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Garry Trudeau’s “I Am Not Charlie Hebdo” moment: Grandpa’s mind wanders sometimes

April 13, 2015

My latest blog post for the Independent Women’s Forum:

Doonesbury: The last time anyone read the strip it looked like this

Here he is, in a ramble of reminiscence just like Gramps with his pipe in front of the fireplace telling the young’uns gathered around at their college commencement about how when when he was a stripling at Yale back during the 1960s , his comic strip, Doonesbury, was was actually controversial:

“The strip was forever being banned. And more often than not, word would come back that it was not the editor but the stuffy, out of touch owner/publisher who was hostile to the feature.

“For a while, I thought we had an insurmountable generational problem, but one night after losing three papers, my boss, John McMeel, took me out for a steak and explained his strategy. The 34-year-old syndicate head looked at his 22-year-old discovery over the rim of his martini glass, smiled, and said, ‘Don’t worry. Sooner or later, these guys die.’

“Well, damned if he wasn’t right. A year later, the beloved patriarch of those three papers passed on, leaving them to his intemperate son, whose first official act, naturally, was to restore Doonesbury. And in the years that followed, a happy pattern emerged: All across the country, publishers who had vowed that Doonesbury would appear in their papers over their dead bodies were getting their wish.”

We durned hippies were shaking things up for them over-30 oldsters, weren’t we?

But now that Trudeau is 3 X 22–and Doonesbury is mostly remarkable these days as the comic strip with the oversize frame that nobody reads–probably because of its eye-glazingly politically correct harangues that pass for humor. There was that strip about Rolling Stone‘s shocking expose of “rape culture” at a UVA fraternity house–which ran on December 28, 2024, nearly a month after the Rolling Stone piece had been exposed as hokum. Grandpa’s forgetful sometimes.

Posted by Charlotte Allen


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