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Opinionated – The Not-So-Funny Pages

In 1843, the periodical Punch introduced the word cartoon to refer to comic drawings. By the mid-19th century, periodicals around the world were using cartoons to express publishers’ and cartoonists’ thoughts on politics. Ohio State University’s History Teaching Institute notes that editorial cartoons are based on current events and have an educational purpose as “[t]hey are intended to make readers think about current political issues.”

above Punch pages via the Internet Archive

But wait, I hear some of you say, cartoons are supposed to be funny!

Well, sometimes editorial cartoons are funny, but not always. If you want cartoons to be consistently funny, you’ll have better luck on the comics page with the likes of Mutts and Pearls Before Swine (I’d say Dilbert, too, before the last decade or so, but Scott Adams has been phoning it in for a while). On the opinion pages, though, is where you’ll find editorial cartoons, which may or may not involve humor, but will definitely have a point of view.

Brenda Looper, at The Arkansas Democrat Gazette, in praise of the editorial cartoonist.

Can you imagine the Watergate era without Herblock? World War II without Bill Mauldin? Heck, much of Arkansas politics, especially from Orval Faubus to Bill Clinton, without George Fisher?

That’s not a world I’d want to be in. I’ll take the occasional laugh, but without the message that makes me think, it can’t really be called an editorial cartoon.


Since she mentioned Dilbert here’s a couple opinions on that recent hubbub.

Like the humorist and social critic he is, Adams is being coy about why he thought “Dilbert” was one of the comic strips Lee Enterprises chose to discard.

Hudson Valley 360 touches on the Dilbert dilemma in an unsigned piece. 


above promo via

Way Out West in the Missoula Valley (about 120 miles nw of dear Mama’s birthplace):

But the real aspersion came from our friends at Fox News, who tied themselves in an elaborate pretzel attempting to infer that the loss of “Dilbert” was because creator Scott Adams penned some strips about “Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) issues” in the workplace.

In its story, Fox notes that Adams “said some newspapers voiced concerns after receiving complaints about the content, but he was not sure if that had anything to do with the removal of ‘Dilbert.'”

The Missoulian, a Lee Enterprises paper, weighs in with another unsigned piece.

In other words, Fox and Adams don’t know if Lee Enterprises canceled its subscription to “Dilbert” because of the “wokeness and anything that permeated from ESG,” but coincidence is causality. Or as a newsroom colleague of ours liked to say: I’m not sayin’… I’m just sayin’.

Community Comments

#1 Ken Kinnally
@ 11:30 am

Coincidence is not causality. Coincidence is just that, coincidence, until it is shown and then proven to be more than a coincidence by facts. Someone who works in a newsroom of all places should have a grasp on that.

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