Doonesbury Wins Even If His Comic Isn’t On Dead Trees

A Doonesbury comic strip is being withheld from some US newspapers due to the content within it. Except, Doonesbury (and his message) wins even if the strip isn’t run on dead trees.

Why? Everyone’s now talking about the issue. He’s gone from comics section to being featured, which was likely the objective all along.

This is yet another great example of the Streisand Effect (where an attempt to hide or remove a piece of information has the unintended consequence of publicizing the information more widely).

I know the Streisand Effect is classically one that involves situations attempting to remove information after it’s been published, but I think in this case it still applies. As it is, in fact, an editorial decision of the newspaper to not include the content and “hide” this specific strip from readers but not the others. Due to that decision the comic itself is being amplified as well as the issue it represents, even if it is not distributed via those papers.

Personally I don’t read printed newspapers (aka living artifacts) and am always surprised some people still get their news this way. But if I did hear my local newspaper chose not to include a piece of content, I’d be even more compelled to hop online and view it anyway.

It is a masterful play by cartoonist Garry Trudeau and provides insight for anyone looking to have their ideas shared. In a world where digital is the master copy and Trudeau has a publishing platform of his own, he is actually made more successful by being censored. He’s rewarded for pushing boundaries, something artists and content creators should do.