's "Editor's Desk" column today informed readers that Gary Trudeau's "Doonesbury" will not appear in the paper this week because the subject matter -- Trudeau's belief that Texas' mandatory ultrasounds for women who choose to have an abortion is tantamount to rape -- is too graphic in language and content for the comics page. Instead, you can read it online at www.stltoday.com/comics
is not the only paper to deem the strips unsuitable for the comics page. The Los Angeles Times
is running the six-day storyline on its Editorial page, and many other papers have opted to keep it online only and run replacement strips in "Doonesbury's" slot.
Trudeau himself anticipated there would be a kerfuffle over the subject matter, but said in a statment, "The goal is definitely not to antagonize editors and get booted from papers. It's just an occupational risk."
This is not the first time "Doonesbury" has been yanked from papers. Way back in the early '80s Trudeau parodied the anti-abortion film "Silent Scream" and disappeared for a week, and in the early '00s a single-panel of BD swearing when he discovered his leg had been blown off by an IED while patrolling in Iraq was either cut or censored, depending on the market. And then there was the time way back in 1976 when the character Andy Lippincott announced he was gay, and the Miami Herald (!) among many other papers pulled it.
Of course, Andy continued as a recurring character, so the world didn't end. In fact, it progressed, as it seems to do. When Andy died in 1995, only three papers didn't run that series of strips, on the basis that AIDS -- the disease that killed Andy -- wasn't suitable for the papers.
It's more than a little laughable that an industry that puts murder, war reports, celebrity sex lives and yes, even the abortion debate, in Section A thinks when those topics move to Section C it's the first time kids have ever heard of it.