January 9th, 2013

On Cartoon “violence”

by Mort Walker

Years ago, when Mort was starting out with Beetle, an editor told him he should have Beetle beaten up once a week. Since then, it’s become one of the recurring gags in the strip. Of course, that was back in the days when slapstick humor was more common. People used to howl at the Keystone Kops and the Three Stooges and others. Maybe not as much anymore in the newspapers but slapstick is alive and well in movies and TV. I can’t count the number of times I’ve seen people blown up or run over by cars on late night TV.

I’m sorry some people are offended when Sarge fights with Beetle but we also get mail from people saying “I love it when Beetle gets beat up.” You can’t possibly please everyone so we have a bit of a dilemma on this issue. We also get complaints (and compliments) on a number of other things in the strip. Honestly, if we followed everyone’s suggestions, there would be no humor left in the strip. Humor is subjective, after all. What’s hilarious to one person wouldn’t even crack a smile on someone else’s face.

Sensibilities do change, however, so I’ll see if I can get Mort to do it less often, at least on Sundays. Of course, Beetle never really gets hurt, he’s always back up and running away from Sarge the next day. Usually, Beetle and Sarge go off for a beer together afterward. ┬áDespite everything, they always remain friends.

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