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Funky Winkerbean depiction of IED blowing up american soldier generates angry response
Friday’s Funky Winkerbean generated an angry response in two communities that ran Tom Batiuk’s feature. The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer (GA) received a call from an Army staff sergeant from Fort Benning and the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner (AK) received a call from an offended parent over the depiction of Funky Winkerbean’s brother being blown up from an I.E.D (improvised explosive device). The comic’s earlier installments, Monday through Thursday, showed Funky’s brother serving in Iraq on what looked like a foot patrol with Friday’s depiction of the IED going off. It’s not until Saturday’s comic that Friday’s events is placed in the context of a video game that the brother was playing.
As a result of the phone call, the executive editor of the Ledger-Enquirer responded by saying, that this particular comic…
“should never have run in our paper. For the failure to identify the problem and spike the material, I take full responsibility and apologize to the men and women of our Armed Forces.
We have internally implemented review steps to more closely monitor syndicated material.
Tom has written a response that went out to both papers that includes the following:
I wanted to let you know that I’m sorry for any concern, anger or confusion that today’s Funky Winkerbean strip may have caused with your readers. Obviously, any strip removed from the context of it’s (sic) surrounding story is open to misinterpretation, and such appears to be the case here. It was most certainly wasn’t intended to disparage our soldiers in any way.
“To the contrary, anyone following the Iraq story arcs in Funky, knows that I’m not only sympathetic to what our soldiers are facing in Iraq, but the focus throughout has been on the sacrifices they make in being separated from family and in the dangers they face in the theater. Treating them with disrespect is not something I would ever do…