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Trudeau overplayed his hand with Palin series?

I’ve taken a couple of respectful lumps for siding with the newspapers that opted to drop Doonesbury for the week. Now that I’ve seen the entirety of the storyline, I can see how a reasonable editor would say, “this is out of bounds.”

John Kass wrote an article for The Chicago Tribune about the whole episode. I can’t endorse everything he wrote (he comes to the issue from a very politically conservative position), but his last paragraphs sum up nicely how I’m feeling about this whole week with Doonesbury:

What really annoys me about all of this is that I’ve had to defend Sarah Palin. I don’t much like her. I don’t like her attempts to become the den mother of the tea party. She had a chance to cast herself as a serious person, but instead, she opted for celebrity and that mama grizzly survival show. She’s flaunted her lack of depth, proving she’s not ready for the presidency.

But Trudeau has overplayed his hand. This cheesy attack on her only makes the ineffectual Palin seem more powerful, influential and threatening, at least to the political left.

Community Comments

#1 Thomas Overbeck
September/16/2011
@ 9:31 am

Hooray for gocomics.com, that’s all I gotta say. :)

#2 Tom Heintjes
September/16/2011
@ 10:06 am

The more clever aspect of the Palin series is how it satirizes Roland Hedley and the media’s ability to shape information to fit their preconceived notions.

#3 Matt Bodkin
September/16/2011
@ 10:17 am

I agree. I thought the series was more about Hedly’s spin on the book. That he’s using actual Palin material is almost besides the point.

#4 Steve Skelton
September/16/2011
@ 10:19 am

Well, we’re all talking about it. Staying relevant as a cartoonist is harder than ever perhaps, so I don’t know if there really is a downside for Trudeau here. It seems we live in an age where relevance trumps virtue. Just ask Charlie Sheen.

#5 Stephen Beals
September/16/2011
@ 11:00 am

I appreciate Kass’ point. I just think the newspaper should have kept it. They underplayed their hand by not running a series which was, for once, ahead of most other media outlets in coverage.

Respectful lumps…very funny!

#6 Terry LaBan
September/16/2011
@ 11:46 am

The thing is, once the book comes out, EVERYONE’S going to be talking about what’s in it. Why penalize Trudeau because he’s doing it a few weeks early?

#7 Pete McDonnell
September/16/2011
@ 12:03 pm

Tom’s right, the material in the McGinnis book is just gist for the joke on how Roland Hedley (Stephen Colbert in khakis) is spinning it to fit his conservative POV. Anyway, Palin’s become a parody of an ex-politician as quasi-celebrity. She’s blurred the line on that so well herself, seems like she’s a fit source for comic strip sendups at this point. And can’t newspapers use some controversy to sell papers these days, even if it is on the “funny pages”?

#8 pete murphey
September/16/2011
@ 12:36 pm

Usually, what makes Trudeau so good is his ability to incorporate his political material as fuel for his character takes. But here, it strikes me that the Hedley jokes are an after thought to the Palin
slams. Since there’s so much good, documented and recent real stuff to attack her with, why sully your drawing board with such a rancid and questionable author ?

#9 Phil
September/16/2011
@ 1:34 pm

From here in Australia Sarah Palin and the Tea Party ARE a comic strip…talk about fear mongering…finally a cartoonist had the foresight to see that’s where they belong …in the funnies…:-)

#10 Kassie Schwan
September/19/2011
@ 8:43 am

I am a 40-year fan of Trudeau, and what bugs me is his “log-rolling” promotion of the book—he got the ms. right from McGuiness, and that makes creating this series of strips like shooting fish in a barrel. I mean, this is kind of like an appearance to promote the book on the Mike Douglas Show.

#11 Z Bicyclist
September/20/2011
@ 3:47 am

As a Trib and GoComics subscriber and Kass fan, I appreciate what the Trib was trying to do. Trudeau is staying relevant, the strips are funny, but that week was a week of editorial cartooning and belonged on the op-ed page. But you can’t just move it around all the time, and if it were on the op-ed page all the time people might think it represented Trib editorial policies.

Trudeau didn’t lose, either, as Steve Skelton noted above.

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