Silencing "Opus," again

This week, only Salon has the original version of Berkeley Breathed's controversial cartoon.


Joan Walsh
September 3, 2007 1:24AM (UTC)

Last week we told you that Salon was running two "Opus" cartoons, featuring spiritual seeker Lola Granola's stint as a "radical Islamist," that many newspapers, including the Washington Post, declined to publish. This week, Salon is running Berkeley Breathed's original, unedited version of the Lola Granola finale, and it's slightly different from the one approved for distribution to newspapers by the Washington Post Company.

In the strip distributed to newspapers, the final panel substitutes "world" for the term "Middle East." (The Washington Post declined to publish even the edited cartoon in the newspaper.) We liked it better the way Breathed originally drew it, and decided to run that version.

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As I noted last week, Editor & Publisher and others reported that some newspapers had concerns about running a cartoon that might somehow be construed as insensitive to Muslims. I'd like to insert a line here about Salon's courage in running these two strips, but I didn't see anything that made me think twice about them -- except the news that others wouldn't publish them. We're proud to have Breathed as a contributor, and sad about what this episode says about newspaper publishing today.


Joan Walsh

Joan Walsh is the author of "What's the Matter With White People: Finding Our Way in the Next America."

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