Sunday, October 19, 2003
Michael Getler, the Washington Post Ombudsman has an interesting column, in the Sunday edition’s normally dull Outlook section, concerning the paper’s decision not to run last week’s installments of the comic strip Boondocks.
Last week, web readers, when linking to the comic, found a straightforward, if abrupt, statement:
The Washington Post has decided not to publish this week's Boondocks strip. The comic will return to washingtonpost.com Oct. 19.
The paper was less straightforward with its hard copy readers. A Boondocks from 1999 was substituted for the 6 days of the Condoleezza Rice storyline:
On Monday and Tuesday, no notification ran that these were reruns. Beginning Wednesday, the paper printed a tiny line under the strip that said, "This strip has been previously published."
According to Getler, the Washington Post:
Has never before killed an entire week's worth of one comic strip.
And, according to the Universal Press Syndicate, was the only paper in the United States to pass on the Condi-themed strip.
One imagines Len Downie, the Post Executive Editor, ensconced on a red satin pillow as Getler quotes:
The Boondocks strips in question commented on the private life of the national security adviser and its relationship to her official duties in ways that violated our standards for taste, fairness and invasion of privacy…We edit all parts of the paper every day, including the comics, and do not usually notify readers about what we are not publishing or why.
Len, sweetheart, retract those claws and check your physical person for a pulse!
Trust me on this one, Len, without getting into unread footnotes, infighting or traditional as opposed to nontraditional hijackings, your typical male newsreader has, indeed, noticed the firm-bodied young black woman with the dead eyes of a predator who seems to always accompany our equally firm-bodied President.
Men, beasts that they are Len, have noted Dr. Rice’s overly close fitting wardrobe and spare use of cosmetics and they have, the cads, wondered about her private life* when she’s not playing the piano or dining at Gwen Ifil’s.
Is that so wrong, Len?
Even your Ombudsman seems to think you were a tad stuffy:
I also found the sequence of strips within the bounds of allowable satire… The "Boondocks" characters, and their creator, were being mischievous and irreverent, in their mind's view of the world, about a high-profile public figure, and that seems okay to me.
Related: Richard Blow's excellent Sex and Politics on TomPaine.com
*Do you eat snails, Antoninus?
Original Art: Universal Press Syndicate