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BYU newspaper talks about when it censors the comics

Brigham Young University’s student newspaper, The Daily Universe, periodically pulls and replaces comics when the subject matter runs contrary to the student’s honor code. A couple of days ago, they ran an editorial explaining why, but did not mention a particular instance.

Excerpt:

Currently, The Daily Universe includes six comic strips: Zits, Garfield, Get Fuzzy, Peanuts, Frank & Ernest and Dilbert, and two one-panel comics: Ziggy and Non Sequitur.

Judgment calls are made every day here at the paper and sometimes the strip for the day needs to be pulled for content, usually for “taking the Lord’s name in vain, sexual content and bathroom humor,” said Nicole Smith, advertising production supervisor for The Daily Universe. When this happens, a comic strip, usually from the previous Saturday, is inserted, sometimes causing a sequence problem in the story line. To prevent this from happening so often, several of the current comics will be replaced with less objectionable ones.

We anticipate some die-hard fans are going to groan at that news. Many people have favorite comics, using them as kind of a daily habitual fix, whether we laugh or not.

Whatever The Daily Universe decides to run instead of the current comics, let’s just all get along.

Before you get your socks in a knot about the issue, remember – they’re just comics. And of course, there’s always Sudoku and the crossword.

Community Comments

#1 josh
June/8/2007
@ 9:50 am

Hurray for censorship!

Seriously, though, I agree with Alan. I’d like to hear some specific examples before judging the judgers.

As a tangent, I believe Napoleon Dynamite was made by two former BYU students. PG-rating, and still the funniest movie I’ve seen in a long time.

#2 Charles Brubaker
June/8/2007
@ 9:53 am

College papers are generally more willing to run much sassier strips, so this is somewhat unusual practice.

#3 Alan Gardner
June/8/2007
@ 10:01 am

Here is what most people may or may not know about BYU – it’s a private university operated by the Mormon church. It has a pretty stiff set of rules (honor code) that students agree to before they are admitted (admission is very competitive).

I was the cartoonist at BYU’s sister college, Ricks College (since renamed to BYU-Idaho) and can say that it’s a very conservative atmosphere and the schools work very hard to make it a clean environment. BYU for years would run edited versions of Hollywood movies until a few directors got their noses bent out of shape.

I believe most papers have objections from time to time over the features they subscribe to. The Daily Universe, because of the environment that it runs in is probably a bit more conservative than most papers – and certainly more so than other college papers.

At least they’re open about it.

#4 Rich
June/8/2007
@ 12:26 pm

I have no problem with their practice nor find any problem with any other paper doing the same. Of the strips and panels they run, I can’t imagine that they’d pull very many of them.

Like Alan said, they are open about it and I get the impression that the paper is assuming the responsibility for their actions, unlike the editorial cartoon not pulled by whatever paper it was a few weeks ago (and then scapegoated the cartoonist for it).

I can see it now though, a paperback targeted just on the BYU campus “The Censored Cartoons of Frank and Ernest.” ;)

#5 Garey Mckee
June/8/2007
@ 5:49 pm

“Judgment calls are made every day here at the paper and sometimes the strip for the day needs to be pulled for content, usually for â??taking the Lordâ??s name in vain, sexual content and bathroom humor,â?

Yeah, none of my work would ever make it.

“Before you get your socks in a knot about the issue, remember – theyâ??re just comics.”

JUST comics?!? Ouch. I know this is the stigma of our field and I should be accustomed to it by now, but it still stings seeing it in print like that.

#6 Rich
June/8/2007
@ 9:42 pm

Yeah, the “just comics” comment does kinda hurt when they mean a lot to us! But, in it is a humility check ;) They aren’t JUST comics to cartoonists!

LOL about your comics not making it … but your probably wouldn’t want that audience either! (You would have to explain everything)

#7 Lamb Cannon
June/11/2007
@ 8:49 am

Of course, being a Mormon, we’d get our “socks in a knot”–thats clean! not taking the Lord’s name in vain (as creationists do every minute of every day but nevermindallthat)

as opposed to “underpants” as i’ve always heard it

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