With more laughter than meanness, cartoonist Garretson Beekman Trudeau (1948) sold his Yale newspaper strip Bull Tales in 1970 to Universal Press Syndication and to avoid offensiveness, renamed it after major character Mike Doonesbury. ("Doone" = good-natured fool in Yale slang.) However, as history has shown, the name change did not stop controversy.
For 30 years, Doonesbury has been on the top and bottom of opinion polls. With biting wit, Trudeau's parallel universe has tackled politics with what humorist Art Buckwald called "some of the best satire to come along in a long time."
"Everyone has time for the comics," Trudeau said about his popularity. "They get under people's skins." Two of those with punctured epidermis was former President Bush who once told a reporter that he'd like to "kick the hell out of Trudeau" and Barbara Bush who in defense of her son George W. in 1999 called Trudeau "spoiled, derisive, ugly, and nasty."
Stretched, juggled, and juxtaposed, Trudeau let the criticism slide off and suggested that the Bushes ignore what that can't laugh off. "With me, it's never personal," he explained. Awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1975, he once told Newsweek, "Criticizing a political satirist for being unfair is like criticizing a nose guard for being physical."
About his way of looking at life, he added, "It cannot be considered sanity to hide the imperfections from our children so they will grow blind to them. Is it not better to tell the truth, even in hyperbole, and hope they will do something about it?"
When faced with the small meannesses of life... Laugh!