Garry Trudeau Robert C. Maynard - Essay

Robert C. Maynard

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

On [May 29, 1973], The Washington Post and about a dozen other American newspapers incurred the wrath of hundreds of their readers by making the decision to omit, on grounds of fairness, a popular comic strip, "Doonesbury" by Garry Trudeau….

Doonesbury's well-earned popularity is based on the pithy way in which its characters sink their teeth into contemporary subjects. The strip is created with a sure-handed sophistication that is pointed even when it isn't funny.

The reason the Tuesday strip was dropped is that it was, in the opinion of the editors of The Washington Post, entirely too pointed and overstepped the bounds of decency, fairness and good judgment.

What Trudeau did was have his "WBBY" commentator give a little Watergate rundown which concluded with the judgment about a principal in the case as being "GUILTY! GUILTY, GUILTY, GUILTY!!"

Howard Simons, managing editor of The Washington Post, explained his decision to drop the strip by saying:

"If anyone is going to find any defendant guilty, it's going to be the due process of justice, not a comic strip artist. We cannot have one standard for the news pages and another for the comics."…

It has long been recognized that cartoons are very much the creation of their authors and the points of view they express are granted a special license…. Any number of strips have expressed a variety...

(The entire section is 593 words.)