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Friday, July 23, 2004

Doonsburied 

One of the more interesting stories in the news lately is that Doonsbury is being dropped out of several papers, and as a result, cries of censorship raise across the land.

Quite frankly, Doonsbury has never been funny within my lifetime.  I'm told that it was funny during the Vietnam era, but became an idiotic rant throughout the Reagan years.  I don't know.  All I know is that an anthropomorphic cigarette isn't particularly funny.

I tend to think the entire comics industry needs to start throwing out the non-funny comics.  I think that if the original cartoonist is dead, then throw out the comic.  Has anyone laughed at a Broom Hilda comic in the last 40 years?  Don't get me started on Blondie.  I have never seen anything remotely amusing in a Blondie comic.

I tend to think that any comic that has been made into a cartoon series should be discontinued as well.  Both Garfield and Dilbert started to suck around the time they were made into animated series.

However, I digress.  Gary Treudeau, Doonsbury's cartoonist, seems to think it deserves special protection against being dropped by papers because it is political.  Therefore, by being political, they are entitled to special protections, due to the First Amendment Freedom of Speech.

This is a common misconception about the First Amendment.  The First Amendment only protects you from government censorship.  If your sponsor newspaper feels like your politics will cause them to lose sales, they are well within their rights to cancel you.

Entertainers seem to lack the understanding that they work in a form of customer service.  Cartoonists, singers, actors, and comedians all make their money by making people feel better about life in one way or another.  When they make their audience feel worse, they are negligent in their jobs.  And when they insist on being blatantly political, they are bound to upset someone. 

The Dixie Chicks should not be upset if I choose not to listen to their music after they insisted on bringing their politics beyond the water's edge.  They are pro-choice, after all.  Whoopie should understand that when she calls 50% of the population evil racists, that SlimFast may not want her to represent them any longer.  After all, SlimFast cannot afford to write off 50% of the population as potential customers. 

And if Gary Treaudeau insists on "making a statement" with his comics, then he should understand the possible consequences.  After all, what use would it be to be a rebel, if rebels never had to face consequences for their rebellions?

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