Doonesbury Strip on Abortion Rankles Some Newspapers

Vigilante Man
Vigilante Man

Truth is hurtful sometimes.

A national syndicate will offer replacement “Doonesbury” comic strips to newspapers that don’t want to run a series that uses graphic imagery to lampoon a Texas law requiring women to have an ultrasound before an abortion, executives said Friday.

A handful of newspapers say they would not run this week’s series, while several others said the strips would move from the comics to opinion pages or Web sites only. Many already publish the strip by Garry Trudeau on editorial pages, given that its sarcastic swipes at society’s foibles have a history of giving headaches to newspaper editors.

(click here to continue reading ‘Doonesbury’ Strip on Abortion Rankles Some Newspapers –

The always essential media watcher Jim Romenesko has more details about the content, or you can always just read the comics yourself at My local newspaper uses the truncated version of the Sunday strip, so I’ve long just read Doonesbury at the source.

Monday: Young woman arrives for her pre-termination sonogram, is told to take a seat in the shaming room, a middle-aged male state legislator will be right with her.

Tuesday: He asks her if this is her first visit to the center, she replies no, that she’s been using the contraceptive services for some time. He says, “I see. Do your parents know you’re a slut?”

Wednesday: A different male is reading to her about the transvaginal exam process.

Thursday: In the stirrups, she is telling a nurse that she doesn’t want a transvaginal exam. Doctor says “Sorry miss, you’re first trimester. The male Republicans who run Texas require that all abortion seekers be examined with a 10″ shaming wand.” She asks “Will it hurt?” Nurse says, “Well, it’s not comfortable, honey. But Texas feels you should have thought of that.” Doctor says, “By the authority invested in me by the GOP base, I thee rape.”

Friday: Doctor is explaining that the Texas GOP requires her to have an intimate encounter with her fetus. He begins describing it to her. Last panel, he says, “Shall I describe it’s hopes and dreams?” She replies, “If it wants to be the next Rick Perry, I’ve made up my mind.”

Saturday: Back in the reception area, she asks where she goes now for the actual abortion. Receptionist tells her there’s a 24-hour waiting period: “The Republican Party is hoping you get caught in a shame spiral and change your mind.” Last panel: She says, “A final indignity.” Receptionist replies, “Not quite. Here’s your bill.”

(click here to continue reading Some newspapers won’t be running next week’s “Doonesbury” strips | JIMROMENESKO.COM.)

The Washington Post interviewed Gary Trudeau:

Comic Riffs caught up with Trudeau to ask him about how he approached the abortion series, how his syndicate supported the idea — and whether the nation’s comics editors have grown more or less skittish about controversial content on “the funny pages.”

[Note: Some language that follows merits a “PG” rating.]

MICHAEL CAVNA: In 1985, you — in apparent agreement with Lee Salem [at then-Universal Press Syndicate] — decided to pull a week of abortion-related strips around the film “The Silent Scream.” So what’s different now? Obviously the angle and execution and point of satiric attack vary some, but what’s changed that spurred you to create an abortion narrative in this climate?

GARRY TRUDEAU: In my 42 years with UPS, the “Silent Scream” week was the only series that the syndicate ever strongly objected to. Lee felt that it would be deeply harmful to the feature, and that we would lose clients permanently. They had supported me through so much for so long, I felt obliged to go with their call.

Such was not the case this week. There was no dispute over contents, just some discussion over whether to prepare a substitute week for editors who requested one. [We did.]

I chose the topic of compulsory sonograms because it was in the news and because of its relevance to the broader battle over women’s health currently being waged in several states. For some reason, the GOP has chosen 2012 to re-litigate reproductive freedom, an issue that was resolved decades ago. Why [Rick] Santorum, [Rush] Limbaugh et al. thought this would be a good time to declare war on half the electorate, I cannot say. But to ignore it would have been comedy malpractice.

…Texas’s HB-15 isn’t hard to explain: The bill says that in order for a woman to obtain a perfectly legal medical procedure, she is first compelled by law to endure a vaginal probe with a hard, plastic 10-inch wand. The World Health Organization defines rape as “physically forced or otherwise coerced penetration — even if slight — of the vulva or anus, using a penis, other body parts or an object.” You tell me the difference.

(click here to continue reading THE ‘DOONESBURY’ INTERVIEW: Garry Trudeau says to ignore abortion-law debate would have been ‘comedy malpractice’ – Comic Riffs – The Washington Post.)

Doonesbury Isn’t On Vacation Today

Doonesbury isn’t on vacation today

Despite what the Chicago Tribune claims (click to embiggen).


Here’s a link to today’s seemingly innocuous Doonesbury. Weird. If the comic editors wanted to replace Doonesbury (or some other, lesser comic, like Prickly CIty), why not just do it?


