21. November 2005 · Comments Off on Life Imitates Art · Categories: Media Matters Not, That's Entertainment!, The Funny

On his Dilbert.Blog, Scott Adams explains navigating a publisher’s bureaucracy, in order to portray a cop shooting an unarmed perp:

The problem is that there’s an unwritten rule in newspaper comics that you can’t show a gun being fired. I knew that, but my editor was new on the job and I thought it was the perfect time to try and slip one through. But his alert assistant thwarted my plan and brought it to the attention of an informal committee of executives to decide how to handle it. The group ruled that the gun could not be shown. The concept of a peace officer gunning down an unarmed suspect was okay, but I couldn’t show the actual gun firing.


Luckily I have 16 years of corporate experience, and I know how to navigate my way around group decisions. What you need is a solution that could only appeal to a committee. I suggested a compromise. I would keep everything the same, except the gun would be replaced with a donut… that fires bullets. My compromise was accepted. Without explanation to the readers, this is the actual comic that ran that

I wonder how long this “unwritten rule” has been in existence? It has been a very long time since I’ve read Dick Tracy, or Barney Google and Snuffy Smith. But I’m pretty sure I’ve seen guns fired on both. And then, of course, there’s Willie and Joe: lot’s of guns being fired there – if only in the background.

Hat Tip: Todd Zywicki at Volokh

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