Okay, this is only marginally relevant to cartooning because of the Uncle Duke/Hunter Thompson connection in Doonesbury, but Brian Fies mentioned it in the comments following a recent post about rejection letters and, while longtime readers have heard at least bits of the story, others have not and so here it is:
Back in 1971, Hunter Thompson wrote me a doozy of a rejection letter, which is framed and hangs over my desk for inspiration. If you are easily offended, and even if it takes some effort to offend you, you may wish to avert your eyes:
What's interesting -- and still not comics relevant but at least relevant to the topic of humor -- is that, in 2011, I sent it off to "Letters of Note," where it appeared.
However, in the time it was up, it went viral and I had that experience which, if you have never enjoyed such a thing, you might enjoy.
Up to a point.
But, if the thrill wore thin quickly, being momentarily a center of Internet attention sure was instructive.
Part of the fascination was that Thompson's widow denied its authenticity, which she would know about since she was three years old when it was or was not written. And it had been previously cited in a biography of him and was well-known in the Rolling Stone offices.
But the more interesting part came about because I published the piece that had inspired it, and discovered that there are a lot of people on the Internet who have apparently never read John Lennon or Donald Barthelme or Jack Douglas. Fair enough, it was another era.
However, they not only don't appreciate absurdist humor but become absolutely apoplectic when exposed to it.
I know you have to choose your audience and, for instance, that you don't do intellectual wise-ass humor in a maximum security prison. We assume that.
But this somehow provoked that same hostile response, not simply "I don't get it," but they responded, not with mystification but with palpable fury.
Though I suppose the fact that the tone of the letter itself went whizzing over their heads was a clue, because it was clear that they took the letter absolutely at face value, winking post script be damned.
I reflected on this, and on my general intentions for the blog, on its third birthday, and I came up with no particular conclusions. But you can go have a look and see what you think.
There are some good cartoons there, too, and I hope you won't hate my guts if you don't get them all.