Point/Counterpoint: Cartoon instigates potentially dangerous staff ‘circus’

By Robert Bartels and Cyrus Moussavi 2005

Cyrus: All of our problems started when Robert opposed a potential Our View about the famous Family Circus comic strip that is published daily in newspapers around the country . The comic is written by an 81-year-old guy named Bil Keane who has a strong love of little fat kids and their shenanigans. I HATE THE FAMILY CIRCUS. When I read about PJ putting “odorant” on his “underpits,” my standard of living declines dramatically. Robert, why do you read The Family Circus?

Robert: I read it because it is cute and it points out real life situations. Like on Oct. 23, Grandma was holding PJ in her bathrobe, and she said, “It’s never too early to be hugged, but you never know when it might be too late.” She’s saying it’s never too early in the morning to be hugged, but it could be too late in life to be hugged. What do you have against cute little things like that?

Cyrus: Robert, “cute” is a subjective word. I think puppies and babies are cute. I guess you think an 81-year-old man holding onto the tattered remains of his past is cute. But I would just call that sad.

I’m not alone in noting that The Family Circus represents all that is wrong with the world today. Whenever my mom tells me to be more like PJ, or even worse Dolly, my hatred for the author Bil Keane reaches dangerous levels. I just can’t compete with kids who have been six years old for the past 45 years and spend most of their time mangling the English language in no-so-clever ways. I have never heard of anyone who looks forward to the newspaper in order to “see what Bil Keane has up sleeve today.” What does this sad comic do for you?

Robert: Actually, it makes me laugh, and I look forward to reading The Family Circus every day. For instance, in the Nov. 12 strip, Dolly innocently turned to her mom and said, “Mommy, will you help me find whatever I’m looking for.” That made me laugh because she just wanted her mom to help her, but unfortunately she couldn’t remember what she was looking for. I think that too many people think there has to be an actual joke for something to be funny. People just look too seriously at thinks. It’s the lighthearted things in life that people need to laugh at more.

Cyrus: Touche … you win. I just don’t know what to say to that.

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