Special to WorldTribune.com
Commentary by Bill Juneau, March 11, 2023
The cartoon character “Dilbert,” which has always ranked high on “favorite comic lists,” has been excised from thousands of newspapers. The block-headed Dilbert, a crotchety yet fan-favorite engineer, who often picked at the inadequacies of his fellow workers and could be sarcastic in upbraiding them, has been kicked aside after some 35 years as a comic strip.
The cartoon character has been given his pink slip by publishers because his creator, Scott Adams, recently spoke out in a way that got him tagged as a white racist, and today’s woke culture has mandated he must be punished.
In the comic strip, Dilbert could be impatient with his fellow workers, and some even say “mean,” but there was no denigration of blacks and no punching at the black man through innuendo. To say Adams used Dilbert to spread his so-called racism is simply fiction, but who cares — Adams must be punished, even though the focus of the comic strip was the shortcomings of corporate America.
The 65-year-old Adams has been drawing his sharp-edged satire on the the foibles of the workplace through the travails of Dilbert since 1989 and the comic has been carried in more than 2,000 papers and published in 65 different languages.
The comic strip was incredibly popular in the United States and it has been described as the “the most photocopied, pinned-up, downloaded, faxed and emailed comic strip in the world.”
Seeing what Dilbert and his “pointy-haired boss” were up to every morning was as essential as that first cup of coffee for devoted fans. Chuckling at the satirizing rhetoric of the square-topped Dilbert was a great way to start the day.
Scott Adams has always been a conservative supporter of the nation’s “Make America Great” 45th President. That political allegiance to Donald Trump, no doubt, weighed heavily in favor of the decision to cancel Dilbert and to excoriate the Republican Adams as a white racist, punishing him and torching his income.
Adams has never been one to remain silent when he sees or hears of comments and activities of which he takes exception. He frequently has posted comments and opinions on social media outlets.
Last year, when talk of diversity and LGBTQ in the workplace was streaming, Adams introduced the first black character in Dilbert. He was dubbed Dave, the black engineer. “I identify as white,” Dave said in one strip
Last year President Biden said that the next Supreme Court Justice he will appoint will be African American and a woman. Race and gender were the starter basics, and legal skill and brains were secondary as credentials. Adams saw the nonsense in the president’s thinking. Responding in January, Adams tweeted:
“I’m going to self-identify as a Black woman until Biden picks his Supreme Court nominee. I realize it’s a long shot, but I don’t want to completely take myself out of the conversation for the job.”
On his YouTube show on Wednesday, Feb. 22, Adams reported that a recent Rasmussen survey found nearly 26 percent of blacks surveyed do not agree with the statement, “It’s okay to be white.” Another 25 per cent said they were “unsure” as to their feelings; and about 50 per cent said that statement was fine with them. The Anti-Defamation League had already classified the statement as a “hate symbol.”
Adams had a response and he focused on the blacks who objected to the phrase, “it’s okay to be white.” Those black Americans who find fault with whites just for the mere fact that they are white comprise a “hate group” and white Americans ought to “get the hell away from those black people,” Adams stated. “If nearly half of the blacks are not okay with white people …that’s a ‘hate group,’ and I don’t want to have anything to do with them,” he said.
‘Newspapers should have more sense than to mess with one of the few features left that attract people to their pages.’
That was enough to put an end to the whole Dilbert-sphere. Like lightning, his comments were vilified as racism. Publishers including the Washington Post, New York Times and Chicago Tribune announced that they were deleting the comic strip from their papers. Swiftly, the number of “me too”papers dropping “Dilbert” spiraled into the hundreds and then into the thousands. Poor Dilbert never even opened his mouth.
“I discovered that the price of free speech is really high and there are only a few people willing to pay it,” said Adams. “So I decided to pay it, so that I could extend the conversation to something that everybody needs to hear.” He added that his comments about black Americans “hold up the mirror to what the U.S. really thinks.”
Elon Musk, the billionaire who has brought sense and openness to Twitter, which he now owns, has been a friend of Adams. He noted that while Adams’ assessments may not be popular, there is much truth in what he said.
“For a very long time,” said Musk, “the U.S. media was racist against non-white people…..now they’re racist against whites & Asians. Same thing happened with elite colleges and high schools in America. Maybe they can try not being racist.”
President Biden and disingenuous Democrats continually charge that America and its policemen, local governments, business establishments, not to mention all Republicans are “systematically racist.” Prominent black faces in the news, like Chicago Mayor Lightfoot and the Rev. Al Sharpton, “squad members” in Congress, and looney celebrities in Hollywood find racism behind every rock and bush in arguing their positions in whatever controversy is on the table.
Adams grew up as a fan of “Peanuts” and started drawing his own comics at the age of 6. To date, more than 40 “Dilbert” reprint books have been published with the “Dilbert principle” becoming a New York Times best seller, according to Andrews McMeel, Dilbert syndicators.
Newspapers should have more sense than to mess with one of the few features left that attract people to their pages. To deep-six their best comic in an era when there are so few top notch strips that many papers rerun quality oldies like “Peanuts” and “For Better or for Worse” is just another blow to the media’s future.
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