Y’all probably don’t remember, but about three years ago — having seen that The State was about to revamp its comics page — I posted something about the best and worst comics in the paper.
I did so in the sad context of lamenting that the heyday of actually funny, clever comics being long over. There’s been nothing on the page to get excited about since the very best went away in the mid-90s. But I said there were still two that were amusing — “Dilbert,” and “Overboard.”
Not that either was great, mind you. “Overboard” had been great, but had lost a lot of ground. Still, it was enjoyable. I had never been particularly a fan of “Dilbert,” but I recognized its strengths — and it had maintained those strengths over the years. I also put in a caveat about the creator’s problem of mixing in politics in ways that made you doubt his sanity.
That has now come to the fore, big time. But to finish my anecdote… I had intended to follow up that post with an assessment of the new strips once The State unveiled them, but I found it too depressing. They were uniformly awful. Not only that, but they killed “Overboard.” I’ve still looked at the comics page in the paper regularly, but only at “Zits,” “Peanuts” (which just posts strips created many decades ago by a long-deceased cartoonist, which shows you how desperate I am, and how sad the situation is), and “Dilbert.” Yeah, I make myself glance over the rest frequently, hoping something will surprise me with cleverness or originality, but that doesn’t happen. Ever.
And now this. I suppose Scott Adams’ self-destructive streak just wasn’t satisfied, and he felt the need to take it to a new level. I can’t begin to guess what prompted him to do that. No, I don’t think this is a case in which a closet racist has inadvertently exposed himself. This is a guy who has a history of saying and doing things in the political sphere that cause a WTF? response in other people. And I guess he hadn’t gotten enough attention lately to suit him. Or maybe he was sick of drawing strips and wanted to go out in a spectacularly awful way. In any case, it seems clear he knew what he was doing.
So, you know, goodbye, Scott Adams. And if you doubt that he has completed lost it, this might convince you: Elon Musk is defending him.
Oh, did you think I was going to defend Adams, going by that headline? No.
But as someone who used to go to the comics page with some enthusiasm, back when there was “Calvin and Hobbes” and “The Far Side,” I’m sorry there isn’t anything with a funny edge to it left. Bill Watterson and Gary Larson chose to go out with great dignity. Adams chose the opposite route…