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down on the boondocks

Ah, another comic icon to throw on the woodpile with Ted Rall.

Aaron McGruder, creater of The Boondocks, gave a lovely speech at the University of Indiana last week.

I've always enjoyed Boondocks. Although I disagree with McGruder's politics, I still found his writing to be both funny and topical, and I liked his characters. They weren't always going on about the state of the world; I have several strips hanging in my office where Huey is playing video games.

During his speech at IU, McGruder gave the standard leftist cliches.

Americans have completely and totally lost control of their government.

Republicans do what psychotic, power- hungry megalomaniacs are supposed to do.

The Republicans play the political game the way it's supposed to be played dirty, underhanded and messy, and violent. After that one brought out the old standby phrase, Republicans Killed Wellstone.

I don't care about any of that. He's free to espouse his views wherever he wants. I don't really care if he thinks Bush is Hitler or not. What I care about is this statement:

Speaking without notes and keeping up a give-and-take with the audience, he said his goal has been to get a provocative point of view into the newspapers by wrapping it in a cute package.

"Media manipulation is a wonderful thing," he said.

Basically, he just called me an idiot. I think it is reprehnsible for an artist to be so brazen, so arrogant about this. Sure, a lot of them do what McGruder admitted to doing. But to say it in such a way that he paints his readers as easily manipulated morons is beyond conceit.

McGruder managed to keep me interested in his work all this time even though we are polar opposites politically. He just lost me.

Go on, say I'm reading too much into his statement. That's what I took from it and I'm sticking by it.

So long, Huey, Riley, Caesar and Jazmine. Take care, Grandpa.

Bite me, McGruder.


Hoosier link via media minded, via Ian

Comments

It'd be nice if he put as much thought into learning how to draw a background every once in a while. Or legs. Or feet. Or full-face shots instead of profiles all the time.

You know, even though I find myself disagreeing with it more and more as the years pass, I still like Doonesbury. At least Garry Trudeau is a talented artist who knows proper anatomy, and it's always visually interesting if nothing else. McGruder's a hack who generates pre-fabricated controversy, and there's nothing cute about his repetitive angles, awkward staging, and limited artistic ability.

Ah, good old IU. My old home.

That's typical for the University. Just as an FYI - my second to last year there, the year before the Presidential election, they brought in Colin Powell to speak.

He was the most conservative University-sponsored speaker who appeared while I was there.

Michele, I'm surprised it took this to call you out for Boondocks. McGruder has always written with a nod and a wink ... "here I am promoting my message in the mainstream (read white) press ... if they only knew ..."

I've always respected his right to do this, but I've never respected his smugness. This incident just strips away the veneer.

I am a rabid opponent of racism, and I've always found that Boondocks reeks of it. I never really got into the strips because of all the black vs white stuff he kept taking on.

I'll stick with Hagar the horrible, thank you.

I initially loathed Boondocks as devisive, racist trash, but, as it was just above Sherman's Lagoon I found myself reading and often enjoying it. I am through with it after today.

Goodness me, people are upset over a comic strip? Won't read it again?

He did say he didn't think his strip was making any difference. And he's right, it's easy to manipulate the media. Just because you feel personally affronted doesn't mean it isn't true.

It's like blog 'delinking', isn't it? Just chill out.

Andrea,

Tell me, please, why someone who thinks said material is "racist trash" should keep reading it? Why do you have a problem with another person's choices in comic strip reading? If Pat, or Robb, or anyone else thinks "Boondocks" sucks (and it does), then it'd be pretty strange of them to keep on looking at the damn thing.

P.S. The "delinking" analogy you provided is weak. "Delinking" would only be an appropriate comparison if I, for instance, had a comic strip in the same newspaper as "Boondocks," and I spent a good deal of my panel space telling readers why I think "Boondocks" blows donkeys (which it does).

Andrea,

Welcome to the Internet. Things piss me off, I talk about it. Things make me happy, I'll talk about it. Ocasionally, I like the sound that my keyboard makes as I type POTRZEBIE so I find a reason to use it.

Are you saying that I shouldn't express my opinions on anything?

Just to make sure that I've been totally clear on this :

"Boondocks" is the worst comic strip in any non-college paper I've seen. It's crudely done, insulting, uninteresting, racist, and, most damningly, completely unfunny. I haven't read it in years (and never will again), and I feel sorry for the students at IU and the taxpayers of Indiana that they had such a talentless bag of rat puke foisted upon them for a few hours.

Sorry Michele et al, but I do think you're reading too much into this. He said he was able to be provocative--to get into the newspaper at all--by making it cute. Not that he was able to brainwash people with beliefs different from his own by being cute. By his own admission at the end of the story, he writes for a left-leaning audience. I'm pretty sure that by "media manipulation" he meant manipulation of the media (by getting them to run him), not manipulation by the media.

And it's not as though there aren't any right-leaning strips on the comics page. You've got Mallard Fillmore to balance out the Boondocks. Of course, Boondocks is at least funny some of the time, which is a lot more than I can say for Bruce Tinsley.

I am NOT a fan of Mallard. At all.

"Boondocks" is one (small) part of why I stopped my subscription to the LA Times after a quarter century. If it had been written by a white man, it would have been condemned for the racist stereotypes it exploits (hostile uneducated black kids).

Having said that, sometimes it was funny, in the way that "Barbershop" or "South Park" was funny: a kind of "how can he SAY that?", head-shaking, rueful laughter.

All I can say is I'm glad they moved Boondocks to the middle of the comics page in the SF Chronicle. That way I don't have to strain to read whatever comic is there...I can skip right down the rest of the column not giving any of my time to reading MacGruder's crappy strip.

Worst."comic".ever.

You think those kids seem uneducated? We must be reading a different strip.

One wonders what McGruder thinks "psychotic, power-hungry megalomaniacs" do, or if his country is run by different Republicans than mine.

Because, well, that's just stupid abuse of language unless he lives in a parallel universe.

My favorite McGruder incident was seeing him whine about being "censored" (or was it "silenced"?) while giving a speech on (of all places) CSPAN.

Sure, Aaron.We all know that Saddam's opposition is allowed to go on Iraqi TV and babble away on the same channel that carries official government activities. At least the ones who aren't in anonymous mass graves with bullets in their skulls.

These guys don't have any idea what a truly oppressive government is like, do they?

Wow, maybe I shouldn't post a comment to such an old thread, but since it was linked from the front page, I feel I ought to correct a REALLY wrong statement from above: "At least Garry Trudeau is a talented artist who knows proper anatomy, and it's always visually interesting if nothing else".

Garry Trudeau sketches the comics in pencil and faxes them to a real artist who does all the inking and puts in all the backgrounds. Trudeau can't really draw that well -- check out the very earliest strips from before he had inking help, the art is terrible. Maybe Doonesbury as a whole has nice art, but don't credit Trudeau with it.