Doonesbury crosses the line

The most holy name of our Lord was dragged through the mud in a strip published in the August 7, 2009 issue of the Detroit Free Press, in the Editorial section.


Panel 1 Caption:

At 133 C Street, the elite conclave listens raptly… (outside view of small apartment building)

Pane 2 Caption:

“… as Senator X lays out his problem.”

Dialogue: “What to do about my soulmate’s husband?” (four men seated)

Panel 3 Caption:

“The family deliberates, evoking their heroes…”

Dialogue: “What would Jesus do?” (three men in shadow)

Panel 4 Caption:

“… a list that unfortunately includes Hitler and Mao.”

Dialogue: “Maybe we should whack him.”


I gotta admit, I don’t get it

Seems to me that the punchline is aimed at Hitler and Mao, not Jesus.

“What would Jesus do” is a common phrase and makes sense in the context of “evoking heroes” almost universally.

Hitler and Mao (Or Stalin, for that matter) tended to “get rid of” the inconvenient- and by get rid of, I mean kill.

I never thought I’d be defending Doonesbury, but this is probably the only Doonesbury punchline I’ve seen that was even mildly funny anyway

No, the punchline is aimed at the Republican Party. The current theme (it began August 3) has to do with hypocrisy within the GOP about morals.

A lawmaker shows up at a GOP clubhouse seeking to be absolved of an adulterous affair. While the staffer is checking to see whether the lawmaker will be heard, the lawmaker asks, “Also, can I get a room here for my girlfriend?” The lawmaker talks to the group of powerful GOP leaders and explains how God has led him to them to seek absolution but goes on to brag about the adultery, and the leaders’ response is to demand details (apparently salaciously).

The adulterous lawmaker is clearly a hypocrite, and so are the leaders he’s talking to. When he talks about his mistress, he says, “I had no inkling that God would then test me by placing her husband in my path. First he demanded $50,000 for his silence. Then, after I paid, he demanded $100,000!” The leaders’ response is, “So her husband betrayed you.”

The lawmaker says, “Yes. But I’m a Christian. Do I forgive him?”

This is clearly not an attack on Jesus or Christians in general; it’s an attack on people who pretend to be good Christians. That’s what leads to the dialogue in question:

“What to do about my soulmate’s husband?”
The group deliberates, evoking their heroes…
“What would Jesus do?”
…a list that unfortunately includes Hitler and Mao.
“Maybe we should whack him.”

Then (August 8), while voting on whether to have the senator’s mistress’ husband killed, one of the leaders stops the vote and discovers that the man in question is a powerful, free-market conservative. That changes everything; the man is “one of us!” So they can’t have him killed and have to use another method of resolving the differences between the adulterer and the wronged-but-blackmailing husband.

It’s a satire, skewering hypocrites in the Republican Party over sexual wrongdoings inconsistent with their rhetoric; the series mentions Ensign by name.

It’s not an attack on Jesus.

Thank you for your detailed explanation. I understand what you wrote but there was a time when such scandalous material was seen as not fit to print. Using the Lord’s name to add color or skewer someone caught in scandal is not appropriate either. That was my point.

I have watched Doonesbury over decades and it’s gone downhill. It’s no longer appropriate for the “comics” section of any newspaper. Having worked in the media for many years, this sort of ‘airing your dirty laundry’ is not funny and amplifies scandal, and would not have appeared in the past.

Thanks again for the explanation,

Which only goes to prove that I was wrong to think that Doonesbury might actually be funny once in a while :banghead:

heres the strip in question, and you can see the ones before and after also.

Thanks :slight_smile: I can’t see what the OP finds so offensive… :shrug::confused:

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