Doonesbury Cartoons Are Just Revealing the Real Texas Bullies

pencil and paperIt's the comic strip dozens of newspapers didn't want you to see. Why? Because it cuts a little too close to the truth, in my opinion. Gary Trudeau's "Doonesbury" cartoons lately have been bad PR for the Texas and Virginia lawmakers pushing sonogram bills. They make those lawmakers look like bullies.

And you know what? They are. I'm not surprised that some newspapers in Texas and Virginia refused the carry the cartoon. They may say the cartoon was in bad taste and indecent. I think it was just a little too accurate for their comfort. Take a look and see what you think.


Here's yesterday's controversial Doonesbury cartoon. And here's today's follow-up.

Take yesterday's strip: A woman comes in for an abortion and the receptionist sends her into the "shaming room" and informs her that "a middle-aged, male, state legislator will be right with you."Because isn't that what the sonogram bill is about -- shaming women out of getting an abortion? Isn't that what we've all been talking about for the past couple of weeks, the relentless slut-shaming of women by legislators and conservative pundits?

So that last panel would have been a funny one-liner (to some of us, anyway) but Trudeau takes it a step further today and actually has "Sid Patrick" (a stand-in for Sid Miller, one of the Texas state legislators who sponsored the sonogram bill), meet the woman in the shaming room. He asks her, "Do your parents know you're a slut?" Oh yeah, Trudeau went there.

The Ft. Worth Star-Telegram said they didn't publish the controversial Doonesbury cartoon because "Trudeau's language, accompanied by graphic images," was just as crude as Rush Limbaugh's attack on Sandra Fluke. They're talking about the word "slut," of course. But I think there's a problem of context that the editors are missing. There's an enormous gulf between the way Rush called Sandra a slut (repeatedly) and the way Trudeau lampoons the idea of a legislator calling a woman a slut, or implying that she is one. Can you see the difference?

So now every time someone, anyone, uses the word "slut" they're getting censored? What about "vaginal probing" -- it's vulgar if Gary says it, but not if it becomes a law? No matter. By censoring Doonesbury, the papers have actually given the strip way more publicity than it would have gotten otherwise. And we're definitely talking about it now.

Did you find the Doonesbury comics offensive? Do you agree with them?


Image via photosteve101/Flickr


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