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Posted at 3:00 PM ET, 11/11/2010

VETERANS DAY GAFFE: 'Garfield' creator Jim Davis apologizes for 'Stupid Day' gag

By Michael Cavna

garfieldmarine.gif (click here for enlarged image)


It's one of the perils of working months ahead, a cursed confluence that has befallen many a syndicated strip cartoonist. But it's especially unfortunate when it occurs on a date as poignantly important as Veterans Day.

Real-world events -- from headlines to holidays -- can skew a cartoon for the worse. A particularly lamentable example: Today's "Garfield" makes a joke about "National Stupid Day" that some readers are taking offense at, viewing it as disrespectful toward veterans.

Pained by the mistiming, "Garfield" creator Jim Davis has issued this apology on Garfield.com and elsewhere:

Dear Friends, Fans and Veterans:

In what has to be the worst timing ever, the strip that runs in today's paper seems to be making a statement about Veterans. It absolutely, positively has nothing to do with this important day of remembrance.

Regarding today's Garfield comic strip , it was written almost a year ago and I had no idea when writing it that it would appear today -- of all days. I do not use a calendar that lists holidays and other notable days so when this strip was put in the queue, I had no idea it would run on Veterans Day. What are the odds? You can bet I'll have a calendar that lists everything by my side in the future.

My brother Dave served in Vietnam. My son James is a Marine who has had two tours of duty, both in Iraq and Afghanistan. You'd have to go a long way to find someone who was more proud and grateful for what our Veterans have done for all of us.

Please accept my apologies for any offense today's Garfield may have created. It was unintentional and regrettable.

By Michael Cavna  | November 11, 2010; 3:00 PM ET
Categories:  The Comic Strip  | Tags:  Garfield, Jim Davis  
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Comments

There are no coincidences. For years I have watched many of the daily comic strips cover the current events of the previous day. Whether penned that night or placed in a queue, someone penned the little 11-11 at the bottom -- which means November 11. What adult, especially the media circuit and with a child in the military, doesn't know about the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month? Again, there are no coincidences. It only takes one stupid moment to ruin everything. Just ask Dan Rather. I'm through with Garfield after this. I take that back. I think I'll run this particular strip on my editorial page. I won't be asking for permission to do it, either. Good bye, Garfield.

Posted by: editor20 | November 11, 2010 4:09 PM | Report abuse

As a veteran I think editor 20 should get his head out of his @$$ and grow up. I saw no connection with that comic strip and the sacrifices of our armed forces. Obviously he did not or should not have served in the Armed Forces. I feel sorry for his child in the military for having such a narrow minded parent.

Posted by: reiley | November 11, 2010 4:51 PM | Report abuse

reiley, you don't see a connection between that comic strip and our armed forces because you don't understand what you're really looking at when you read the funnies. Ignorance is bliss, and you're lucky to not know the truth of what you're laughing at.

Posted by: editor20 | November 11, 2010 5:26 PM | Report abuse

Editor20 should hire a good editorial cartoonist if he wants cartoons on his editorial page. Though given his silly opinions on Garfield and the impossibility of coincidence it wouldn't be an ideal work environment.

Posted by: rhompson | November 11, 2010 5:28 PM | Report abuse

rhompson, everything we use comes from Cagle. I intend to use this Garfield strip as the subject of an editorial. The work environment here is fine. It's all PCs and we're weekly. No pressure. Again, there are no coincidences in the media business.

Posted by: editor20 | November 11, 2010 5:57 PM | Report abuse

I think you have greater faith organized consciousness of the Media Hive Mind than I do.

Posted by: rhompson | November 11, 2010 6:01 PM | Report abuse

I think you have greater faith IN THE organized consciousness of the Media Hive Mind than I do.

Posted by: rhompson | November 11, 2010 6:02 PM | Report abuse

lol

Posted by: editor20 | November 11, 2010 6:04 PM | Report abuse

We need to worry more about THIS fake controversy.

http://gawker.com/5687649/does-this-google-veterans-days-logo-look-muslim-to-you

Posted by: rhompson | November 11, 2010 6:07 PM | Report abuse

Clearly, President Obama designed this Google holiday logo while staying in one of the 560 rooms rented by the U.S. in the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel in India this past week.

Posted by: editor20 | November 11, 2010 6:22 PM | Report abuse

Why are people upset? If you mess with Garfield or the U.S.A., you'll be remembered as an idiot not a martyr. It's Veterans Day for Garfield, "National Stupid Day" for the anyone that messed with Garfield. Get it?

