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BC or PC?

Observations from the Edge
Robert T. Nanninga
North County Times
May 29, 2001


Enough already. For months now I have been marking time hoping the pseudo controversy surrounding the discontinuation of the B.C. comic strip would subside. But now with fellow columnist Richard Kirk weighing in with a groundless tirade about how Christians are an oppressed people I decided it was time to put this journalistic molehill into perspective.

Far from thought provoking, BC is best described as simple, one dimension fluff. No more offensive than the majority of comic strips being used to help sell newspapers. Should B.C been canceled? No, the last thing the world needs is yet another martyr. Censorship is wrong, as it is always a violation of the First Amendment. Truth be told? B.C was just tired, Newer strips seem less dated. Is that a judgement? No, just an observation.

Let's look at the facts. Johnny Hart's comic strip is the most syndicated strip in the world, and has been recognized as one of the best. Personally I never found it amusing, mainly because of it's misogynist treatment of the large woman in the strip, and the woman's constant abuse of the snake. Then there is the absurdity of prehistoric man referencing God, and or Jesus when those concepts were centuries away. Anachronisms are hardly reason for censorship, if this was in fact censorship, and not the publisher exercising the Constitutional right of Freedom of the Press.

If readers find something offensive in their daily paper they have three avenues of recourse. First they can skip over the offensive strip. Second, they can write a Letter to the Editor voicing their displeasure with the offending strip and the newspaper's decision to run it. And third, they could cancel their subscription after explaining why. Boycotts are a commercial form of censorship, one that is protected by the Constitution. Money talks in America; everything else is just hot air.

Now on to what is really at issue in regards to the BC debate. What is up with Christians claiming to be an oppressed minority? Last time I checked all money minted in the United States of America clearly states "In God We Trust." The Pledge of Allegiance includes the phrase "One nation under God." In court proceedings witnesses swear on the Christian bible, as do elected officials when sworn into office. Hardly an oppressed minority by any stretch of the word.

Meanwhile back at the facts. Even though BC is no longer found in the North County Times, it's vacancy has been filled with the far from subtle Christian strip called Wildwood. Talk about Christian propaganda, Wildwood is a surreal exercise in anthropocentrism that actually has forest creatures running a church. The funny bit? The last time I asked, according to the Christian faith, animals are brutish creatures that lack the ability to know the difference between right and wrong. If BC has taught us anything, faith and fantasy usually are employed in the same stoke of the pen. Wildwood carries on that tradition.

On line is Johnny Hart's explanation of his Easter 2001 strip. He meant to show that Christianity finds its roots in Judaism. Which is true. In hindsight he probably wishes he had employed a better way to make his point. But what's done is done. He's moved on, why can't the readers of NCT?

There are so many pressing issues facing the residents of Southern California, in the larger scheme of things a canceled comic strip is hardly worth losing sleep over.

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