Down With The Boondocks

In a world gone mad,
In a world gone mad, we need artists to remind us that we’re not the ones who are crazy. So I’m beginning an irregular series of Cultural Survival Tips for the Age of Bush. Here’s tip #1: The Boondocks, the daily comic strip by the young African-American writer/artist Aaron McGruder.

Boondocks is the Doonesbury of the hip-hop era. It’s a hip, satirical, back-of-the-book take on the front-page absurdities of the daily news. And, just as Doonesbury was during Vietnam, McGruder’s Boondocks is in a permanent state of uncompromising resistance to the "war on terror" and the corporate media propaganda that underlies it.

This is a strip in which, in the wake of 9/11, the 10-year-old protagonist, the precocious young revolutionary Huey Freeman, regularly called John Ashcroft’s "Terror Information Program" (TIP) line to report the likes of Ronald Reagan, Donald Rumsfeld, and Bushes I and II for their roles in arming, training, and supporting terrorists over the past 20 years.

Boondocks appears in 300 daily newspapers around the United States. At least it’s in them somewhere, most of the time. As they’ve done with Doonesbury, many papers have bumped it to the op-ed page.

There’s a certain logic to that move. It’s hard to argue that Huey really belongs next to Beetle Bailey and Dagwood. But it also limits the strip’s potential readership to the people who bother to look at the op-ed page. That’s a problem because the point of McGruder’s style of pop-cultural subversion (like that of his white blood brother, Michael Moore) is to get the revolutionary message into the minds of the unthinking, aliterate media consumer.

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Sojourners Magazine April 2005
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