The older generation bemoaning the digitalization of news finally has a youthful ally – an 8-year-old boy in Bloomington, Indiana. He’s being lauded by AARP newspaper subscribers as a hero. The boy left a voicemail for The Herald Times in Bloomington, Indiana berating editor Bob Zaltsberg for cutting out some of his favorite comics. The voicemail is raw, passionate and includes language I learned in high school.
Here was his list of demands:
Ziggy, Close to Home, Garfield, Frank and Ernest, Peanuts, Garfield (again), Dilbert, Nancy (then his mom gave some other lame requests from the background), Peanuts (again), Garfield (for the 3rd time), Close to Home (again). Then his dad says, “You don’t care about Doonesbury do you?” Not so fast, dad. Doonesbury makes the list at the last minute.
He closed with an ultimatum (kind of): “I’ll give you all my money, if you just give us it back. Idiots, jerks, shitholes…shitholes.”
On its surface, the voicemail is hilarious because it features a kid cussing and it’s a scientific fact that society finds it funny when children, grandmothers above 75 and middle-school teachers, curse.
But on another level the voicemail is priceless because it’s so unexpected. I’m sure the editors expected a quiet comics transition with mild email backlash. Instead, the editor got owned by an 8-year-old and now everyone knows Bloomington’s newspaper changed their comic strips.
I do think this boy is an anomaly. Not only because he calls people shitholes, but because he reads the printed comics. After he reads the comics he probably hops on his Schwinn (without a helmet) and rides down to the soda parlor before the ice cream truck rolls by his cul-de-sac.
It’s funny to us because we don’t expect children to like comics anymore. At least not printed comics. You can Google “Dilbert” and the day’s comic comes up. How easy is that?
We’re constantly harping on how children these days are screen-addicted, lazy little shitholes. But times are different. Children do spend more time in front of screen, they have their own iPad Minis, but that’s because they’re future people.
Which makes it all the more funny when someone born in the 21st century gets so worked up about the back page of a newspaper.