In celebration of the birth of a post-racial America, Chatological humor presents
this actual Dennis the Menace comic
from 1970. Emphasis: This is not Photoshopped. It is how Hank Ketcham drew it, and how hundreds of newspapers happily published it, apparently seeing no problem whatsoever.
Allowing for the fact that this was 38 years ago, how outrageous and unforgivable was this? (Choose the best answer)
Utterly and completely and profoundly and timelessly outrageous and unforgivable.
The drawing was in bad taste, even for the time, but I don't think it was intended to be hurtful.
It wasn't nearly as outrageous and unforgivable as it seems today in retrospect. Edgy, but printable in 1970.
If the black character had been drawn as a normal person, and not as a ridiculous racial caricature, would this cartoon be acceptable to run in newspapers, even today?
I'm not sure.
If the black character had been drawn as a normal person, and not as a ridiculous racial caricature, would this cartoon be funny and / or clever?
Does the "run faster than I do" contribute to the insensitivity of this cartoon?
Maybe a little
My friend David Mills, a screenwriter (
this is his Web site
), suggested that a good way to confront the modern-day absurdity of this strip would be to rewrite the caption to make it funnier. David and I came up with these new ones. Which is the funniest?
"Hey Dad. Anything else you wanna tell me about your year in Kenya with the Peace Corps?"
"Hey, Dad. This is Jackson, Margaret's new pimp."
"Hey, Dad. Jackson can outrun me. 'Course, a turtle can outrun me too on account of these weirdly stubby legs."
"Hey, Dad. Margaret been less stuck up ever since she got burned head to toe in a freak perfume-ignition accident."