Friday, September 13, 2013
Does an Anti-God Comic Strip Belong on the Funny Pages?
The above comic strip, drawn by cartoonist Dan Piraro, appeared in about 350 newspapers on Wednesday, September 11. In my area it appeared in the Deseret News.
As to be expected in our politically correct world, Mr. Piraro thinks nothing about presenting a cartoon making fun of people who believe in God. The message of this cartoon is clearly that people who believe in God are just as backward as people that worship volcanoes. If you were to look back through Piraro's nearly 30 years of Bizarro panels, I doubt you would find any comics poking fun at gays, minorities, or Muslims. Some topics are taboo. Other topics are clearly fair game.
In Piraro's October 29, 2007 comic, titled "Scariest Halloween Costumes of 2007," he shows a picture of a young couple with many children with the caption "Couples ignoring population crisis." I remember writing to him back then and suggesting that a scarier picture is a "child with single mom and no father in his life." As with many liberals, Piraro is scared of large families and thinks something is wrong with people who make such choices.
Piraro is upfront and candid in pushing his pro-atheist beliefs in his blog (see http://bizarrocomics.com/2013/09/11/sins-of-comedy) about his volcano comic. He even states that he is sure it will offend some people.
Comic strips have a decades long tradition of poking fun at our failings and giving us a smile or chuckle. They also are a great way to comment on human nature and society. I enjoy many of the Bizarro comics. However, I question whether a comic strip that finds it appropriate to insult religious people is a good fit for the funny page of a family newspaper. Would it be okay to have a pro-atheist message as part of a Sesame Street episode? How about if an elementary school teacher shared this comic with all the students in his/her class?
Wouldn't this comic strip be a better fit for a more avant garde paper? Does it belong on a page that is read by children? Do parents care about the content of the comic strips their children read?
I am tempted to contact Paul Edwards, the Deseret News Editor (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Richard Hall, the Deseret News Managing Editor (email@example.com) and asking them if it is time to find a different comic that is better suited for the families that read the funny page in their newspaper that is family focused.
What do you think? Am I making a bigger deal of this than it is? I am not saying that Piraro should be censored from expressing his liberal, atheistic views, I am just saying that it should be presented in a different venue, where people expect such controversial opinions.