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Conservatives object to Opus strip about kids having two moms

Last Sunday’s Opus has riled those on the right as Berkley Breathed’s Sunday-only depicts two kids talking about David Dinkle having two moms and no dad. The last panel has one character saying, “Makes you wonder how he’ll do without a male role model in the house” while an beer drinking, cigarette smoking Steve (clad in a hat with bikini boobs) yells at a television that he threw through the window.

Jennifer Roback Morse, a conservative author/blogger on social issues has written a stinging rebuttal and concludes:

This is anti-male hate speech. If you doubt this, try reversing the images. Suppose he had drawn a cartoon featuring an innocent white male, minding his own business off-stage. Suppose he then showed an unattractive, stereotypical lesbian or gay man. The Lambda Legal Society would go ballistic.

It is time for women who love men to go ballistic. No doubt, many embittered women will complain that all men are exactly as the cartoonist depicted them. For every one of those women, there are easily five or more who appreciate the contributions the men in their lives have made to their families. I know that I donâ??t appreciate the implicit attack on my husband, my father, my brothers, and my brothers-in-law. These fine men serve their families and protect the weak.

Another writer in the American Chronicle also suggests readers write complaints to the papers that run Opus and ask that it be dropped and provides email addresses to the editors of major newspaper feature editors.

Community Comments

#1 Charles Brubaker
June/12/2007
@ 7:39 am

The response is VERY similar to an incident resulted from the “Postcards from Buster” episode that also featured lesbian moms.

No drunk dads throwing televisions out the window, though.

#2 Jarrett
June/12/2007
@ 8:04 am

It’s a cartoon…as soon as we find ourselves and our lives being troubled by funny inked pictures and words…that is the day we must throw ourselves out a window…or atleast hope we have someone who loves us enough to do it for us.

Jarrett
The Pursuit of Mandy
http://www.thepursuitofmandy.com

#3 Alan Gardner
June/12/2007
@ 8:25 am

Don’t diminish the power of cartooning by saying, “it’s a cartoon.” Cartooning isn’t just funny pictures – it’s vehicle for dialog, communication, ideas and opinions. If you don’t believe that, no one outside the cartooning community will believe it either and the art will continue to be dismissed to just juvenile “stuff.”

#4 Jarrett
June/12/2007
@ 8:52 am

Alan, I do believe cartooning is important. I have been drawing for 29 years so far and I’m only 31. But to let a cartoon strip anger you and actually drive you to the point where you try and get it dropped…come on…there are much greater things to rally for all in arms reach. There’s no diminishing, but it is what it is… I don’t think cartooning is being dismissed to just juvenile â??stuff.â? However, I’d rather have the world think that than have a witch hunt on something as riduculous as one cartoon.

Jarrett
The Pursuit of Mandy
http://www.thepursuitofmandy.com

#5 Ted Slampyak
June/12/2007
@ 9:09 am

How silly of Morse to complain about the negative depiction of heterosexual males. I guess it got her more publicity. I’d have complained about the tired, worn-out gag I’ve seen for ten years now — but I guess that’s another topic entirely…

#6 Jarrett
June/12/2007
@ 9:22 am

I think if he is going to go down for this, we should charge him with wrongful depiction of a Chicago Cubs fan also…they all will want his head I’m sure…

Jarrett
The Pursuit of Mandy
http://www.thepursuitofmandy.com

#7 Alan Gardner
June/12/2007
@ 9:37 am

You’re right on Ted. That was to me the most egregious violation was a gross (and inaccurate) stereotype for a gag he’s used over and over and over and… well over.

#8 John
June/12/2007
@ 10:07 am

I agree — a clear lack of originality all around. Breathed with the middle-aged frat boy routine and Morse with the tiresome “suppose we reverse the images” tripe. But in the end, I do think the Opus cartoon made its point through comic exaggeration. Morse’s comic exaggeration was neither helpful nor, I’m guessing, intended.

#9 Jeff Koval
June/12/2007
@ 11:25 am

Steve Dallas has always been unstable anyway.

