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Posted at 8:30 AM ET, 06/ 4/2009

Dagwood & Doonesbury vs. the Anti-Defamation League

By Michael Cavna


'BLONDIE' (KFS)Enlarge Image

If comedy's all in the timing, then today's "Blondie" is the Swiss watch of comic strips. That's because Dagwood Bumstead is discussing the Anti-Defamation League taking action against a comedic form of entertainment -- immediately on the heels of the Anti-Defamation League, in real life, taking action against a comedic form of entertainment.

In the "Blondie" strip in question, neighbor-boy Elmo muses that it seems the ADL "would have sued" the Three Stooges for their act. As timing would have it, the ADL reportedly wrote a letter to Garry Trudeau this past Monday, objecting to his Sunday "Doonesbury" strip.

'DOONESBURY' (UPS)Enlarge Image

The "Doonesbury" strip in question involves the Reverend Sloan character discussing a "mellow" Jesus Christ who snaps "only once" in the Bible -- when dealing with the "money-lenders." The Bible, of course, refers to the temple's "money-changers" -- no small difference, says the Anti-Defamation League. Writes the ADL: "Doonesbury's Reverend Sloan is guilty of promoting anti-Jewish stereotypes and biblical illiteracy. He owes both Jews and Christians an apology."

You can follow "Doonesbury" in the weeks ahead to see whether Sloan responds, but somehow, I don't expect to see the good Reverend ascending a bully pulpit to apologize any time soon.


JOE HELLER (courtesy of

PCOD (POLITICAL CARTOON O' THE DAY): As Conan O'Brien assumes Jay Leno's old perch this week, this seems an especially spot-on cartoon for Cheney followers, NFL fans and -- especially -- those of us who once had 401(k)'s to speak of.

MIKE LANE (courtesy of

FAVE CARTOON VISUAL OF THE DAY: Mr. Magoo...blurred galactic vision...and the ever-comically name telescope. Double, double, toil and Hubble: Everything converges harmonically here for an inspired twist.

What cartoons did you love or loathe today? The floor is yours.


THE 'RIFFS INTERVIEW: Garry Trudeau on the state of political satire.

"DOONESBURY" ventures an Obama prediction.

By Michael Cavna  | June 4, 2009; 8:30 AM ET
Categories:  The Morning Line  
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THAT joke antisemitic? With everything that's going around nowadays? You have got to be kidding me.

Posted by: laura33 | June 4, 2009 10:08 AM | Report abuse

I didn't think of that "Doonesbury" joke as anti-Semitic, but I was annoyed that Trudeau misquoted the Bible so egregiously. I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt and assume it was accidental, but it's still annoying.

Posted by: bokamba | June 4, 2009 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Actually, bokamba, I figured he changed the quote intentionally, since all the current hoopla is about the "moneylenders" (liar loans, etc.). I guess I'm not getting why that change would be offensive.

Posted by: laura33 | June 4, 2009 10:19 AM | Report abuse

I agree with laura33, this is a jab at current bankers and brokers, not the Jewish community. The ADL is really overreaching on this one, especially considering Jesus was Jewish (or Hebrew) as well.

OK, "Watch Your Head" is confusing me again:
"I liked your girlfriend's better when they were imaginary."
"So did my dry cleaner."

I really LIKE Thomas and have never had a problem getting his humor, but this is the second strip that I've missed in one week. WHAT is going on?

Posted by: ishkabibbleA | June 4, 2009 10:52 AM | Report abuse

I find it interesting that this organization immediately thinks of jews when they hear the term money lender....

Lou Dobbs was right. The ADL is a joke, though a joke that has way more legitimacy in people's eyes than they should.

Posted by: Christine8 | June 4, 2009 12:34 PM | Report abuse

People bend over backwards today not to say anything that might be seen as politically incorrect. The punishments for such as "offense" can be extremely harsh, so yes, I am real sure this guy was thinking in terms of "getting the jews" when he put this together.
An apology here would be ridiculous, but I exect it will come. PC madness is way out of control and jews specifically have quite a bit of pull in society. (oops, was that anti semitic? Oh well)

Posted by: Christine8 | June 4, 2009 12:44 PM | Report abuse

ishkabibbleA: I think "Watch Your Head" was making a subtle but disgusting joke about - *ahem* - "stains" created by lonely people. That's how I read it, at least. Maybe I just have a filthy mind.

Posted by: drewdane | June 5, 2009 10:08 AM | Report abuse

OK, today on line(6/5)the Dallas Morning News has an article about the political cartoon in The Oklahoman depicting Sotomayor as a pinata with Obama asking who's first. It does not offend me, it is just in terrible taste.

Posted by: ZeldaJane | June 5, 2009 1:18 PM | Report abuse

>> ZeldaJane:

Thanks -- 'Riffs, as a matter of fact, has a post about this cartoon coming this afternoon. Feel free to check back shortly.

-- M.C..

Posted by: cavnam | June 5, 2009 1:32 PM | Report abuse

Well, a minority viewpoint here (sorry, couldn't resist...) I'm not bothered by the moneylenders/changers reference, that's pretty commonplace... except for the way it plays into the bigger misreading that the "Old Testament" (aka "Hebrew Bible") is all about anger and the New Testament is all about love. A bad take on the Hebrew Bible. Not everybody agrees it needed to be "fixed" by Christianity. Is Trudeau being anti-Semitic? No, I don't think so - can't back the ADL on that. But lazy? Yes. Having it be a cute child's take is part of the laziness. The funny thing is, I thought the Sotomayor cartoon was racist, but most voters thought it was sloppy work. I guess we can all meet in the middle...

Posted by: Alan_A | June 5, 2009 5:48 PM | Report abuse

Actually, it's Sam who makes the (understandable) mistake of conflating moneylenders and moneychangers. The adults around her, including Rev. Sloan, simply don't correct her. It strikes me that Trudeau is distancing himself just a bit from the mistake, while nevertheless playing with it -- and I'm pretty sure that his target is the financial industry, not Jews.

Posted by: nvanative | June 6, 2009 7:40 PM | Report abuse

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