The comic strip 'Doonesbury,' devoted this week to poking fun at 'the mysterious world of Ronald Reagan's brain,' Wednesday made the pages of the New York Times which wanted to show its readers what the editorial fuss was all about.
The offending six-strip sequence has been pulled out of one paper and ended up on the editorial or news pages of others that criticized the six-strip sequence as dirty politics.
The strips consist of a spoof on a TV documentary in which a narrator describes 'a journey into the unknown _ a fantastic voyage through the brain of Ronald Reagan.'
The New York Times, which does not carry comics, reprinted Tuesday's strip in its 'Campaign Report' column, under the subhead, 'Meaner than a junkyard dog.'
The column noted the controversy the cartoon had stirred up, and asked its readers to make their own judgment on the strip in which TV viewers are promised they will see 'the fornix _ Reagan's memory vault, storehouse of images of an idyllic America, with 5-cent Cokes, Burma Shave signs, and hard-working white people.'
The Daytona Beach, Fla., Journal which has endorsed President Carter decided not to run the strips by Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist G.B. Trudeau until after the election, terming them 'unconscionable' and not funny at all.
The Indianapolis Star initially refused to run the strips, but lifted the ban Tuesday after a flood of reader protest.
'Too many readers thought we were being censors and biased, where all we were trying to do was be fair, and thought it was an unwarranted attack,' Star managing editor Lawrence S. Connor said. 'If it was Carter, we'd have done the same thing.'
The Star, which was running the remaining strips on its op-ed page Wednesday and Thursday, has endorsed Reagan.
Four other dailies moved the strip from the comic pages to their news or editorial pages and several editorially criticized Trudeau for making a vicious personal attack.
In Wednesday's sequence, the narrator leads a tour through the left hemisphere of the GOP candidate's cerebrum. He explains that Reagan has lost sleep during the campaign, adding, 'the brain needs to dream; if deprived at night it compensates by hallucinating during the day.'
'Seen in this light, Mr. Reagan's ability to reconcile huge tax cuts with massive military spending must be viewed with some sympathy,' the narrator says.
In Thursday's strip, the narrator comments, 'The brain of Ronald Reagan has been shrinking ever since 1931, whereas Jimmy Carter's brain has only been dying since 1944. To the trained scientist, this represents a clear choice.'