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Local View: Activists ruined the fun, so thank heavens for funny pages

A while back the News Tribune published letters from readers regarding its comics-page offerings. (The letters included one on April 26 headlined, "Too many 'funnies' just aren't funny.")

Well shucks, I, too, am a cartoon buff; it's one of my favorite sections of the newspaper, especially on Sundays. This passion goes back to my childhood in the 1950s when I was tasked with hiking to the local store to purchase the Sunday paper. I couldn't wait to get home and read the "funny pages."

In those days were bygone strips like "Little Orphan Annie." "Joe Palooka," "Steve Canyon," "Little Lucy," "Mutt and Jeff," "The Boarding House" (with Major Hoople), "Li'l Abner," "Andy Capp," "Popeye," and "Little Archie." (I still think Betty was hotter than Veronica!)

Oh, the memories!

Perhaps from my opinions published in the News Tribune people regard me as a pundit. But I am better known by family and friends as a punster. And the lamest of of my puns, which evoke many groans and guffaws, alas, are the best. My opinions, of course.

Therefore, my favorite cartoon strips today are "Pearls before Swine," "Zits," and "Pickles." Inane is my game, and punning is cunning to those afflicted with this malady.

"Why do frogs make such good employees?"

"Because they do what they're toad!"

Back in the '70s, I was a big fan of "Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In" TV show. It was innocuous comedy, clever, and tactfully poked fun at all peoples, whatever their ilk. Americans weren't so paranoid or politically correct; they checked their pitchforks at the door in those days.

Activists today have ruined all the fun, and you can't tell a joke anymore without offending someone. I don't even watch the late-night shows on TV anymore because they've become so politically bent.

So, thank heavens for the newspaper's funny pages nowadays, one of the few places I can escape to for a few chuckles.

Dennis Cooke of Proctor is a songwriter and frequent contributor to the News Tribune Opinion page.