I have all the Bloom County books as anyone who stays in the guest bedroom knows. In my bleak teenage years (are there happy teenage years?), Berkely Breathed's witty takes and silly satire got me through with lots of laughs. To prove my County cred, my favorite character is Oliver. See left. In my favorite series, Oliver debates whether God exists and God answers, but Oliver studiously misses the message in the stars.
Berkely Breathed is back in the news. His syndicated column Opus won't be run in some papers because of this strip:
Captain Ed says this:
Today's strip features Steve Dallas and his on-again, off-again paramour and spiritual flibbertigibbet Lola Granola. In the strip, she has changed her name to "Fatima Struggle" and argues that she now knows not to resist a "man's rightful place". That's it; no exploding bombs, no images of Muhammed, no violence.Wouldn't want to inflame the moderate American Muslims. Don't worry about inflaming the Christianists, though.
Also, no newspaper has addressed its decision to black out Breathed for today and next Sunday. It's possible that next Sunday has something more objectionable, but if today's strip is any indication, the reasoning is that newspapers refuse to show any kind of satire that targets Islam, even if specifically aimed at its radical extremes.
Last week, the Post and all of Breathed's customers had no problem satirizing Jerry Falwell and Christian beliefs of the afterlife. I'm glad they didn't; I found it funny and provocative, the kind of installment that Breathed usually produces. If anything, today's strip is less about the religious belief of Islam than last week's was about Christianity's tenets, and yet, the newspapers found it necessary to protect themselves from this strip and not the other. Why is that?
Oh, yeah -- because radical Islamists react with violence rather than rational objections. And the newspapers, in all their collective courage, can't find it within themselves to let a satirist do his work where it is most needed. Billy Hollis at QandO says the newspapers should be ashamed of themselves, but won't be. Maybe Breathed can tackle that as his next subject.