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Amy Lago Responds to Dropped Opus Flap

The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund has posted an interview Tom Spurgeon coducted with Amy Lago, editor of the Washington Post Writers Group regarding the dropped Opus comics back in late August and early September.

An excerpt:

SPURGEON: Are you worried about any of the potential free speech elements to this incident, that it might be harder to get certain kinds of satire into the marketplace?

LAGO: This isn’t a “free speech” story, because the government wasn’t involved. This is a business story. The only thing I’m worried about is our culture’s sudden need to feel offended at everything — to assume that someone is “against” you rather than “for” you and view such works in that light. And then to decide to take offense rather than to take time to ask, “What did you mean?”

I’m further worried about newspapers — if you’re not watching Comedy Central, especially programs like The Daily Show, then you’re probably not going to understand satire. And without satire as a comedic device, comics become lackluster and unappealing to the young and smart readers that newspapers are always claiming they want to attract.

Community Comments

#1 Brian Lager
September/24/2007
@ 8:18 am

Huh?

The only way to understand satire is by watching Comedy Central?

Peter Cook must be rolling in Dudley Moore’s grave.

#2 Scott Metzger
September/24/2007
@ 1:35 pm

“I’m further worried about newspapers…without satire as a comedic device, comics become lackluster and unappealing to the young and smart readers that newspapers are always claiming they want to attract.”

Right on the money. Newspaper comics editors need to start taking some risks if they want to attract a younger readership.

Of course that’s easier said than done, since newspaper readers tend to complain about things that ‘offend’ them rather than take the time to praise things they really like.

#3 Mike Witmer
September/24/2007
@ 1:51 pm

It’s sort’ve a catch 22. I’m sure the editors out there WANT to take a chance on edgy humor. But on the flipside of that, who wants to lose their job in an age where every reader out there is DYING to be offended.

http://www.pinkertonpark.com

#4 Garey Mckee
September/24/2007
@ 2:55 pm

I’m glad Amy Lago made the point clear on Tom’s free speech question. No body stopped Breathed from drawing the comics in question. A cartoonist has the right to draw or say anything he or she wants. But that doesn’t mean they have the right to have it published.

#5 Eric Burke
September/24/2007
@ 8:19 pm

Iâ??m further worried about newspapers â?? if youâ??re not watching Comedy Central, especially programs like The Daily Show, then youâ??re probably not going to understand satire. And without satire as a comedic device, comics become lackluster and unappealing to the young and smart readers that newspapers are always claiming they want to attract.

Seems like all the more reason to actually publish satirical cartoons. A disappointing response from what I think is the best eye of fresh talent currently working for a syndicate…

#6 Mike Lester
September/25/2007
@ 7:21 am

Amy’s right. Until satire and irony replace bad puns and sitcom humor, none of the demographic I’ve seen standing in line to buy Halo 3 have any reason to pick up a newspaper comic section.

#7 Garey Mckee
September/25/2007
@ 7:32 am

Comics killed by the plasma sword. Who woulda thunk it.

#8 richard blaine
November/26/2007
@ 12:41 pm

Late to join the fray. Ever wonder what we’re spending billions of bucks a month fighting terrorism and extremists around the world? It is so lawyers and add agencies can have the final say about free speech. Don’t get offended at me. We are the only country in the world that sends lawyers in with our army.

Anyone read “Fahrenheit 451” lately? Synopsis: In an effort not to offend anyone or group, books are banned and only government/lawyer sanitized television is authorized. Violators of this decree witness their homes/businesses being set alight (451 being the temperature that books burn at) before they are carted off to prison.

Twenty-plus years ago Breathed had a cartoon where the characters took offense at each other. Very funny then. Should be funny now.

Heck, I think I’m going to get a beer, light up a cigarette, listen to Richard Pryor’s “Bicentennial Niggar” on the turntable, thumb through an old “Mad Magazine” or “Harvard Lampoon”, and try to remember what freedom of speech, thought and press were like when I was in college in the â??70s. Hard to believe all those hippies are so uptight now.

The second best newspaper in the D.C. area is “The Onion”, which makes no pretense to be anything other than a satire of life.

#9 Becky
November/26/2007
@ 1:08 pm

“Life is offensive!” At which point all run off screaming in horror. Opus sums up the spectacle thus: “Offensensibility.”

We can burn a flag but can’t put down a burgha.

For those with a short memory, women burnt their burghas in Afghanistan to help light the way for U.S. helicopters making the first night medivac flights.

I read that in the Washington Post.

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