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Friday, July 29, 2005

Withdrawal Symptoms

Conturdversy: Several newspaper editors complained about a Doonesbury comic strip that involved President Bush calling adviser Karl Rove by his real-life pet nickname, "Turd Blossom." Some papers, including the Kansas City Star, pulled or edited the comic, which is created by Garry Trudeau. Read the strips in question here and here.

"The hypocrisy in this move should be immediately clear to most Americans," writes Matt at Philadelphia hodgepodge The Tattered Coat. "Beyond the fact that intelligent readers would be able to differentiate between the provenance of a comic strip and an editorial, Garry Trudeau did not make up the name 'Turd Blossom.' The term comes directly from the President of the United States. ... So, when an editor of an American paper decides that the term 'Turd Blossom' is 'in bad taste,' he is providing a direct critique of President Bush's lapsed moral values."

Branding blog Snark Hunting thinks the story was overblown, noting that out of 1,400 papers that carry the strip, less than 1 percent objected to it: "So why is this really a story? Because America loves a good poop joke." Daniel Solove at group blog PrawfsBlawg agreed that the offending word was rather tame. "Since when is 'turd' is a four-letter word?" asks the law professor. "I guess since always, but now in more ways than one. I can think of many terms for Karl Rove, and 'Turd Blossom' is much nicer than any of them."

Read more about the Doonesbury controversy here.

Further reading: