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Words, Words Words

I have to say, this week has been terrifying as far as policing speech codes.

There's this story, where a man said something and got charged with a hate crime.

Then there's also this story where a different man said something and got charged with a hate crime.

There's also that goofy story about Rosanne Barr but I think we all know that one.

The thing is, will we ever get a list of things we can and can't say? No, we won't. I get the feeling that the powers that be enjoy things more if everyone is nervous about what they can and they can't say. If no one really knows what words will get their livelihood taken away, then more people will shut up and assent to ridiculous things.

And something else is, that even if they did come out with a law that said you can't say X to this minority person, you know that the very next month they'd also write a new law that said you also can't say Y to this minority person, and you can't say Z the next month, and so on and so on. They'd never stop.

It's not about propriety or civility. I've been called things that would make your hair curl. But I'm not so messed up, insecure and whiny that I'd want people to go to prison for it, or that my surrogate daddies in government would make up a law to protect me from those things.

Like I said, it's terrifying. People say stuff in the heated anger of social confrontation. They may even say things you don't like. I don't want to stand by and watch it happen where people go to prison or lose their professional career for saying words.

Comic transcript

Okay we're at it again! We're coming to you live from 1948 and a comic drawn by Norman Maurer and written by Charles Biro. Crimebuster is in the passenger seat of the car, you can't see him very well from this angle in the first panel, but whoa-oh! Someone's bounced out of the car in front of him! He's ricocheted off of the pavement! What's happening?

BLONDE GIRL IN CAR: Stop the Cab!!! It's Billy!! It's my Billy ... They've thrown him out!!

HOODLUM IN CAR PRECEDING: Step on it, Joe! If my bullets didn't kill him, the fall will for sure!

CORPSE BEING THROWN BODILY OUT OF CAR: Bonk!

CAPTION: Life is full of gambles! The stock market, which is an important function of our economy, real estate, or any business ventyre for that matter, is also a gamble! It's needless to mention more as you know. They are within the law! Our society is like the human body - if any one organ suffers, the body will feel the pain! It will likewise suffer! That's why men of all races and creeds must work together in harmony, for if any small group is injured, a whole nation must endure its agony! The best guide to that harmony is the law, which is a set of rules in the game of life, as in any game!
The bookie who evades his tax obligation, or the gambler who corrupts a basketball team with graft, is making his own rules! You'll get my point in this story!

  • Charles Biro

It's 1930 and we're in a classroom. Ah, how peaceful and quiet and orderly. A white haired older lady is the teacher, looking about the class. A black haired child whispers to a blond haired child. "How about a little wager? I'll bet ya two bits that Ginnie Parker gets a higher mark on the exam than Betty Ashfield!"

The blond kid scoffs and says "You're the bettingest fool I've ever met! Okay, I say she don't for a quarter! Here, you hold the bet!

The white haired lady has a pinched face. She's pretty bitter. She yells "Quiet children! Here are your examination marks - Virginia Parker - 98. Betty Ashfield - 95. Jack Eby - 92!"

The blond kid sinks down and whispers to the black haired kid "Okay, Bill, you win! I don't know how you do it!"

It's outside the school now. An American flag flies proudly on the roof against the clean blue sky. The black haired kid, Bill, he's with a cute blond girl. I gotta say it looks like the kids were about 8 in the first panel and now it looks like they're 13 or 14 or maybe even 16.

Bill, a wry smirk on his face, says "Wait up Ginnie - What's the big rush? I want to give you a dime for helping me win a bet!"

Ginnie frowns, but she's interested. "I helped you win a bet? How?"

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