You have to hand it to readers of the incredibly shrinking comics section: Many of them have a clear vision for those pages, even if most newspaper editors don't.
The funnies largely go ignored in newsrooms, at least until word comes down that pages must be axed or, else, there's a once-in-a-blue-moon announcement that a cartoonist or syndicate is ending a strip. But those readers who turn to Cathy or Hagar or Rex Morgan each day know exactly what they want (usually that's for the page to look the same as it always has).
Take, for instance, Ted Trump of Orleans, Massachusetts. When he opens the Cape Cod Times, he expects to be entertained by Zits -- not to be confronted with the type of scandalous nudity that's been the trademark of Love Is ... for the past four decades.
As best as I can tell, the reader was offended by this three-day run (SFW!) of Jerry Scott and Jim Borgman's Zits, a nod to the long-running, single-panel comic originated by Kim Grove. If you're somehow unfamiliar with Love Is ..., it's an often-difficult-to-stomach ode to, well, love, that stars two characters who, despite their nudity, display no secondary sexual features. Except for their hair and eyelashes, they're indistinguishable from each other.
So for three days last week, Scott and Borgman adapted two of their characters to that visual style for a series of gags titled "Love Isn't ..." Harmless enough, right? Wrong.
Trump writes that he found the strips "to be inappropriate and offensive," and goes on to suggest the Times' editors "get to work monitoring such comic strip authors by not accepting this sort of deviation from enjoyable and proper comics."
What's more -- and you knew there would be more -- he asserts the cartoonists "should be penalized for submitting such inappropriate and offensive material in the future by a substantial monetary withholding."
That's right, dock their pay!
While the editors of the Cape Cod Times calculate how many pennies to deduct under Trump's plan, I'll be busy filing for reparations for a lifetime of exposure to Love Is ...