Is Science Denialism Creeping Into Comics About Cavemen Living With Dinosaurs On A Second Earth?

In today’s, July 18th, 2013, edition of the daily comic strip Alley Oop, we have what could possibly be a rather jarring insertion of climate change denialism into a comic that does not normally tackle current real world issues.

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What started off as a informative discussion of “The Year Without a Summer!” just may have jumped the rails to the crazy train.  Um, Doc?  Climate is not the same as weather.  Now do not get me wrong, I may be completely overreacting here.  Tomorrow’s strip may have the guy in the suit respond “Doc, you ignorant slut!, the man made global climate change the earth is experiencing now is completely different from this historical change in climate caused by a natural disaster and corrected over a few years when volcanoes did not continue to pump ash and gas into the atmosphere.  Quit interrupting me, I am trying to make a point in a roundabout way that will cause you to realize that I have a problem that only that caveman you hang out with who lives on the other Earth on the other side of the Sun can solve.  May I continue please?” In which case I will post here tomorrow with “Sorry folks, false alarm, I jumped the gun, never mind.”

Or perhaps not.  Perhaps this is a one off comment and global warming will not be brought up again in this story line, or perhaps we will continue to see the events of 1816 compared to today’s climate crisis.  Either way, I think this bit of science denialism is underhanded and needs to be pointed out.

Let me explain.  I am not one of those people who think politics or social issues have no place on the comics page.  Reading Bloom County while growing up in my formative years probably had a great influence on my progressive views today.  I’m of the mind that if a comic is above a child’s age range, he or she is normally going to skip that comic.  If a political comic causes a child to ask questions, that is great.  I think too many people would rather their kids just accept what they tell them rather than ask questions.  I think that is a mistake.  Even if I would like my children to have the same values and religious and political beliefs that I have, I want them to come to them by their own process, not by parental command.  Setting an example is one thing.  Teaching is one thing.  Explaining how you came to your beliefs is one thing.  Telling them what they believe, and that is that, is a whole other story.

So I have no problem with Mallard Fillmore being on the comics page with its unapologetic conservative leanings.  I don’t mind the open Christianity of B.C.  I think it is a complete joke that my far right local newspaper banishes Doonesbury to the opinion page for fear of corrupting the kids of Republicans.

So why do I have a problem with this?  Because all of those comics make no apologies for what they are.  Look at the website for Mallard Fillmore.  It doesn’t hide the fact that the comic has a right leaning tilt.  It celebrates it.  B.C. isn’t always about Christianity, in fact, most days it has nothing to do with the religion, but it never apologizes for the beliefs, and every Easter and Christmas you know a religious themed comic is coming.

Alley Oop, on the other hand, is a comic about a caveman and his girlfriend, living in the realm of Moo, on a second Earth that is on the opposite side of the Sun, and the scientist from Earth number one who discovers them and their adventures.  It is science fiction.  It is fantasy.  If I had impressionable youngsters of my own who read the comics, I would know that no matter how funny it is on most days, sometimes Mallard Fillmore may say something that I would want to talk with them about, to explain that not everyone holds that opinion on an issue, just as I am sure some conservative parents would do with liberal leaning comic strips.  I would expect that everyone’s favorite right wing duck may suggest that today’s global climate change is just like some problem of a couple of hundred years ago, that obviously got fixed since we are here today, so no big deal.  I don’t expect it from Alley Oop.  Just as I don’t expect the parents from Baby Blues to not vaccinate their children because of fears of autism, or Dagwood to force Blondie to quit her job and get back in the kitchen, or for Sally from Peanuts to die from a back alley abortion because the State Congress closed down all the clinics in her state.

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