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The Non Sequitur you may not have seen

Last week I reported that several papers were opting to run a substitute Non Sequitur because it merely mentioned the word Muhammad. You can see the “offending” comic here.

I can report that the Salt Lake Tribune ran the substitute. I believe that the joint operating agreement between the Trib and the Deseret News covers the comics, so the likelihood that both the Salt Lake City daily papers pulled Wiley’s strip is pretty high. Over on GoComics, in the comment under Wiley’s strip fans reported that other papers included:

  • Arizona Republic
  • Arizona Star
  • Austin American-Statesman
  • Boston Globe
  • Chicago Tribune
  • Dallas Morning News
  • Datona Beach News-Journal
  • Philadelphia Inquirer
  • Salt Lake Tribune
  • San Francisco Chronicle
  • San Jose Mercury
  • Seattle Times
  • Syracuse Standard
  • Washington Post

So far that’s 14 of the “less than 20,” but when you look at the papers, – these are not small markets. Millions of people did not see Wiley’s cartoon.

In the comics at, Wiley urged his fans who’s paper’s had ran the alternative to contact the editor.

For those of you whose paper ran the alternate edition, I strongly suggest you contact the editor and voice your opinion on the matter. They are the ones who need to hear it, as they are the ones who made the decision.

Community Comments

#1 Charles Brubaker
@ 8:33 am

My paper doesn’t run Non Sequiturs on Sundays (only Mon-Sat) so I didn’t see this until now.

I think its the giraffe, BTW.

#2 Milt Priggee
@ 9:28 am

Looks like Wiley has a fine entry for the Golden Spike Awards.

#3 L.E. Green
@ 9:37 am

Here in Toronto, the Toronto Star published the original. Quite funny and witty. Since when has the name Muhammad been out of play as well?

#4 Rich Diesslin
@ 11:32 am

That’s one interesting park. ;)

I’m not offended by the cartoon and I’m not offended by newspapers not running it. They pay for the cartoons, it’s their choice … they have to decide who gets more upset, some of the loyal cartoon fan base who’s denied a day’s cartoon (or just denied “this” cartoon if there’s a substitute) or some of the rest of their readership. I like that Wiley doesn’t mind pushing the envelop on occasion to keep editors on their toes and thinking about the cartoons they print. Maybe which way they decide to go is less important than that they are making decisions.

Editors generally have a no-win position with us because if a cartoon is clearly offensive and the run it they they weren’t doing their job (taking free speech too far) and if it’s tame but potentially controversial (like this one) and they don’t run it, they aren’t doing their job (not taking free speech far enough).

#5 dan reynolds
@ 12:39 pm

Very nice drawing, Wiley. I especially like the cat on the hot tin outhouse roof.

#6 Tom Racine
@ 1:22 pm

San Diego Union Tribune wussed out, and fired off an email to ’em. For all the good it’ll do…but it felt good.

#7 Michael Fry
@ 1:45 pm

Interesting. Over the Hedge used the name Muhammad back in May on “Everybody Draw Muhammad Day” and there was nary a peep of protest. Of course, we don’t have Wiley’s list, but we’re in a few big markets. I suspect the reason is that his syndicate offered the papers a choice to opt out while ours didn’t.

#8 Jimmy Delach
@ 2:57 pm

The Tampa Tribune did not carry the Muhammad strip (the St. Petersburg Times did).

#9 Alex Hallatt
@ 3:40 pm

I guess the editors ran scared because the joke of the cartoon was about how you can’t picture Muhammad and the implication that though you can’t see him, he is in there somewhere (I’m guessing in the ice cream trolley).

It isn’t just mentioning Muhammed – the joke IS Muhammed.

This religious stuff drives me crazy.

#10 Stacy Curtis
@ 10:56 pm

I can see some editors comparing this “Non Sequitur” cartoon to a “Where’s Waldo?” feature.

Waldo ALWAYS appears in the “Where’s Waldo?” page, so I’m assuming an editor was afraid a depiction of Muhammad appears “hidden” in this “Non Sequitur” cartoon.

Is Muhammad coming out the trash can or maybe he’s hiding in the ice cream trolley?
Is Muhammad in the outhouse?
Maybe he’s the dog leading the man on the leash?
Perhaps if you turn the cartoon upside down, you’ll see Muhammad?
Or maybe it’s like one of those “Magic Eye” things?

It appears Wiley has gone out of his way to depict everyone in this park scene as being white.
It’s also a peaceful scene. No one getting mugged. No one doing any harm to anyone else.

If editors hadn’t pulled this cartoon from their newspapers, the point of this cartoon would not have been a success.

#11 Susan Abe
@ 4:07 am

The great thing about Muhammad is that because nobody is allowed to draw him, nobody really knows what he looks like. He could be any of the entities in the picture.

#12 Dan Olson
@ 7:16 am

In a desperate bid to keep readers the newspapers keep trying to become more and more inoffensive. The problem with that is that news is usually about controversial and offensive items. So they become less informative and relevant.

There go some more readers, we must have offended someone lets tone it down some more. Its a vicious circle.

The only thing I would have changed about Mr. Wiley’s cartoon would have been to include an ostrich with it’s head in the ground to represent newspaper publishers.

#13 queek d'mudgeon
@ 8:52 am

The Detroit Free Press ran the substitute as well.

#14 Mary Allen
@ 9:18 am

I’ll wager none of the papers covered the story of Molly the comic strip artist from Seattle, who was the one who came up with Everybody Draw Muhammad day being forced to go into hiding, change her name and identity by the federal government (on her own dime).

Kudos to the artist for showing support for free speech and free press, shame on those cowardly news papers.

#15 StewartIII
@ 10:07 pm

NewsBusters: WaPo Ombudsman Scolds Own Paper for Spiking ‘Where’s Muhammad?’ Cartoon — With No Prophet Image

#16 Jon Mean
@ 12:43 pm

Perhaps one day, when Sharia is the law of the land in the United States, all art will be outlawed. Even when Muhammad is not in the picture, he’s in the picture.

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