Editor & Publisher has an article about some people protesting an offensive cartoon. That’s great — I love protests against offensive things.

But this sentence gave me the chills:

“Newsday issued a statement saying,’we expect the cartoons we publish, many of which are nationally syndicated, to amuse, stir and entertain, but never to offend’.”

Wow. What an extraordinary, horrifying statement. I loathe the cartoon, but that’s not the point — this statement makes it clear that the trend toward blandifying papers has not only not slowed, but that editors freely admit that they’re okay with it. They’re afraid of their readers and afraid of editorializing. This fear of offending anyone is stultifying and so dangerous. Does anyone still think we live in a free society?

I think that as the economic, environmental and other crises increasingly worsen, Americans will become more polarized (that’s already happening) and will demand sharper opinions in all areas of the culture. We see the success of those who start to speak out more openly on tv and online. I hope newspaper editors start to understand this emerging trend and figure out that their readers want controversy and strong opinions, not bland meaninglessness.

The whole *purpose* of editorial cartoons is to enlighten, expose, inspire and offend! NOT to “amuse and entertain.” Those are secondary. As Mike Lester (a cartoonist who often seriously offends me) correctly stated, non-offensive cartoons “are called greeting cards.”