Cleveland Plain Dealer readers confused by decision to pull Non Sequitur comic

The Plain Dealer decided not to publish a Non Sequitur comic Friday that depicts a bunny looking at a police lineup of other animals and saying, “They all really do look alike to me.” In its place was an editor’s note that said the strip “was deemed objectionable.” Art Costanzo, 63, a self-professed lifetime reader of the paper, writes in a letter to the editor, “The only thing I found controversial was the fact that you did not publish it.”

The paper left a blank spot where this strip would have appeared, along with an editor’s note.

Lee Salem agrees. The president and editor of Universal Uclick, which syndicates Non Sequitur and other comics, said by email that pulling a strip is “a very rare occurrence (I scratched my head over that move), made more complicated for newspapers because the strip in question is so easily available from online sources. In many cases, the pulling of a strip or sequence just draws more attention to it.”

Salem said strips are pulled “maybe twice a year total,” including Doonesbury, which Universal syndicates:

In earlier times, Doonesbury was pulled more frequently, but I think more newspapers have a sense that many readers expect Doonesbury to be Doonesbury. And they prefer to avoid the headaches pulling a strip creates.

Those headaches for the Plain Dealer include more letters and 175 comments on former columnist Connie Schultz’s Facebook page.

No other papers pulled the strip, Salem said. Another Non Sequitur strip was pulled just last month, on December 3. And prior to that, a Non Sequitur strip titled “Where’s Mohamed?” was pulled in October 2010.

“Non Sequitur seems to be a favorite right now,” Salem said, “but it doesn’t match the heydays of the Boondocks, Doonesbury, or FBOFW, which was dropped by dozens of papers because of a gay character.”

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  • http://www.facebook.com/Connnnnnnnjk Con Fidential

    Grow up thanks George W. Bush for everything we can not do or see. He kept us safe? Really I thought he was the President when we were attacked, yet they (tbagginRepubs) blame the Nobel Peace Prize winner. You know him he can read. Obama 2012.

  • Anonymous

    One more thing. Grow up, America. If cartoons could possibly be instrumental in hastening the dissolution of the union, it would’ve happened in the first hundred years or so. Political cartoons after the civil war, especially, were dreadful and vicious, yet no one pulled them. 
    Just Grow up. Geez, what a bunch of pantiewaists.

  • Anonymous

    In the film, “The Matrix”, the character Morpheus, when attacked by one of the agents, asks who he is. The agent responds with “agent Smith”, whereupon Morpheus says “you all look the same to me.”.
    Now, since that phrase was originally used to indicate one’s laziness in distinguishing individuals of non-white cultures (or, as some prefer, to minimize their importance as individuals, thus denigrating the group as a whole….) and was used to devastating effect against blacks, the image of a black man saying that to a white man was hilarious, in my humble opinion and a wonderful comment on how far we’ve come, that we can joke about such treacle.. 
    Unfortunately, we as a society are rapidly losing the ability and inclination to abstract. This trend towards taking things so literally-and personally-while providing ample grist for many comedians’ mills, is setting the stage for future disappointments in our cultural lives, as we find it necessary to continually battle to define exactly how many, if any, angels can dance on the head of a pin.

  • Anonymous

    I’m guessing that the phrase “they all look alike to me” is a denigrating way of referring to human minorities.  If the cartoonist  had portrayed a white person viewing an Asiatic, African-American Native-America and an Inuit in a lineup, and used the caption ”they all look alike to me”,  THAT would have been deemed controversial.  Stephen Colbert often says something similar: “I don’t see skin color”.

  • http://twitter.com/aoscruggs aoscruggs

    I didn’t get the point of the cartoon. Can someone explain it to me?

  • http://www.facebook.com/b.f.price Beverly Farmer Price

    “It was deemed objectionable.” Way to go, passive-agressive a*holes. When will the Passive Voice be banned from journalism as the weasel it is?