The Corner

Doonesbury Kremlinology

I don’t read Doonesbury except by accident a couple times a year. I find the strip as dated as driving an old VW bus with a Peace sign on it — and twice as clichéd. But I found this email interesting:

Dear Jonah,

You seemed to be the Corner’s resident pop culture expert. Did you happen to notice Doonesbury last Sunday? I realize that Doonesbury’s has become pretty uninteresting – I only still read it myself because its part of a web comic page that I open every days, and I’m too lazy to edit it out – but I did think Sunday represented an interesting change of direction.

What I mean is that, as of Saturday, Sept 2, the Doonesbury was still complaining about crazy “King” George W. Bush. On Friday, Sept 1, he even used the line, “When you’re king, you can order illegal wiretaps.”

But then on Sunday he had his proxy Mark say, “As an old Lefty, I know, I was as angry as they come. But being an ideologue robs you of critical thinking. I miss it. Which is why I find myself drifting back into the mainstream.”

Of course, he then tries to cast the right as the angry-and-out-of-touch ones. That’s only to be expected. But “drifting back into the mainstream”? That seems like quite a change!

So what happened? Well, according to the Doonesbury Faq, each week’s strips, Monday through Sunday, are delivered on the evening of the Friday, ten days before. That would mean that the strips ending Sunday were created on the week starting Aug 12th, and delivered on Aug 18th. Did anything happen that week?

Well, no, not exactly… but one week before that, on August 10th, the arrest of the 2006 transatlantic aircraft terror plot was made public.

Of course, even the news of that plot would not have been enough to turn Garry Trudeau around overnight, and so the strips created the week of Aug 5th to Aug 11th would have gone out to run Aug 21st through 27th, unaltered.

But it doesn’t seem unreasonable to wonder if, as the details of that plot were unfolded over the course of the next week, maybe Trudeau finally realized just how looney the left had finally become… and just in time for the Sunday strip.

Of course, it’s just a theory. But, if it is correct, could it serve as a bellwether moment in terms of the debate of surveillance and National Defense? Even if the Democrats assume control over the House, will they still be as eager to pursue impeachment over the NSA program?

Update: From the same reader:

Dear Jonah,

Wow, thanks for running that.  I take it as a compliment.  And so quickly too!

If I had known (and if I’d thought of it), I’d have provided links to the strips in question.  Here they are: Fri, Sept 1; Sat, Sept 2; Sun, Sept 3.



The Latest