No truth to the matter"You can't present as fact something that isn't just so it will make a joke work."
We've had several dust-ups recently over comic strips, so it's probably time for another column on "the funnies." But I need right now to address this week's controversy over the Tribune's decision not to run Monday's "Prickly City" strip.
The action had nothing to do with "protecting" Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) from criticism over the Chappaquiddick incident in 1969 and the death of Mary Jo Kopechne, as many letter-writers supposed. Rather, it had to do with the way the strip's creator, Scott Stantis, got to that point.In the first two panels of the Monday strip, one of Stantis' characters sets up the punch line in the last panel by quoting Kennedy as saying during the Condoleezza Rice secretary of state confirmation hearings, "They lied and people died."
As a matter of fact, Kennedy said no such thing -- a fact acknowledged by Stantis. Even in a satirical comic strip, said Geoff Brown, the associate managing editor who oversees the comics, you can't present as fact something that isn't just so it will make a joke work.
That looks like a pretty good policy -- and I hope that the Tribune will apply that policy to more than just the jokes on the comics page.
Consider this Tribune editorial from October 17, 2004:
For three years, Bush has kept Americans, and their government, focused -- effectively -- on this nation's security. The experience, dating from Sept. 11, 2001, has readied him for the next four years, a period that could prove as pivotal in this nation's history as were the four years of World War II.It seems to me that the Tribune should apply its lofty comics page standard to its editorial page and not "present as fact something that isn't" just so it will make a presidential endorsement work.
That demonstrated ability, and that crucible of experience, argue for the re-election of President George W. Bush.