Doonesbury expletive roils newsrooms

April 20, 2004 at 7:42 PM
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla., April 20 (UPI) -- Some salty language from a wounded comic strip soldier -- Doonesbury's football playing B.D. -- has created a linguistic dilemma for newspapers.

Universal Press Syndicate, which distributes Doonesbury to 1,400 newspapers, told clients they can run the strip with the expletive or cut it -- but they can't change it.

B.D., undergoing treatment for a severe leg injury in a military hospital in Iraq, blurts out "son of a (explicative)!"

One editor at the Tampa Tribune told the St. Petersburg Times, "If you look down and suddenly part of your leg's been blown away, you're certainly not going to say, "Goodness gracious!"

The Times said it plans to run the strip, although news features editor Mike Wilson says the expression is not one the newspaper takes lightly.

B.D., brought to life 36 years ago by cartoonist Garry Trudeau as a Yale football hero, has worn his football helmet to a number of wars, starting with Vietnam.

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