Reading Around on October 5th

Some additional reading October 5th from 10:44 to 17:11:

  • Study Proposes New Interstate To Link Illinois, Indiana – Chicagoist – The proposed interstate, dubbed The Illiana Expressway, could cut congestion significantly along with providing a surge to the region’s economy. The proposed 25 to 30 mile stretch, operating as a tollway, would connect I-57 in Will County with I-65 in Lake County, Indiana and would cost as much as $1 billion.
  • Kenny Be: “I’d rather be gay than GLAAD” – Denver News – The Latest Word – In this week’s cover story, longtime Westword cartoonist Kenny Be strikes back at GLAAD, which recently named Kenny the “worst” of July. Pick up a copy, or click through here to see the full cartoon.

    It is always nice to be noticed, but for the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) to name me the “Worst of the National Media” for July of 2009 only reveals GLAAD’s ignorance, not mine.

  • Bloggers Must Disclose Payments for Reviews – – “The Federal Trade Commission will require bloggers to clearly disclose any freebies or payments they get from companies for reviewing their products.

    But the commission stopped short Monday of specifying how bloggers must disclose any conflicts of interest.”
    I haven’t gotten any schwagg, other than Amazon affiliate percentages, but I’m open to receiving free stuff in return for reviewing them…

Reading Around on August 22nd through August 24th

A few interesting links collected August 22nd through August 24th:


  • xkcd – A Webcomic – Tech Support Cheat Sheet – boy, is this the truth in flow-chart form or what.
  • 10 Photography Pet Peeves We’d Throw Down a Black Hole | Raw File | – “Here are our top photography pet peeves that we would like to throw into the abyss.” Agree with most, though pretty rare that I’m annoyed by a photographer’s watermark. If it covered the entire photo maybe, otherwise, not much of an issue.
  • No More Mister Nice Blog No, Wait, I Know This One–the Answer to “Who Does Joe Klein Think is the Crazy Left?” Glenn Greenwald, for fifty points. – This is a real life story, so it doesn’t exactly have a point, or a moral, or even a conclusion except to say that the most striking thing of all about Klein’s attitude towards me and presumably to his other readers was his assumption that although he’s famous, and important, and people read his work that we read it as though it were a continually scrolling chyron at the bottom of a busy news screen and that we have no memory of what he has said, or done, or stood for. …He thought he could tell me that his argument with Glenn was something other than it was and that I couldn’t go back, for myself, and review the evidence. Klein’s Klein-line is that the parts of his past where he shilled for the Iraq war, where he covered for the excesses and abuses of the Bush Administration, where he played Hugh Hewitt’s favorite “I ustabee a liberal but these dudes are crazee” guest can be forgotten because today he wrote something supportive about Obama’s health care plan.
  • Joe_Lieberman_Escapes.jpg

Looking for Calvin and Hobbes

Looking for Calvin and Hobbes: The Unconventional Story of Bill Watterson and His Revolutionary Comic Strip (click to pre-order from Amazon)
Calvin and Hobbes was that rare newspaper comic – smart, funny, and not cloyingly cutesy. And rare also in that once Bill Watterson grew tired of creating it, he stopped, and dropped out of the public eye. No recycled Peanuts here.

For ten years, between 1985 and 1995, Calvin and Hobbes was one the world’s most beloved comic strips. And then, on the last day of 1995, the strip ended. Its mercurial and reclusive creator, Bill Watterson, not only finished the strip but withdrew entirely from public life. There is no merchandising associated with Calvin and Hobbes: no movie franchise; no plush toys; no coffee mugs; no t-shirts (except a handful of illegal ones). There is only the strip itself, and the books in which it has been compiled – including The Complete Calvin and Hobbes: the heaviest book ever to hit the New York Times bestseller list. In Looking for Calvin and Hobbes: The Unconventional Story of Bill Watterson and His Revolutionary Comic Strip, writer Nevin Martell traces the life and career of the extraordinary, influential, and intensely private man behind Calvin and Hobbes. With input from a wide range of artists and writers (including Dave Barry, Harvey Pekar, Jonathan Lethem, and Brad Bird) as well as some of Watterson’s closest friends and professional colleagues, this is as close as we’re ever likely to get to one of America’s most ingenious and intriguing figures – and a fascinating detective story, at the same time.

Only 3,160 Calvin and Hobbes strips were ever produced, but Watterson has left behind an impressive legacy. Calvin and Hobbes references litter the pop culture landscape and his fans are as varied as they are numerable. Looking for Calvin and Hobbes is an affectionate and revealing book about uncovering the story behind this most uncommon trio – a man, a boy, and his tiger.

“The Complete Calvin and Hobbes (Calvin & Hobbes) (v. 1, 2, 3)” (Bill Watterson)

You can read a weeks worth of the strip at the GoComics website

Hack It Up

Still-President Bush will be stuck in our collective craw for another 70 some days.

Hack it Up

Hack it Up

Pat Bagley
[From Salt Lake Tribune Home Page – Salt Lake Tribune]

If we’re lucky, Bush will accept an early buyout, with full pension of course, and leave the White House sooner than that.