Posted by: xmassan | November 11, 2010 11:23 PM | Report abuse

The idea that this was somehow "planned" is completely cynical and unfounded. At worst, it was a dumb mistake. The guy apologized, explained how it happened, and made it clear that he has friends and loved ones in the military and would never purposefully make light of Veterans' Day.

If he meant to do this, what would be the point?

Posted by: JWAdvocate83 | November 12, 2010 12:52 AM | Report abuse

What Davis really needs to apologize for is the complete inanity, vapidity, and mediocraty of his strip.

Posted by: justmike | November 12, 2010 3:04 AM | Report abuse

i couldn't see anything wrong with this garfield comic strip.
now if it mentioned veterans or made fun of those who died for our freedoms,then yes,i would be offended.but the characters celebrated"national stupid day".
it was just coincidence.like when you return from a funeral of a loved one and your favorite show is playing the episode where a character dies the same way as your loved one.
i can't believe some people think this was done intentionally.
inform the"x-files",theres a conspiracy brewing.

Posted by: mr_heckler | November 12, 2010 12:49 PM | Report abuse

i couldn't see anything wrong with this garfield comic strip.
now if it mentioned veterans or made fun of those who died for our freedoms,then yes,i would be offended.but the characters celebrated"national stupid day".
it was just coincidence.like when you return from a funeral of a loved one and your favorite show is playing the episode where a character dies the same way as your loved one.
i can't believe some people think this was done intentionally.
inform the"x-files",theres a conspiracy brewing.

Posted by: mr_heckler | November 12, 2010 12:49 PM | Report abuse

i couldn't see anything wrong with this garfield comic strip.
now if it mentioned veterans or made fun of those who died for our freedoms,then yes,i would be offended.but the characters celebrated"national stupid day".
it was just coincidence.like when you return from a funeral of a loved one and your favorite show is playing the episode where a character dies the same way as your loved one.
i can't believe some people think this was done intentionally.
inform the"x-files",theres a conspiracy brewing.

Posted by: mr_heckler | November 12, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

The real problem is why ADULTS are wasting time reading newspaper cartoons?

We've become a Bugs Bunny society and it is sickening.

Posted by: Hazmat77 | November 12, 2010 3:10 PM | Report abuse

reiley,

You nailed it, in the opinion of this proud veteran. Now stop arguing with editor20. He is an elitist moron whose weekly rag is probably not long for this world.

As for the poster who wants to stir the pot over the Google logo yesterday, I sent a note to a friend of mine who is a project manager at Google and asked him to thank the folks there who put it up. The dimwits who saw a Muslim crescent in the logo are the types who would also see the face of Jesus in fly-paper.

Posted by: hisroc | November 12, 2010 5:32 PM | Report abuse

A coincidence is when you, your wife and the alarm clock all go off at the same time.

The intention is clear. Davis is despicable.

Posted by: AllegroBusDriver | November 12, 2010 7:19 PM | Report abuse

Maybe some right wing radio host in East Noplace paid Davis off to do this, so they'd have a perceived petty symbolic slight to go nuts over, instead of paying attention to real issues.

Posted by: di89 | November 12, 2010 7:58 PM | Report abuse

To bad about the timing. This strip was actually funny.

Posted by: igsoper | November 12, 2010 9:18 PM | Report abuse

I am a retired Air Force veteran of over twenty-two years. I fully accept the apology, although I am certain that the error was unwitting. It is of no consequence in the greater sphere of life that the error was made. I thank the cartoonist for the many moments of humor he has provided to me over the years.

Posted by: Geezer4 | November 12, 2010 9:42 PM | Report abuse

A few questions:

If Davis was editorializing about Veteran's Day, what would be the point of undoing the message once communicated?

How do Davis' accusers reconcile an "insensitive" message in the cartoon with his son's tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan?

What politically-charged precedent exists in Garfield to reinforce the notion that Davis is making a point about Veteran's Day?

Why would an innocuous family cartoonist risk more bad press by creating an elaborate lie about strip production, schedule and coincidental timing?

Posted by: spamwich | November 12, 2010 9:56 PM | Report abuse

The strip was drawn a year in advance. Forgetting for a moment that I fully accept Mr. Davis' apology, even if he drew the strip without paying attention to the date it would be published (a year away), the responsibilty for not checking belongs to the distribution syndicate.

It was a strip which, on any other day, would have gone virtually unnoticed. Was the timing bad? Of course. But it was bad only by people who feel they have to impose the innocuous comments in the strip on other events.

