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Opus pulled from Post … again

» Last Sunday’s Opus did not run in the Washington Post who opted for substitute. According to columnist Gene Weingarten, the editors felt that it might be insensitive to certain readers. The cartoon depicts Opus, Bill the Cat standing on an electric car mooning posters of Exxon executives, Dick Chenney and an Middle Eastern man. The comic can be seen on Salon.

Community Comments

#1 Wiley Miller
July/10/2008
@ 9:18 am

And they saw the worst case scenario of running that cartoon (as every other newspaper did) would have been….?

#2 Josh McDonald
July/10/2008
@ 9:19 am

Shouldn’t that be, “…might be insensitive to certain sponsors”?

#3 Ted Rall
July/10/2008
@ 9:34 am

When in doubt, Gene Weingarten has repeatedly sided in favor of censorship when it comes to controversial cartoons. In one respect I agree with him that censorship can be a good idea: his column ought to be censored out of the paper. He’s a two-bit hack in a world where most hacks rate three.

#4 Rick Stromoski
July/10/2008
@ 9:35 am

I find every Opus strip offensive simply because it takes up two whole spaces on the comic page.

#5 Matt Bors
July/10/2008
@ 10:00 am

Rick,

Don’t blame him. Soon it will take up three, then four spaces as the space allotted to comics continues to shrink.

Papers may be s big as an Opus comic soon.

#6 Wiley Miller
July/10/2008
@ 10:34 am

“When in doubt, Gene Weingarten has repeatedly sided in favor of censorship when it comes to controversial cartoons.”

First of all, how does anyone know a cartoon is controversial unless it runs?

Second, controversy SELLS newspapers.

#7 Milt Priggee
July/10/2008
@ 10:58 am

Second, controversy SELLS newspapers.

That’s right Wiley- but newspaper editors aren’t interested in selling newspapers.

What was once good is now bad….up is down …left is right and right is wrong.

Now that the offending images can easily be found online, editors only embarrass themselves and reinforce in readers minds that newspapers are not the guardians of free speech.

#8 Aaron Taylor
July/10/2008
@ 11:01 am

“And they saw the worst case scenario of running that cartoon (as every other newspaper did) would have beenâ?¦.?”

Many a war has started by mooning. Haven’t you seen Braveheart?

#9 Mark R. Engel
July/10/2008
@ 12:02 pm

“insensitive to certain readers.” I guess EXXON execs and Dick Cheney read the Washington Post.

Think they read the comics?

Think they read the comics and don’t already know the country in general thinks like Opus and company?

#10 J.G. Moore
July/10/2008
@ 12:08 pm

Wow. That comic ran in the Indianapolis Star. The Star is verrrrrry conservitive. It was a fuuny cartoon. I guess the Washington Post is verrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrry conservitive. I know the Washington Post stock price is large, (WPO = $592.00) Money will always “be down” with money. WPO was just looking out for HAL and XOM.

#11 Beth Cravens
July/10/2008
@ 12:17 pm

Just another case of cutting off your nose to spite your face. That cartoon was no more controversial than most of the crap on TV. Bad judgment call Mr. editor.

#12 Garey Mckee
July/10/2008
@ 12:23 pm

” find every Opus strip offensive simply because it takes up two whole spaces on the comic page.”

And Rick, what is even WORSE is that this particular Opus strip in question was just one big panel.

But honestly, I didn’t even think of this Opus strip as being offensive in any way. With gas at the price it’s at now, how can oil companies, suppliers AND facilitators NOT expect to be a target of satire?

#13 Tom Heintjes
July/10/2008
@ 2:02 pm

Dumb decision. My only problem with the cartoon was the idea that powering an electric car costs $0. ALL energy has a cost, but I don’t mean to put too fine a point on Breathed’s concept.

#14 J Read
July/10/2008
@ 3:18 pm

Actually, my friend Tom, Breathed’s cartoon is showing a fill-up (of gas, presumably) for the electric car is zero. I don’t think he’s implying that there would be zero cost for the electricity to power it. Not to put too fine a point on it. :-)

#15 KRANKY (JOE RANK)
July/10/2008
@ 3:54 pm

You know, he may have a point. I get sick every time I see Cheney’s growling visage…even in a ‘toon!

#16 Malc McGookin
July/10/2008
@ 5:24 pm

Editors don’t care about increasing their circulation, the growing number of excuses for plummeting readership allows them to blame everything from ipods to the internet. What newspapers are about these days is advertising..

