Fetid Fishwraps

UPDATE: Here’s Monday’s subversive, unprintable horror:

Courtesy of Doonesbury.com (h/t Daphne)

For about the eleventy thousandth time in my life, I’m moved to deeply regret the long, miserable three years I spent faithfully delivering the Oregonian, although it was, much to my chagrin at the time, a heavier and more widely subscribed rag back then, in the 70′s.   Today, you could fold the Monday edition into a paper airplane and deliver it from a moving car, and they do.   But for tomorrow, they’ve found a way to make the nearly weightless product lighter still.  You see, the last remaining legacy from the early-80′s merger of the Oregonian and its afternoon competitor, the Journal, was a full two-page spread of comics, including that commie propaganda, Doonesbury.

The paper always had a prickly relationship with Garry Trudeau’s award-winning strip; howls from the right wing, beginning during Watergate, kept getting it bounced to the editorial page and back when it deigned to dabble in such “controversial” issues as the plain facts that, say, Nixon was a crook or that Reagan was a doddering moron.   You know, the sort of things you just don’t find in “Family Circus” or “Blondie.”  But now, Trudeau has gone a bit too far for the delicate sensibilities of the Oregonian’s editors, and instead of moving him to the editorial page, they are taking the unprecedented but undoubtedly frugal step of running reruns all next week.  Like they do with “Peanuts.”

What was Trudeau’s egregious offense against the fans of “For Better or Worse?”  He wrote a week-long series about Republican God-botherers and their newly-minted anti-abortion laws sweeping the old Confederacy, and dared to compare their mandated, medically unnecessary vaginal ultrasounds to rape.  Though such an uncomfortably factual likening can’t, in the eyes of the gutless editors, possibly go up alongside  “The Wizard of Id,” they’re so worried about the whole thing that they won’t even put it up between George Will and Charles Krauthammer.   Where’s Mary Worth when you need her?

Here’s their explanation:

“Doonesbury” is a venerable comic strip, and over the years we have (occasionally)  resisted calls to remove it or move it to the editorial page. The reason: It’s a comic strip and even though he delves into political satire, it is still a comic strip.

But in next week’s strip, “Doonesbury” author Garry Trudeau, in our judgment, went over the line of good taste and humor in penning a series on abortion using graphic language and images inappropriate for a comics page.

While we rarely pull strips for taste reasons, this was a clear call for the editors of the paper and for some other papers around the country, including the Los Angeles Times and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

With this cowardly, clueless statement the paper must be hoping readers forget that such silly censorship has also haunted those once-decent dailies throughout their rapid, Camille-like declines. One of the more hilarious examples was when humor columnist Dave Barry wrote a piece about circumcision in which he, quite unavoidably, used the words “penis” and “foreskin.”  Both the Oregonian and the Post-Dispatch immediately took to their fainting couches at such wanton pornography, so Barry  amended the article to describe the procedure as when a doctor “grabs hold of his little Oregonian and cuts off his Post-Dispatch.“  Due to buyouts, layoffs and attrition, the two rags can be forgiven for once again subjecting themselves to more well-deserved ridicule, since no one is around to remember the last time.

But that doesn’t make it any less lame.





  1. loretta says:

    Well, they just made Doonesbury more interesting and now people will be googling it to find the banned strips. Don’t they know that censorship only draws attention to something? duh.

    I am working on an essay for my much-neglected blog about The New Misogyny. It baffles me how the teabagger religilous strategy can do anything but create a whole new generation of feminists (my daughters’ ages) who have spent the better part of 20, 30 years taking their rights for granted and blithely achieving success in scholarship, careers and motherhood. Even our generation (born in 60s) had to fight for some equality in athletics, programs for girls (there weren’t any) and endless sexual harrassment, but we thought we were over the health related discrimination. Oh, except when you never got promoted because you might get pregnant…

    If this keeps up, there will be a gender gap in November to make the one in 92 (?) look like a rainy day.

