The Portland Press Herald and Maine Sunday Telegram are pretty good small town country news papers to which we had enjoyed a daily subscription for several years. That is, until a passive aggressive delivery person began rolling it too tightly in its plastic tube and then double knotting it, making it necessary to tear the bag, only to find that the paper refused to lay flat in order to read the damned thing comfortably. Even though we had a nice plastic tube provided by the paper, the daily news ended up on the ground most of the time. So we pulled the plug on daily deliveries. That’ll teach them.
However, to mess with the comics - well, that’s another matter. To their credit the Sunday Telegram once printed the comics on heavy stock that folded and behaved in such a way as to make it possible to read them without having to fight the stock on which they were printed. It reinforced one’s sense of well-being and security on Sunday mornings while enjoying a cup of hot coffee and perhaps a sweet roll. I would often find myself thinking how nice it is to live in a market where the publisher of the local paper understood the importance of real American values. At least where the comics were concerned.
Alas - as the flower of youth suddenly disappears from the bathroom mirror - the wonderful heavy paper stock of the comics section was replaced with the more flimsy stuff likely to be seen in, say, the sports section. Not only that but there was a half sheet of advertising that folded over onto the front page of the comics that I flatly refused to read. I tore it off and threw it into the fire. How utterly disrespectful. Give me a break! Can’t the funnies be a discrete haven of enjoyment without the dumbed down intrusiveness of advertising to mar the experience?
So last weekend as we unfolded the comics and ripped off the ugly advertising to get to the content, we noticed that there was no Doonesbury strip. To make matters worse there were a couple of completely brain dead substitutes. Who is making these decisions? Don’t these people know that satire, critical humor and yes - even a smattering of cynicism are essential to the welfare of the American Way?