "Congress shall make no law..., abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press" most directly relates to the freedom of publishers to define how their presses will be used.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 4:42 PM on July 26, 2005


So it's like that with the equality in the first amendment. Some are more equal than others.

This has nothing to do with the First Amendment since it was a private publisher's decision not to run a syndicated column in a privately-run newspaper. The First Amendment applies only to government actions. On the other hand, if the government forced the paper to run the strip then there might actually be a First Amendment violation since the publisher has the right not to speak just as much as it has the right to speak.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 4:47 PM on July 26, 2005


Turd is a stupid word to censor. But papers are silly like that, especially in the funny pages.

That's all this is. The usual fear of words.

But you'd think those same Puritans who would complain about such a word appearing in their paper would not support a President, of all people, who chooses to use such a word to address his right-hand man.

Ain't hypocracy cool?
posted by JWright at 5:03 PM on July 26, 2005


"Personally I think censorship is ridiculous, but this argument doesn't work."

My point was the double standard. I believe if a farmer out on the range can say "turd," anyone can. It's a double standard that the alleged most powerful man in the free world can say turd, but you and I might be censored by a newspaper if we expressed our first ammendment rights in a letter to the editor.

Yes they have the right not to print it and blah blah, but this is indicative of a fearful conservative populous afraid to use a word in the funny papers that even five year olds use on a regular basis. It's indicative of why censorship doesn't work.

It's not the word that's bad, but the context behind a given word that can be benign or malignant, and in the GaRRy Trudeau case, it's not offensive by any stretch of the imagination.

As for mispelling Garry Trudeau, I was in a rush when I posted. Sowwy.
posted by ZachsMind at 5:08 PM on July 26, 2005


Interestingly, Doonesbury recently self-censored with dashes when it referred to Bush saying "Fuck Sadaam". (in fact, the punchline was Bush saying "I never said that, I don't use dashes...") I was slightly surprised when the "Turd Blossom" was published and unsurprised when it got censored by some papers. I'd have thought Trudeau would be smart enough to offer a "T--d Blossom" alternative to the papers. And I'm not so bothered by it getting cut by papers who still keep all the comics on the same page... but if a paper that has Doonesbury on the Op-Ed Page got cold feet, that's just shitty.
posted by wendell at 5:09 PM on July 26, 2005


Cancel your paper.
Save a tree.
Especially if they don't run Doonesbury and Boondocks.
Let's be honest, it's not about the word "turd", it's about fear of offending the Bushwhackers.
Turd/toilet papers.
posted by nofundy at 5:11 PM on July 26, 2005


I'd have thought Trudeau would be smart enough to offer a "T--d Blossom" alternative to the papers.

Toad Blossom sounds like a Disney character.

More nicknames. (A little more than WP.)
posted by mrgrimm at 5:57 PM on July 26, 2005


The president of the United States. If the president can say this word, it shouldn't be a censorable word.

The vice president said "go fuck yourself" so that should be OK for anyone to say. Although 'turd' doesn't even come close to being a censorable word.
posted by mike3k at 6:51 PM on July 26, 2005


Thanks, ericb. I've been quite curious about the roots of that nickname.
posted by effwerd at 7:02 PM on July 26, 2005


Oddly enough Turd was the word for the day at my house. We all watched Freaks and Geeks and it was the episode when Neal asks his friends "Guess what I found at the bottom of my bed last night?"

Bill answers, "A turd?" (And no, it was an Atari.)

My husband and my 12 year old found this to be hilarious, so they answered, "A turd!" to every question for the rest of the day.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 7:13 PM on July 26, 2005


Agreed.

And the newspapers are in cowed and in mortal fear of losing any more sales...they are already haemorrhaging revenue.

Which is half our fault (our ilk here at MetaFilter)...and half the fault of the non-MeFi types.

The "Our Fault" Half: Papers now have Hyper-fear of the Free Internet News Readers.

The newspapers are in hysterical (i.e., direct and daily 50-cents a paper monitary income) fear those of us that turn to instant Internet information. We that no longer wait a day for for the newspaper's to bake up a toasty copy of tomorrow's paper we will read over piping hot coffee and cruller.

Oh, they had it so easy for decades that it was a slam dunk they'd have a paper on almost every stoop in America. Even after television. But, the Internet is free news now. The newspapers are paid-for news later.

Not to mention these daily journals come with all that blasted paper to deal with, too.

The "Other Non-Net People Fault" Half: People who don't rush to the Internet, in general, rush to the television. Already the papers have a lose-lose there among their pool of possible subscribers.

TV is another "free" source that is not a newspaper. (Cable and satellite are mostly paid for by the average citizen for entertainment, the news part is usually not the basic reason cable is purchased the house.) Easier and more desirable to cancel the paper than the cable.

Now, as far as revenue is concerned, this is also bad for the newspapers.

Also, ask the advertisers...they don't spend their money on what is now to their audience only despised fishwrap.

Poor papers: All power to the people with 50-cents!


Newspapers are dead afraid of waking up one day, very soon, totally out-of-business. Darned Tee-Vee and Internet.

Therefore, any subscriber's complaint is taken with great kow-towing. Any advertiser's complaint is often utterly bowed to.

Now, here's the thing: The complainers are usually those subscribers and whatnot who are "outraged."

If you are cynical, you are not outraged, and you don't bother to "rage against the dying of the light"...or cancel your non-existant newspaper subscription over these issues.

Therefore, complaints roll in about nudity / naughty language / reporting "against us 'cuz you're not for us" articles from the subscribers. These complaints may carry real weight in an atmosphere of fear.

And modern free Internet readers are not going to have any currency (pun intended) with the newspapers, complain or not.

