Warning: Adult content in Doonesbury this weekOUR VIEW: Readers of Doonesbury no doubt noticed the adult nature of Monday’s comic strip — even more adult than usual for the oft-controversial, envelope-pushing cartoonist Garry Trudeau.
Readers of Doonesbury no doubt noticed the adult nature of Monday’s comic strip — even more adult than usual for the oft-controversial, envelope-pushing cartoonist Garry Trudeau.
Consider this a warning: The PG rating continues through the end of the week as Trudeau blasts away at Republicans and at a Texas law requiring ultrasounds prior to abortions. Such state laws have made headlines nationally, prompting Trudeau to delve into the taboo topic for the first time.
“I chose the topic … because of its relevance to the broader battle over women’s health currently being waged in several states,” Trudeau said last week in a Q&A with the Washington Post. “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 (and others) 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.”
A number of newspapers are ignoring Trudeau’s sometimes-shocking and questionably appropriate take, opting to publish replacement strips instead. About 30 to 40 papers asked about substitutes, according to Doonesbury distributor Universal UClick Syndicate. Doonesbury is published by about 1,400 papers.
Newspapers reportedly taking a pass include the Minneapolis Star Tribune and St. Paul Pioneer Press, both of which publish Doonesbury on their comics pages. Readers are being directed through Saturday to their Web pages instead.
The News Tribune has been publishing Doonesbury on the Opinion page since 2004, and this week’s strips are precisely the reason why.
After a lengthy conversation late last week — one of many such conversations at newspapers across the country — News Tribune Publisher Ken Browall and Editorial Page Editor Chuck Frederick decided to publish Doonesbury as usual this week. Typical of Trudeau, the strips are legitimate, if biting, political-social commentary, precisely what belongs on the Opinion page and the sort of content readers expect to find there.
No, not everyone will agree with what the strips have to say. But providing a forum for a diversity of views long has been a commitment of the News Tribune Opinion page. We prefer to encourage conversation rather than stifle it.
Still, considering the strips’ adult nature and Trudeau’s use of red-flag words like “rape,” “shaming wand” and “compulsory trans-vaginal exam,” this week’s Doonesbury offerings may be considered inappropriate for some audiences, especially younger readers.
Or perhaps they’ll provide an opportunity — a jumping-off point — for talking about an issue that may be uncomfortable but is important nonetheless.
Either way, parents and other adults are urged to use their discretion and supervision.