I have children, but I am so tired of "the children" being used as a reason to whitewash every blessed thing. Especially newspaper comics.
As a kid, I was a voracious reader. But while I remember being interested in the Sunday funnies, I was far more likely to be reading a comic book or something by Beverly Cleary. "Snuffy Smith" wasn't funny to me, even when I was 6.
Apparently some readers got their knickers in a wad over the March 9 "Brenda Starr" comic strip, which references a threesome. My local paper doesn't carry "Brenda Starr," but the threesome angle involves a sleazy senator's aide who's being set up by two women. I was thrilled when the strip's writer, Mary Schmich, told the Chicago Tribune's public editor: "The comics are not any more 'for kids' than the rest of the paper is 'for kids.' "
This issue crops up whenever a strip gets the tiniest bit edgy, like when a "Zits" strip — which revolves around a teenaged boy — used the word "sucks." Imagine that. Today's teens use the word "sucks" in conversation! And I remember when newspapers got complaints about gay characters in "For Better or For Worse" and "Doonesbury."
This is all so very silly. Not once has my 8-year-old son expressed a burning desire to see what "Hi & Lois" or "Garfield" are up to. He doesn't care. Even if he did, any references to sex would go right over his head. And, God forbid, if he actually had a question about the content, we'd give him an age-appropriate answer or tell him "That's grown-up stuff." The end.
Sometimes I wonder who these readers are and why they've got some newspaper editors so cowed. They're probably the same ones who think "Marmaduke" is on the cutting edge.