Wiley, creator of the daily strip Non Sequitur is one of the best cartoonists around and someone I read every day. Last Saturday (September 18, 2017) he had the strip below. I thought that he was making a point about the way our judicial system is a slave to stereotypical thinking and is all too willing to treat harshly and without due process anyone who looks different enough to be considered the ‘other’.
What is odd is that the point of the strip is something he had done before twice, on January 13, 2012 and December 14, 2014. The first time, newspaper editors had pulled the cartoon for fear of causing offense, that created the Streisand effect with people going online to see what was so offensive. I and many others thought that it was an absurd over-reaction, that they had mistaken a positive message as a negative one. But the next two appearances of the same idea did not provoke such a response.
What I am curious about is why Wiley is repeating the same joke. It is hard to come up with new jokes every day but I don’t think that this is a case of unconscious self-plagiarizing. I do not recall him repeating other jokes and besides, given the earlier controversy, he would definitely remember this strip.
So is he conducting some kind of experiment on readers and newspaper editors to see if we are paying attention? Or perhaps he thinks that this is an important point that he cares strongly about and that people need to be regularly reminded of.