I admit that I immediatgely noticed the terrible timing of the strip's being published and commented to a colleague that there would be feedback and criticism. But there is no way I believe that Mr. Davis - who has a son serving in the military - even thought about when the strip would be published.

For those who complain that he must have known when the strip would be published, are you criticizing the other comic strips for not noting the day or recognizing contributions of veterans? Other than "Charlie Brown" which commented on the Bill Mauldin and Ernie Pyle (names probably not known by most people who are criticizing Mr. Davis), I don't know of any other strip that even acknowledged veterans, and I see no criticism here against Mort Walker for not acknowledging Veteran's Day with comments from Plato or anyone else.

I'm sorry folks, but as far as I'm concerned in was poor timing on the part of the syndicate which should have performed their editorial role better. But it was simply a mistake in timing for which the cartoonist apologized. While I don't think an apology was necessary, I can accept it and end the discussion.

dungarees@gmail.com

Posted by: Dungarees | November 12, 2010 10:07 PM | Report abuse

Some of the comments that I have read here are amazingly well developed and insightful.

I am tired of hearing criticisms about how the general public are a bunch of ranting, angry, frustrated people that have nothing better to do than invent paranoiac conspiracies, or write responses to editorials and criticize the President, when the President has nothing to do with the content.

Posted by: mpomeroy3 | November 12, 2010 10:56 PM | Report abuse

It was a pretty weak strip, but pretty much boilerplate Garfield. No one would ever think it had anything to do with veterans if not for the unfortunate timing. Many people don't know when Veteran's Day is off the top of their heads because most workplaces stopped giving people the day off in the '70s. If veterans want to get mad at someone, they should direct their frustration at private-sector workplaces and even public schools that virtually all ignore this holiday.

Now if Jim Davis had a history of injecting politics and/or religion into his strips, that would be one thing, but this is Garfield, for Christ's sakes--only slightly more "edgy" than Family Circus. There is simply no SANE reason to believe that Jim F*cking Davis was intentionally trying to poke the hornet's nest and make some kind of "statement" about war on the comics page. Sheesh.

Posted by: ComfortablyDumb | November 12, 2010 11:30 PM | Report abuse

I think President Obama blah blah blah paranoid conspiracy, rant, anger, blah blah blah, incoherent logic.

Do you consider I may be a writer bot, an automated program to write intelligent criticism about things read by the computer?

Posted by: mpomeroy3 | November 13, 2010 12:13 AM | Report abuse

Ah jeeze...this is exactly what is wrong with this country...so much is read into stuff that, like the saying goes...can't see the forest for the trees. Come on people...let's spend time on what's really important...Family, friends, community, country and this world...God Bless America.
PEACE

Posted by: joesbinky | November 13, 2010 12:35 AM | Report abuse

P.S. God Bless Our President

Posted by: joesbinky | November 13, 2010 12:36 AM | Report abuse

=======
=======
I think "stupid day" is a WONDERFUL name for a day dedicated to the kind of rednecks and negroes who volunteer to get killed for george bush--the KING of "stupid".

--faye kane, homeless idiot-savant
More of my smartmouth at http://tinyurl.com/fayescave

Posted by: Knee_Cheese_Zarathustra | November 13, 2010 2:40 AM | Report abuse

There are two coincidences going on here with Davis' cartoon and Veterans Day; there is no chance of it being an accident that his cartoon ran on Veterans Day.

1. Davis' cartoon depicting "National Stupid Day" lands on our Veterans Day.

2. The spider about to be squashed in Davis' cartoon warns Garfield "They will hold an annual Day of Remembrance in my honor . . . "

Veterans Day is Armistice Day, the day in 1918 at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. The name "Armistice Day" was used up until the end of WWII, then the name "Veterans Day" was adopted. Many other countries also changed the name for their people. For example, the United Kingdom calls it "Remembrance Day."

There's your "Day of Remembrance" from the cartoon.

How can Davis honestly say this was a coincidence with the comic landing on Remembrance Day and the comic actually using the term "Day of Remembrance"? Remembrance Day in the UK is the same celebration as our Armistice Day -- our new "Veterans Day."

Davis got caught and is now lying.

Posted by: editor20 | November 13, 2010 3:52 PM | Report abuse

I agree that it was just an editorial slip up. But a pretty big one - c'mon, 11-11 doesn't mean anything to you? All the people you've seen wearing poppies for the last two weeks didn't ring any bells? Even if it gets through the syndicate, that's a lot of comics page editors not doing their jobs.

Sleepwalking through your working day and letting stupid mistakes happen - not acceptable. I hope a few wrists got slapped over this.

Posted by: marshlc | November 14, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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