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Sunday, May 29, 2005

The Unfunny Funny Pages

I started boycotting newspapers and television news in 2000 (except for an occasional WSJ). After going to school with journalism majors, I realized that I could probably figure out what is going on with more insight from a tea cup. I held off for the better part of five years. This was an important change for me because at the time I was receiving the WSJ, the NYT, and the Washington Post Weekly. I saw bias on nearly every page in nearly every story. I was unwilling to support newspapers and decided to boycott them just like I have boycotted Hollywood (I have not been to a theatre in over ten years).

About two months ago a couple of kids came by the house selling subscriptions to the local newspaper. It is a small-town rag so I bought three months. Well, it is just as stupid as I thought it would be. Besides, I really only like the editorial section and the comics.

From the editorial standpoint, they seem to have a good mix of leftists and rightists (I have given up expecting the libertarian POV in newspapers or on TV) so it is OK. What I am really disappointed in is the comics page.

It is getting to the point where the funny pages may as well merge with the op-eds. It is easy to poke fun at politics and politicians and if that is the intent, fine. What I have noticed however, is that many strips have turned into dramas. They lead you through the social problems of the characters and then a couple of days later they give you a punchline. I think that in the last month of daily reading, I chuckled twice: once at Dilbert and once at Peanuts. That's right, Peanuts. Neither strip was about the war in Iraq, or smoking, or single mothers, or childcare. There was no deeper meaning or message. They were simply funny.

Bloom County was able to be political and funny. Doonsbury was funny until Bill Clinton got elected, then it got boring. I don't even bother reading it. I think that the funny pages ceased being funny after Larson (The Far Side), Breathed (Bloom County), and Watterson (Calvin and Hobbes) retired. If you don't have to read the comics, don't. I will continue to endure them and keep you informed if they eventually entertain.


Blogger bob said...

Thanks for stopping by and offering a vote for the CU "faculty".
Have you read "Mallard Fillmore" lately? Subversive anti-liberalism.

6:26 PM

Blogger The Plumber said...

Yeah Bob, I have seen Mallard Fillmore in the past. In the newspaper I received at the time, it was where it ought to be: the editorial pages. My current newspaper does not carry the strip.
I liked it.

7:22 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mallard Fillmore isn't a comic.
It's a public relations device for the mentally challenged conservatives, much like Fox News Network.

The plumber is right that it belongs on the ed-op page.
The plumber is wrong to think it's actually funny, and since he's never wrong I'm sure he likes it for another reason.
The Plumber's christian anarchist friend.

10:47 AM

Blogger The Plumber said...

Now, now, anonymous

Pointing out the hypocrisy of the left is not that hard. What's not funny about hypocrisy? Trudeau points out the hypocrisy of the right, and it used to be funny.

P.S.: When I watched tv, I liked Fox News as well. That said, I only had CNN and MSNBC to compare it to. It wasn't a hard choice.

9:33 PM

Blogger Andrew Boucher said...

Hey plumber. Figured I'd drop in.

You nailed the triumvirate when it comes to the comics: Breathed, Larson and Watterson.

6:42 PM

Blogger The Plumber said...

Thanks for stopping by Andrew. Hopefully one day we will run into each other. Sen. Durbin's comments have compelled me to think about swallowing my libertarian pride and work for Rep. Musgrave's reelection next year. Who knows?

Triumvirate. Now there's a ten dollar word.

6:21 PM


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