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"Non Sequitur" creator Wiley Miller has never been one to shy away from criticizing the very medium that has delivered his comic since 1991. Years before "The Daily Show" was even a gleam in Lizz Winstead's eye, "Wiley" the Former Newspaper Staff Cartoonist was smartly aiming poison-darts at journalistic Achilles' heels -- even if it meant occasionally overshooting and taking out a kneecap. Such is the risk of practicing effectively pointed satire.
Wiley has questioned the "expertise" of general-assignment reporters, skewered sensationalistic headlines and even poked fun at the New York Times for not requiring the services of a comics editor. But today's strip -- coming quickly on the heels of The Washington Post and other newspapers not running a Muhammad-themed "Non Sequitur" -- seems drawn with especially fresh acid in the pen nib.
On Oct. 3, a Sunday "Non Sequitur" strip mocked those in publishing who won't depict the Islamic prophet -- by depicting a bucolic park scene that's captioned in part: "...Where's Muhammad?" (in a spoof of the children's picture book "Where's Waldo?").
Today, Wiley would seem to mock those in newspaper publishing who won't run a cartoon about those in publishing who won't depict the Islamic prophet. At the very least, the strip -- spoofing the Times's motto "All the News That's Fit to Print" -- satirizes what he views as timidity among newspaper editors.
When the "Where's Muhammad" cartoon ran -- and, well, didn't run -- Wiley told Comic Riffs: "I have absolutely no information on why any of the editors chose not to run it. All I can do is surmise that the irony of their being afraid to run a cartoon that satirizes media's knee-jerk reaction to anything involving Islam bounced right of their foreheads. So what they've actually accomplished is, sadly, [to] validate the point."
Reached last week about today's "Non Sequitur," Wiley preferred to say that this time around, he will simply let his satire do the talking.
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