when comic strips attack
The subject is the comic strip B.C. and the not-so-hidden agenda of its creator, Johnny Hart.
I never really liked B.C. Besides it obvious religious tone (think Jack Chick with less hellfire - it's just as subversive), it's just not funny. It holds a place alongside those other strips that leave me baffled as to their continued existence - Hagar, Beetle Bailey, Gasoline Alley and Family Circus.
So what did Johnny Hart do now? Let's go to WaPo for the details:
Did Johnny Hart -- the beloved creator of "B.C." and one of the most widely read cartoonists on Earth -- sneak a vulgar defamation of Islam into the comics pages last week?
The cartoon, which appeared Nov. 10 in more than 1,200 newspapers worldwide -- including The Washington Post -- shows a caveman entering an outhouse at night, and then saying, from inside, "Is it just me, or does it stink in here?"
The first public questioning of this cartoon arose in a washingtonpost.com chat Tuesday, when a reader noted that the cartoon seemed to make no sense, except metaphorically. The reader noted that the cartoon contained six crescent moons -- three in the sky, and three on the outhouse door -- and wondered if this might have been a veiled slur on the world's 1 billion practicing Muslims.
The CAIR e-mail mentioned the moons, and also noted that Hart had drawn a prominent sound effect -- "SLAM" -- between two frames to accompany the closing of the outhouse door. The SLAM was stacked vertically, in the shape of an I, and could be seen to signify "Islam." The cartoon appeared on the 15th day of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month.
Here's the strip.
I know what you're thinking right now. You're thinking, dude, you are reading way too much into that strip.
No, I'm not. And neither is CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations), which protested the comic. See, this isn't the first time Johnny Hart has gone out of his way to slam another religion. Witness this strip:
Go ahead, click it for the big, readable size. I'll wait while you read.
Of course, you can take that many ways. I choose to take it as Hart being mildly anti-Semitic, if only because I know he has a history of telling interviewers that Jews are condemned to rot in hell forever (looking for a link on that). The ADL didn't think much of it, either.
Make of it what you will. My mind was made up about Johnny Hart ages ago. He is neither funny nor a good artist. A comic strip writer should be at least one of those things. Your mileage may vary, of course. I mean, some people find Carrot Top funny, too.
Oh, by the way - what's an Evangelical Christian doing writing a comic strip about cavemen?
Notice I didn't condemn the man for this particular strip. I think I made it obvious that my main problem with him is he's just not funny. I'm just reporting the story here. And please, let's not get into that "all Muslims suck" thing. If things get nasty, I'll have to start deleting posts.
I was looking for a reaction, and I got one.