Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Public Opinion

During the time I was doing Dr. Jimmy in my school newspaper in college, the paper published four letters to the editor about the strip. Two were in favor of my work and two were very much against my work. Here is what they wrote with the headlines the paper provided:

About "Dr. Jimmy"
To the editor,
After reading the "Dr. Jimmy" comic in the Feb. 2 Beacon, I felt compelled to voice my opinion. I fail to see the humor in any of the "Dr. Jimmy" comics printed in the Beacon thus far. I would describe "Dr. Jimmy" comics as repulsive, distasteful, pointless and crude.
In my opinion, it would definitely take a twisted sense of humor to find entertainment in Dubrow's treatment in such sensitive topics as rape and homosexuality. Sure the author of "Dr. Jimmy" has something more constructive to do with his time.
(this is from a female freshman majoring in journalism)

We Deserve Better
To the editor,
Your cartoon "Dr. Jimmy" has run long enough to prove to me at least, that it is cheap, uncreative, tasteless and boring. I see no social, political, moral, or artistic value in the strip.
Surely as college students, we deserve better than to see someone's ridiculous fantasies about creating giant cockroaches and eating giant eggs in our school paper. Can't you find something better to do with your space?
(this is from a female senior majoring in liberal arts)

Satiric Effort
To the editor.
My compliments to you and cartoonist Dubrow for the continuing presence of the cheap and tasteless Dr. Jimmy in The Beacon. The Doctor's treatment of such topics as the end of Dr. Roling, homosexuality among newts and the envy of whites for black hair styles confirms the time-honored state of affairs that the court fool can say things to the king that "responsible" persons will never risk saying. While Dubrow's humor is often sophomoric, it is always creative and usually interesting. I would like to see more space devoted to the satiric efforts of local cartoonists.
(this is from a male professor of clinical psychology)

A Healthy Escape
To the editor,
The comic strip "Dr. Jimmy" by Dubrow offers a healthy escape from the reality of higher education at UT. "Dr. Jimmy" is a transcendental comic strip which rises above common thoughts or ideas and offers a mystical view of the UT society. I claim to be a health educator, therefore, shall speculate that the nature of the strip, "Dr. Jimmy" is beneficial to mental health.
(name withheld) attack on cartoonist Dubrow's far-out imagination is clearly a case of Standardization, a mild neurological disorder characterized by severe diarrhea. The symptoms include demands for comic strips with social, moral, political, and artistic value such as "Mary Worth," "Nancy" and "Ziggy." The infectious agent, Ticky tachus, is spread by direct contact with infected persons. The incubation period is unknown, but usually occurs after several years of exposure to UT or one quarter of Barbara Ward, Beacon editor. Isolation of infected persons in dorm rooms is not recommended. Preventive measures include "Happy Hour" and small doses of good marijuana.
I am not the only person concerned with students' mental health. Joey Ledford, Managing Editor of the The Beacon, expressed his concern for UT students' mental health in the editorial, "Parking Crackdown Leads to Mania." Mania is an exaggerated desire for, pleasure in, or excitement induced by something, i.e, parking places. (name withheld) is apparently also suffering from mania, perhaps zoomania or ophidiomania, an excitement induced by giant cockroaches, newts, and big eggs. Persons who suffer from these various mania are known as maniacs.
I admit that "Dr. Jimmy" is not the best comic strip around, but it provides a vent for student's rage which might otherwise be directed towards UT administrators and trustees for their outdated policies. UT students should be aware that is is mentally unhealthy to bottle-up their emotions (pun indended). Mental health at UT is sometimes scarce, so let's not get rid of one Beacon cartoonist's fantasy of life at UT.
(this is from a male senior in public health)

I couldn't find the Feb. 2 strip that the woman in the first letter was referring to. My collection of old Beacons with my strip in them is not complete, so I have no idea what set her off.

At the time I was doing the strip, I was thrilled by the attention, both good and bad. I heard from friends who knew Chancellor Reese and President Boling that they had read of my satire of them in Dr. Jimmy and though they didn't get the joke, didn't mind the ridicule. On the other hand, I had one editor at the paper who seemed to especially hate the strip. He told me that his friends had approached him at parties to demand why he was allowing me to continue doing my terrible strip in the paper.

Both then and now, the question that has always gone through my head is why did some people hate Dr. Jimmy so much? I was doing the strip in the late 70s. The country had just gone through the radical 60s. I had grown up reading Zap comics, Mr. Natural, and National Lampoon. By comparison, Dr. Jimmy was as harmless as Nancy. Sure, I talked about race, rape, drugs, and frustration with authority, but who didn't? I really didn't understand the anger.

What I didn't get back then was that conservative views were not limited to people over 30. These young Republicans had every right to their opinion. However, what I didn't get back then and still don't understand now, was why they didn't just ignore the strip? Why the crusade to destroy it? Other people enjoyed it, so let them enjoy it. When I read the funnies in the Sunday paper, I skipped the strips I thought were lame.

Of course, I know the answer. We attempt to destroy things that offend us, regardless of whether those things are not offensive to others. It's how we end up with banned books, repressive governments, etc. I am by no means claiming that my little college comic strip suffered some kind of terrible repression from "the man." I had people who didn't like it who voiced their opinion, which they were entitled to do.

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