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Douglas Andrews / September 26, 2022

Why Did ‘Dilbert’ Get Pink-Slipped by Dozens of Newspapers?

Creator Scott Adams’s recent foray into woke politics might’ve had something to do with it.

It’s possible that the removal of Scott Adams’s iconic “Dilbert” comic strip from 77 newspapers owned by Lee Enterprises had absolutely nothing to do with politics. It’s possible that the strip, which appears in thousands of papers across 57 counties in 19 languages and has produced more than 20 million books and calendars, was strictly business, strictly a decision governed by Lee’s bottom line.

It’s also possible that the Detroit Lions will win this year’s Super Bowl.

The comic strip that, since 1989, has made brilliant satirical sport of our nation’s corporate culture has been yanked from dozens of media markets recently. Adams, the writer and illustrator of the popular comic, said Lee Enterprises, which owns nearly 100 newspapers throughout the U.S., stopped printing it last week.

“It was part of a larger overhaul, I believe, of comics,” Adams said, “but why they decided what was in and what was out, that’s not known to anybody except them, I guess.”

Might it be mere coincidence, then, that Adams, who famously predicted that Donald Trump would win the 2016 presidential election, only recently vowed to start taking the fight to ESG, the leftist environmental, corporate, and governance policies that are currently being published by more than 90% of companies in the S&P 500?

“It should start to become known,” said Adams, “that Dilbert thinks it’s ridiculous and then people who also think it’s ridiculous will start retweeting it. And then the boss who’s in charge of it will start to get these sent to him by email or printed out and slipped under the office door. Mockery is very powerful, and mockery, in theory, could dismantle this.” Adams further noted that he “can’t do it alone,” and that he needs his readers to “amplify this and make it go away.”

While it’s true that mockery is a powerful force, it’s also true that the Left has no stomach for it. “The Left isn’t just sensitive, overbearing, and hypocritical,” writes columnist Suzanne Bowdey. “It’s humorless too. … Apparently, it’s OK to make fun of Christians, God, and church, but not the Left’s woke religion.” Bowdey continues:

In one of the cartoons, Adams compares radical environmental, social, and governance policy to a “colicky” baby with “firehouse diarrhea.” In another, he mocks the Left’s political rating system for companies. But in the comic strip that got the most attention, “Dilbert” takes aim at businesses’ diversity quotas with a character named Dave, who identifies as white, despite being black. When that isn’t enough to boost the company’s ESG score, his boss asks him, “Would it be too much trouble to identify as gay [too]?”

As far as Adams was concerned, all of this was fair game. “All of the wokeness and anything that permeated from ESG … made its way into the business world, and then it became proper content for ‘Dilbert.’” Unfortunately for his fans, several overly touchy media moguls didn’t see it that way. And, for the first time since the comic appeared in 1989, thousands of Americans will open the funnies this week without Dilbert’s trademark glasses and striped tie.

“If we can’t laugh together about something,” says Babylon Bee Managing Editor Joel Berry, “that’s a real sign our culture isn’t healthy.” But, he said, it’s not hard to understand why the other side can’t take a joke. “The Left wants the Right to shut up because, when the Left talks, people are kind of repulsed by their ideas.”

To which we would tell Scott Adams: If you’re taking fire, it means you’re over the target.

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