'Dick Cheney' Orders a Hit on Michael Vick: Why YOU Won't See It
Today is the day that Dick Cheney advises the NFL to kill Michael Vick -- the start of a satiric fictional storyline that, like a blindside sack or shooting accident, you just won't see coming. At least not in The Washington Post.
That's because The Post, both in print and online, chose not to run this week's original "Tank McNamara" strips. Instead, Post readers will see syndicate-sanctioned "Tank" reruns.
Post Managing Editor Raju Narisetti says the decision was a no-brainer: The original strips were deemed "inappropriate." The Post sacked the week's strips, in which NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell seeks advice on how to handle the reinstatement of former quarterback/convict Vick, who ran a pit-bull ring that resulted in canine deaths; the storyline attempts to satirize issues such as perceptions of racism by the NFL front office and owners.
Here's the "Tank McNamara strip" you won't see in The Post. Universal Press Syndicate approved "Tank" reruns that will run in The Post; on Post.com (which receives an automatic feed from the syndicate), "Tank's" Sunday's strip is scheduled to be "billboarded" all week).
And in print, here's what you're scheduled to see Monday in The Post:
At press time, Comic Riffs had not heard back from the strip's creators, Jeff Millar and Bill Hinds, in efforts to seek comment. Last week, Comic Riffs noted that "Tank McNamara" was marking its 35th anniversary. No word yet on whether any other newspapers were pulling the original "Tank" strips.
Note: As one of the few sports editorial cartoonists to survive into the 21st century, Comic Riffs feels particularly qualified to weigh in. I had several satiric topical cartoons "killed" over the years -- on those occasions, it was because of the sensitivity of the editorial content; the clarity of the satiric point was not at issue. Which leads to this week's "Tank."
If today's strip proves controversial, I believe it's because the satiric point wasn't sharp enough; in which case, some readers are left wondering why "Dick Cheney" would order that "Mike Vick" be iced. Without a clearly, commonly accepted truth to rest the satire on -- no matter how exaggerated -- readers are left to scratch heads or drop jaws. And editors are more likely to be the ones to decide that someone needs to be "killed": "Tank."
(Later in the week, "Tank" has a satiric take -- as edgy as it may be -- that is more in its wheelhouse: That if the NFL punished a series of black ballplayers, the league risks being perceived as racist.)
Comic Riffs cannot read today's "Baldo" without thinking of THE Big Papi -- Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz. The same David Ortiz who, it recently came out, along with former teammate Manny Ramirez, made the Big Daddy of major-league lists: the banned substance "steroid" list. Whaddya say, "Tank," care to weigh in? (What Would Dick Say?)
Speaking of shutting things down: O, "Brewster Rockit," how did you know that we'd see a massive online meltdown in recent days -- particularly in regards to Facebook and Twitter? The oft-brilliant Tim Rickard blends two of the best ingredients when trafficking in satire: (1) clarity; and (2) luck. Neither can be overestimated. Just ask Tank.
| August 10, 2009; 7:30 AM ET
Categories: The Comic Strip, The Morning Line
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