    • cocktailhag says:

      Glad to see you’re writing something new…. Is my link still correct or do I need to change it? Personally, I’ve been horrified at the complacency among younger people about reproductive freedom; if this is the ass-kicking they’ve been needing, I’m glad. After all they’re the ones who will suffer, not those of us who fought these battles before.
      As for Doonesbury? It’s just like when Fox sued Al Franken over his soon-to-be-published book. “They just handed you a million dollars,” Arianna Huffington told Al, sounding as usual a little like Eva Gabor, but summing the situation up nicely.

      • loretta says:

        Your “retzilian.com” link goes to a furniture store, and I can’t believe they stole my name. It was totally original, too. Maybe I can sue.

        I will link my new eponymous blog – lorettadillon dot com, when I finally write my part stand-up comedy/part political analysis when I finish it.

  2. Teddy says:

    Good for Garry Trudeau for getting relevant again!

    And I’ll never spend another penny on that damn online Oregonian. I’m taping over the coinslot on my desktop Mac to I remember not to pay them for their content any more.

  3. Teddy says:

    Thanks to the Oregonian, though, for the mighty cute image of ‘Hag on her Schwinn with her newspaper bag slung over her shoulder….

    • cocktailhag says:

      Actually, my brother Turd and I pushed a grocery cart, because pretty much every house took the paper, and you couldn’t do it on a Schwinn. Times have indeed changed, but at least partly because the Oregonian got so lame that people didn’t want to pay for it.

      • Teddy says:

        I will always admire your parents, people I’ve never met, for the boundless creativity with which they named their offspring.

        • cocktailhag says:

          Actually, they gave us more prosaic, Catholic names; Turd is really Theodore Martin, and Butts is Andrew Jared. I’m the one who came up with the scatological substitutes back in the day.
          They still answer to them, so I stick with ‘em.

  4. daphne says:


    is the link to his homepage on Slate. I’ve been reading it (and other select comments) online since I cancelled my own less-than-stellar local paper in ’07. And there it is, the first of the much-hyped strips censored by various outlets.

  5. Ché Pasa says:

    I keep threatening to cancel my newspaper subscription for cause, and I never do it, even though the thing is nearly too skinny for the delivery person (a sixty-year old neighbor) to throw; it would blow away in a gust…

    BUT get this, they’re putting the profane Doonsbury episodes on the op-ed page, claiming the strips are just too… too… for the comics page.

  6. rukidding says:

    I’m happy to report that the Sacramento Bee didn’t censor Trudeau’s Doonesbury this week, albeit they shifted it to the Editorial Page with a semi-apologetic “explanation.” Well I take what I can get, but it’s more than annoying that the SacBee, amongst others, feels compelled (I guess) to *grovel* to the delicate “sensibilities” of the pearl clutching conservatives who’ll be “offended” by Trudeau. After all, conservatives have now been hard-wired by Rush Limbaugh, Fox “Nooz” et al, to “believe” in a fake “reality” that they’ve been brainwashed to believe is what’s “good” for all.

    So far I’ve found Trudeau’s strip to be pretty factual and TAME, and much less offensive that Daryll Issa’s Spanish Inquisition all male “panel” discussing women’s uteri & vaginas etc, not to mention way less offensive than Rush Limbaugh who suggested that Sandra Fluke provide him with pornographic sex tapes, along with calling her a slut and a whore several times.

    One wants to shout: what is WRONG with these people??? But hoo-boy, what’s wrong would fill an encyclopedia, and then some.

    I hope that this serves, if nothing else, as wake-up call to younger women that their rights CAN and WILL BE taken away at a moment’s notice should the MALE-dominated power structure decide that’s what THEY want.

    Don’t wish to sound mean-spirited, but I’ve long felt that the younger generations have taken way too much for granted. Sometimes a wake-up call is needed. This is that wake up call. I hope some are hearing it and responding appropriately.