Well, we’re about as deep into summer as we’re going to get. In fact, this is my last week of blogging before I go on vacation until Labor Day. So let me use this opportunity to address a topic of almost no importance whatsoever: the funny pages.
When I was a mite, my mother used to remark that I was the only person she had ever met who laughed out loud at the funnies. It’s true: I do. I laugh easily anyway and I really do like the comics. (The one below, for instance, cracked me up big-time.)
But leftists ruin everything they touch – and the funnies are no exception. Though even in the old days, there were political cartoons mixed in with the straight comics (Pogo on the left; Lil Abner on the right) it seems to me it was really Doonesbury that opened the floodgates. I’m not saying Doonesbury wasn’t funny at its best. It was – though it’s become a crushing bore recently. But even when it was funny, it was obnoxious to have someone preach his politics at you while you went in search of a mild chuckle. Some papers put the strip on the editorial page, which I always thought was exactly right. That’s where it belonged.
Because, to me, to pollute an innocent pastime with ideas likely to be offensive to half your audience is an act of egotism bordering on narcissism. To insult the president during an otherwise meaningless network TV mystery, or to put a dig in against some policy you don’t like in the midst of a Broadway musical, or to use some daft film comedy to advertise your opinion on gun control or global warming tells the audience, essentially, “My political point of view is so righteous that anyone who disagrees with it is beyond the pale and should not be partaking of this entertainment for civilized people.”
Since Doonesbury, too many of the comic pages I’ve encountered have been infested with sanctimonious and unnecessary political pronouncements. In one of the papers I get – one, I confess, that’s about as far left as it’s possible to be without actually sucking your thumb – there’s not only Doonesbury but the Latino-left and wholly unfunny La Cucaracha, the used-to-be-cute-but-increasingly-annoying Get Fuzzy and the feminist Home and Away which, like Sally Forth, features a eunuch husband and his liberated-read-bullying wife. After I complained about this in print – though probably not because I complained about it in print – they added a couple of right wing comics too: Mallard Fillmore for a while, now Prickly City.
But here’s a better idea: Just stop. Get rid of all of it, left and right. We don’t need to know the political opinions of our funnies writers anymore than we need to know how our actors vote. Truly. Bring on the guys who make all of us laugh. That’s what the pages are there for.
For instance, even in the same lefty paper, there’s Brewster Rockit: Space Guy! a hilarious and nonsensical send-up of Buck Rogers; Lio, a wonderful wordless strip about a monster-loving child; Zits, about raising a teenager; and Baby Blues about a family with young kids. All of these are cute and funny and appeal to a wide range of people without insulting anyone. Would it kill left-wingers to shut their faces for one section of the paper and fill the comic pages with more of the same?
And while they’re at it, could they dump the boring drama strips like Rex Morgan M.D. and gimme some of that Batman and Spiderman? I mean, I’ve listened to NPR and I know leftists think that boring equals serious… but really! It’s the funnies. Lighten up.