Doonesbury

 

Doonesbury

I wonder how many people have been following the Doonesbury cartoon of late. Unlike almost any other media today, and certainly unlike any other comic, Doonesbury is able to cover topics that defy the typical one panel, or four panel, treatment. From the early days, though the art is far more refined, Trudeau has always been able to strike that balance between relevant, self-contained strips, and a larger story arc, mostly sucked right from the headlines.

The current story line is no different. What strikes me more than his ability to hold a story arc, however, is the sensitivity with which the subject is always dealt. Sure, he has his detractors, people who would point to his skewering of Republican presidents from Nixon through the current Bush and say he can't be trusted to to report facts, who would point to his coverage of Vietnam and Gulf War I and II and say he can't be trusted to say important things. Generally, these are the same people he is skewering, and the same people sending soldiers to those places.

But the facts are in the strips, really. In a simple 4-panel strip, over the past few months, Trudeau has written the story of many soldiers, I think … soldiers faced with decisions where there were no correct answers in the grand scheme of things, only answers where the degree of wrong was slightly less. It may not literally involve giving the order to gun your vehicle through a crowd to escape death, but soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq are faced with similar choices every day, and theres no doubt, for me anyway, that some have faced that exact choice.

Trudeau may not tell the stories that people in power want told. Its not really surprising that the people who make policy don't like the sort of stories Trudeau tells. I'm no tsure thats important … whats more important is whether its the stories from Vietnam in the 60's and 70's, the stories from Gulf I in the 90's, or the ones from Iraq today, there are probably a lot of soldiers out there who can identify with BD. I've never been there, so I can't say for sure ofc … but from the outside looking in, it strikes me that while the power brokers may not identify well with Trudeau, I expect soldiers do just fine with BD.

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