I didn’t realise it until a couple of weeks ago, but I haven’t bought a newspaper in over FIVE YEARS.

A unique and successful comic strip in a newspaper would go a long way to establishing that paper’s personality and provide a powerful reason for readers to buy that paper specifically. Problem is, in a one paper town, editors don’t see the need to compete.

There’s no real prospect of a superb and unique strip appearing on the horizon any time soon. Cartoon features in the US are all syndicated and the same feature can be seen in any one of five, six or seven local papers.

Opus should have launched as a web-only or single-paper strip, THAT would have been ground-breaking and would have changed the industry for the better- forever.

Comics saving newspapers? It’s not some airy fairy concept. On more than one occasion, an ailing TV network has been saved not by the introduction of a powerful anchor man or a hit show like Seinfeld, but by a cartoon/ puppet character like Roland Rat who single-handedly save the GM-TV network in the UK.

The Simpsons is credited with “saving” the FOX network in the same way.

Problem is, the concept of a great strip cartoonist being paid well to appear in only one big newspaper is still dismissed as heresy in the US (in the UK, of course, it is the norm).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roland_Rat

#17 John Cole
July/10/2008
@ 5:29 pm

… assuming someone *else* buys the solar panels and converter, Mr. Read.

I stopped reading Breathed years ago, after Binkley’s closet shut for good.

#18 John Cole
July/10/2008
@ 5:38 pm

Oops: “Inverter.”

Obviously, I still don’t read Breathed.

#19 John Cole
July/10/2008
@ 8:22 pm

… A-a-a-and …

The car in the strip is ID’ed as a “hybrid,” and therefore must by definition also use gas engine, and THEREFORE must also be fed liquified and refined dead dinosaur juice on occasion.

I’m guessing maybe ol’ Berk is referencing the new Toyota Prius PHEV, which has a larger battery pack than the regular Prius and can be recharged using a 120-volt outlet. It can run longer on its electric motors, but still also need gas to get around.

Bottom line: Energy isn’t free.

What is this? A Car & Driver forum? OK, I’m done.

#20 Carl Moore
July/11/2008
@ 1:15 am

Like most of Breathed’s stuff, the mooning bit is simply juvenile and stupid.

#21 Mike Witmer
July/11/2008
@ 11:58 am

Juvenile? Here we go again. It’s a comic strip!

#22 John Read
July/11/2008
@ 1:58 pm

I don’t think mooning Cheney is juvenile. I think it would be the appropriate response to meeting him face-to-face.

#23 Garey Mckee
July/11/2008
@ 4:47 pm

” donâ??t think mooning Cheney is juvenile. I think it would be the appropriate response to meeting him face-to-face.”

Wouldn’t that technically be butt-to-face?

#24 Matt Bors
July/11/2008
@ 6:15 pm

butt-to-buttface

#25 Abell Smith
July/11/2008
@ 6:32 pm

Mooning IS juvenile and stupid…

Now, if Bill was telling a senator to “go @#$$ himself” and then shooting a guy in the face, that would be more reflective of the respect owed to the office of the Vice Presidency…

#26 Phil Wohlrab
July/11/2008
@ 6:33 pm

The mooning isn’t so bad, but
I’ve never been a fan of sticking out your tongue and going “THBBT!”
Stupid and Juvenile yea, but it’s just dumb.

#27 Susan Abe
July/12/2008
@ 3:59 am

Just at a guess, I’d suspect that the Indianapolis Star doesn’t have employees working in the Middle East, and that the Washington Post does. I’d also suspect that very few Middle Eastern countries have embassies within the Star’s delivery area.

I don’t think I’d have pulled the strip, myself — if perpetuating an ugly nationalist or ethnic stereotype was unacceptable on the comics page, I think I’d pull the Asian-kid-LOVES-math-so-much-he-volunteers-for-summer-school story line in “Curtis” first. (Come on, Billingsley, you don’t seriously expect us to think that’s a coincidence? The first Asian character I can remember who even gets to speak?) And nationalist/ethnic stuff in cartoon form doesn’t seem to have triggered violence like religious stuff has.

On the other hand, Daniel Pearl â?? and an appallingly large number of other journalists who were alive and working a few years ago â?? are verrrrrrrrrry, verrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrry dead. (Asian-American middle-schoolers almost never kill employees of newspapers.)

#28 frank white
July/14/2008
@ 10:15 am

I have counted twenty three reasons why Bloom County/Outland/Opus are the worst strips EVER!!

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