Hippo City

James Eric Prichard

I’ve been seeing signs around campus for The Lawrentian. Evidently the paper is moving to a format with more pages and students are welcome to contribute content such as articles, editorials, or cartoons. I have nothing against articles or editorials, but I disagree with the paper’s attempt to house an original comic.It would be morally wrong for The Lawrentian to print such a comic because to do so would perpetuate the rampant egocentrism that already drives the publication. Lawrence University promotes the understanding of alternative worldviews and opinions to a laudable extent. The diversity and foreign language requirements, as well as some of the works on the Freshman Studies list, draw many students away from their Eurocentric habits and enable them to interpret life more globally. The Lawrentian, however, remains a bastion of self-centeredness, solely focusing on Lawrence. Flip through the pages and you will see that every item is about Lawrence and written from an insider’s point of view. This paper is as open-minded as a textbook written by Joseph McCarthy and only cares about the people with whom its editors directly interact. An original comic, written from a Lawrentian’s perspective and doubtlessly “relevant,” would only perpetuate the problem.

An original comic would also be aesthetically faulty. Drawing is difficult, and as most Web comics attest, people who think they can draw usually can’t. I’ve spent a lot of time at Wriston, and Lawrentians are no exception to the rule. I don’t want to see the crude depictions that an original comic would doubtlessly offer.

A new comic would also be a waste of resources. Why do we need to pay a student to draw a horrible cartoon when we can just use pre-existing comic strips? I know that most cartoonists make you pay a syndication fee, but our school is small enough so that they probably wouldn’t find out. We could just scan a strip out of the Chicago Tribune and put it in our paper, free of charge.

Besides, those cartoons are terrific! Just the other day I was reading “Garfield,” and boy, is that Jim Davis a great cartoonist or what? He’s over 60 years old and still cranking out the hits. It’s amazing that a cartoon about a cat who loves to eat could have such longevity and still be innovative. “Garfield” is probably my favorite comic, right ahead of “Marmaduke” and “Heathcliff.” (Can you tell that I love animals?) It would be pointless to have a dumb student-drawn cartoon (apply the adjective twice) when we could have “Garfield.”

Or, if you don’t like cats, what about “Family Circus”? Bill Cosby wasn’t joking, kids really do say the darndest things. Whether Ida Know is running around in a dotted line or Billy is drawing a cartoon for his dad, the stock gags employed by Bil Keane never fail to amuse me.

Some of my peers, of course, find these comics too old-fashioned, but luckily there is the hilarious “Dilbert,” who shows just how illogical the realm of business can be. And the main animal in the strip is a sarcastic pet, just like in “Garfield”! There are also many zany cartoons out there such as “Get Fuzzy” or “Pearls Before Swine,” in which animals are not only cute, but also violent, and will do hilariously random things.
It’s a sad state of affairs when the most unique comic strips in the paper are “Peanuts” re-runs and “Mallard Fillmore.