#10 Alan Gardner
June/12/2007
@ 11:33 am

And to muddy this whole thing up even more, didn’t Steve appear in one of the last Outland strips sitting on a bus holding hands with a Doonesbury character asking if they should marry (or elope)?

#11 Garey Mckee
June/12/2007
@ 4:12 pm

I’m amazed at this entire turn of events surrounding this particular Opus strip. Heck I was just happy to see Binkley again (touched on that in a previous comment).

Morse is reading way too much into this gag, and perhaps projecting her own baggage onto the framework of the strip. But as cartoonists, the reading public are not our puppets. They are going to see what they are going to see in your writing and drawing wether you intend it or not.

For what it’s worth, I thought it was one of the more focused and sharp Opus strips to date.

#12 Jeff Stanson
June/12/2007
@ 6:36 pm

Who would have expected anything different of the Opus strip? Its hallmark is ugly depictions of ugly characters in ugly situations, which is why I can’t believe newspapers give it so much space in their Sunday comics when every other feature, including those far more pleasing to the eye and sensibilites, are being shrunk to nothingness.

#13 Rich
June/12/2007
@ 8:10 pm

Time for women who love men to go ballastic? Wow! Come on guys, who wouldn’t want this? I sense a good old-fashioned bra burning!

Back to reality though, I think you nailed it Jeff.

#14 Larry
June/13/2007
@ 1:20 am

I actually met Mr. Breathed and his family a few weeks ago at a book signing in Brentwood, CA. All you have to do is take a look at the wonderful wife and two children he brought with him (which I had the opportunity sitting next to), and you could clearly see that he was a good father. That’s the biggest irony of them all, if not for the fact that feminists have attacked him recently over the very book I was getting singed by Berke, “Mars Needs Moms.” Apparently, they complained how it would make mothers with careers feel guilty because it depicted the main mother nearly sacrificing herself to protect her son.
FYI, check out the comment I posted on the Townhall.com article (under “Larry”), where I made a fairly humourous reference to same-sex characters in Japanese manga, and probably with some bad taste, tentacle porn. You’ve been warned.

#15 Mike Gold
June/13/2007
@ 3:15 pm

I’m a white, heterosexual husband, father, brother and brother-in-law, and I wasn’t offended by this week’s Opus in the least. What does offend me are people to go to such infantile extremes to “legitimize” their hatred of gays and lesbians. Just own up to it: you want homosexuals to stop being who they are, and any attempt to portray them as human beings is loathsome to you.

#16 Rich
June/13/2007
@ 5:15 pm

Rather than hate speech it seemed to me Jennifer Morse was saying that special interest groups have all kinds of folks jumping to their defense while more traditional groups do not. I believe you just proved her point.

#17 Garey Mckee
June/13/2007
@ 6:29 pm

I’m a total lesbian and I loved the strip. LOL! Seriously, I believe wether you hated the strip, liked the strip, or even just tolerated the strip you all READ the strip. Therefor I think it has served it’s intended purpose remarkably well.

#18 Mike Gold
June/14/2007
@ 8:43 am

So-called “traditional groups” certainly do have their supporters, and you just proved that point, sir. You also have all sorts of highly vocal, highly organized religious groups working very, very hard to deny Americans their most basic rights, justifying their bigotry with “well, we’re the majority so screw them minorities.”

A person’s sexual orientation is NOT your business, and it is certainly NOT the governments’.

#19 E Gamauf
June/14/2007
@ 3:58 pm

Isn’t it incredible when even cartoon characters are vetted for political content by whacked-out fringe groups?

Anyone who objects to this great bit by Berkeley Breathed probably does not read Opus to begin with & is trying to whip something up in order to get their name noticed – because they are hard pressed to create original content themselves!

The way around that is to kvetch about people who DO have that capacity.

Why in the world should anyone care what a conservative blogger with a dollar ninety eight computer & a webpage writes?

Can’t have an ironic moment anymore – it might offend the humor-challenged ideologue.

#20 The Daily Cartoonist | News and blog about comic strips, editorial cartoons, cartoons
January/2/2008
@ 1:41 am

[…] In the first of two controversies involving Berkeley Breathed this year, conservatives around the country took issue with an Opus strip depicting a character having two moms. […]

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