So, I think tonight I'll subscribe to a paper (pick a paper, any paper) that killed the President's nickname for Rove (Turd-Blossom) in Trudeau-Blossom's strip.

Then write them an e-mail in the morning killing my subscription over this very issue.

Action and money may speak louder than electrons.

Worth a rabble-rouser's try, anyway...anyone got a good newspaper candidate for this exercise?
posted by Dunvegan at 7:59 PM on July 26, 2005


mike3k: "The vice president said "go fuck yourself" so that should be OK for anyone to say. Although 'turd' doesn't even come close to being a censorable word."

Actually, yes. Again, if it's good enough for the vice president of this country, this foolishness should end. Children should be allowed to use profanity with wanton abandon. I've never been one for censorship, or hiding from children the wonders of this planet.

It's just a word. I'm with Carlin on that one. The word isn't going to destroy anyone. Why are those seven words singled out? It's okay to say "excrement" but not "shit" even though they mean the same thing. It's patently absurd, and this Trudeau 'turd' debacle just resonates that absurdity.
posted by ZachsMind at 8:41 PM on July 26, 2005


'He once told a journalist that he did not like his aides getting "star treatment." So he started calling Rove 'Turd Blossom,

Dammit, every time I forget that the White House is being run like a pimply-faced-teenager's lunchroom-table-clique, someone ends up reminding me.
posted by deanc at 9:16 PM on July 26, 2005


Dammit, every time I forget that the White House is being run like a pimply-faced-teenager's lunchroom-table-clique, someone ends up reminding me.

deanc - your comment reminds me of some advice once given to me. A former colleague said that when you are in a contentious professional situation - step out of it and imagine what the others invloved were like when they were on an elementray school playground - or, what they were like in high school.

When imagining Karl Rove, I conjure up - Ralph Wiggums!




Others - of whom do the "Bush inner circle" remind you?

Georgie? Condi? "Dick (before he 'dicks' you) Cheney", etc.?
posted by ericb at 9:51 PM on July 26, 2005


People are going to look back at this and will not believe it. "You mean, you guys were censoring fucking comic strips and no one cared?"
posted by skallas at 10:17 PM on July 26, 2005


I thought the President called Karl that 'name' because thats what he makes, not that he 'is'.
posted by hortense at 10:40 PM on July 26, 2005


They've been censoring comix for ages..
Tijuana Bibles(nsfw) have been around for years, but they won't be published in the New York Times.

Turd is not a dirty word. Turdblossom is a loving euphemism.
I always thought it was a flower growing out of a cowpatty.
I thought Rove was the guy to make flowers bloom when all you are slapped with is shit. He's the spinmaster.
Economy heading downhill? War not flowing smoothly? Starting to get caught behind all those lies? "That's Great! and here's why!" Rove was the guy who could make all those bad things look like positives.

I bet it sucks to be an optimist.
posted by Balisong at 10:46 PM on July 26, 2005


I'm glad to say the Chicago Tribune printed the cartoon, unedited, yesterday and today. Doonesbury appears on the comics page, right underneath The Boondocks. (On top of the Boondocks is Prickly City, for contrast.)
posted by SisterHavana at 7:17 AM on July 27, 2005


You are on crack mr_crash_davis and you are right it is Garry.

This just proves that old saying: Even a man on crack is right twice a day.

Tijuana Bibles(nsfw) have been around for years, but they won't be published in the New York Times.

Well, both halves of that sentence are true, but they're not logically connected - first, because Tijuana Bibles were not comic strips designed to be distributed in newspapers (so they were not "censored," they simply had a different, underground, distribution network), and second, because the NYT doesn't have a comics page anyway.
posted by soyjoy at 8:03 AM on July 27, 2005


I've never wanted to go into politics before, but the thought of being called "Congressman Kickass" by the President? Well, sh-t. That rocks.

I wonder if that's how they sign each other's yearbooks.
posted by Gucky at 8:59 AM on July 27, 2005


NYT doesn't have a comics page anyway.

Explain David Brooks to me then.
posted by beelzbubba at 9:03 AM on July 27, 2005


Turdblossom is a loving euphemism.

If you say so...

I don't know that I'd care to work for a boss who insists on calling me that.
posted by alumshubby at 9:04 AM on July 27, 2005


"This has nothing to do with the First Amendment ... since the publisher has the right not to speak just as much as it has the right to speak."
Out of context much?
Besides, it's so much better to outsource prohabition of freedoms to corporations isnt' it thedevildancedlightly ?
*pulls tongue out of cheek*
The first amendment is more than merely law. It represents one of the founding ideals upon which this country was founded.
Censorship is antithetical to those ideals.

Explicit enough?
posted by Smedleyman at 12:48 PM on July 27, 2005


Turdblossom makes beee-yotiful flowers grow where others see only a pile of shit. He's marvy!
posted by five fresh fish at 3:02 PM on July 27, 2005


Or beee-yootiful, even.

I'm not sure I like live preview.
posted by five fresh fish at 3:03 PM on July 27, 2005


Stupid Providence Journal. But at least I know now that yesterday's ProJo edited Doonesbury really didn't make any sense, and it wasn't me not getting it.
posted by Ruki at 3:35 PM on July 27, 2005


I did a couple searches on the 'Net. I can't find any objective reference to 'turdblossom' outside references to George W. Bush calling Karl Rove that. I don't think it's even a word. Dubya made it up. I've lived in Texas most of my life and I've never heard anyone call anyone else 'turdblossom.'

What I think is funny is earlier, I went to Wikipedia and typed in 'turd blossom' with a space, and up came Karl Rove. Now it goes to an erroneous page insinuating that 'turd blossom' is a "Texas term", when that can't be further from the truth.
posted by ZachsMind at 11:38 AM on July 28, 2005


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