Â For his October 3 Sunday release of Non Sequitur, Wiley Miller produced a gauzy fall panorama of a lazy, sunny park scene in which sundry personages are depicted whiling away their leisure time by buying ice cream, fishing, roller skating, etc., captioned “Picture book title voted least likely to ever find a publisher â¦ âWhereâs Muhammad?â”
Alan Gardner at DailyCartoonist.com subsequently reported that Universal Uclick confirmed that several papers (upwards of 20)Â asked for a replacement because the seemingly harmless cartoon mentions the word Muhammad.
None of the characters are depicted as Middle Eastern, but that, apparently, made no difference to timorous editors. Gardner continued: “Responding to the news that his strip may not appear in some papers, Wiley said, âThe irony of editors being afraid to run even such a tame cartoon as this that satirizes the blinding fear in media regarding anything surrounding Islam sadly speaks for itself. Indeed, the terrorists have won.â”
Indeed, the reaction of timid editors affirms the accuracy of Wileyâs satire. Sad, yesâand fiercely alarming.
And Wiley wasnât about to let the instance fade into the ether. Last Sunday, November 28, he caused his grizzled codger sea captain to commit one of his many sea stories.
“Theah we wah,” the old gaffer commences in his usual New England drawl,Â “âcaught in another nar-eastah. Pauley anâ me drifted to an island that looked like it was inhabited, but it was quietâtoo quiet. So we set out to exploah. Then I got a sense of fahboding, like we should go back anâ take ah chances with the sea. And I was right! I soon discovahed we had landed in the most dreaded and disturbinâ place known to the free-thinkinâ wauld. We wah marooned onâTHE ISLAND OF THE POLITICALLY CORRECT OSTRICH PEOPLE!”
You can see Wileyâs defining visual of that horrific isle in the accompanying exhibit, which displays both the October transgression and yesterdayâs (in the vertical format that Wiley provides as an alternative to subscribing papers).
The “Warning” reads: “Todayâs most forbidden word, never to be uttered or printed is: the M-word!”
And the aged marinerÂ continues: “And just when I thought it couldnât get wause, it did.”
To which Flo, the patience waitress at the diner the old guy frequents, says: “Ok, Iâll biteâhow?”
And he says: “That was the newsroom.”
As of Monday morning, Wiley told me, he hadnât heard a peep of protest from the cowed press. “But,” he added, “you know how it is. Editors only read a comic when it’s shoved under their nose by someone asking if it’s âtoo controversialâ for the comics page.”
And Wiley took precautions against such a derailment. He has forbidden, as a matter of policy, his syndicate to ever again send subscribing newspapers “warnings” about potentially inflammatory episodes of Non Sequitur.
We might get a laugh out of Muhmmad yet.
Next time: we return to our short and snappy review of new, freshly minted comic strips.