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Tuesday’s “Love is” comic panel seen as contributing to rape culture

The long running Love Is comic panel featuring a naked, prepubescence man and woman expounding on what love is has created a stir when Tuesday’s caption read, “Love is… knowing that ‘no’ means ‘maybe’ and ‘maybe’ means ‘yes'”. Many interpreted the caption as supporting rape culture and violence against women and according to the Huffington Post took to social media to complain.

Kim Bellware of the Huffington Post asked the syndicate Tribune Content Agency for a response. TCA responded:

“To Our Clients and Readers:

Tribune Content Agency has removed from its content system a ?Love Is? comic panel dated Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2014, because it used inappropriate language that could be interpreted as a reference to violence against women. The cartoon does not reflect the high editorial standards we have in place and work vigilantly to maintain. The distribution of the cartoon resulted from a breakdown in our editing procedures, and we apologize for the error and any offense it caused.”

It’s hard to defend the cartoon as being anything other than a bad cartoon given today’s sensitivities. What surprises me in cases like this is that the comic is produced by two individuals, reviewed by a syndicate editor, plus reviewed by the newspaper editors. How did something like this strip get through so many pairs of eyes without someone say, “wait!” But maybe it was precisely because this panel’s historical tone and message has been so heavy with benign, saccharine-esque “puppies are cute” and “sunshine is wonderful” messages that everyone in the production, editing, publishing chain just wasn’t pay attention.

Community Comments

#1 Terry LaBan
October/17/2014
@ 7:20 am

Little behind the 8-ball on this one. But then, they’re probably just rerunning cartoons from 1966.

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