I'm glad I have this blog to show the comics my editor rejects. The version of the comic below that will run 11/30/13 has a different third panel. This is the original version that my editor rejected. Was he right?
I feel in general Dilbert has been trying a bit too hard to get crude jokes past the censor. Dilbert is as its best when it's creating absurd situations with funny facial features, not when its punning, and particularly not when it's punning curse words/poop jokes.
I often think about the first times I saw this comic strip in our city paper. I believe it was slipped in as a temporary replacement for some other strip I liked. I resented the replacement and thought, What a rotten, lazy artist this guy is. What is that stupid little bubble character, why is the printing so sloppy? But then I started to read the words and was hooked. Almost 25 years and many comic collections later I am still hooked. I figure with the money I have spent on Dilbert collections Scott has been able to afford a nice bathroom fixture or two.
In that same paper now, whereas Dilbert was at the bottom of the first page it is at the top. It replaced first D-ck Tracy, then Peanuts that had that spot for many years. And for the most part it has been deserving. Strip by strip, day by day I think the quality varies, if I may be permitted to benignly criticize a highly successful strip. But if one looks at the whole collection as shown in Dilbert 2.0, for instance, the quality of the achievement in comics terms is apparent. It is a worthy descendent of the work of Al Capp, and by the way some of the characters and situations might be seen as related, such as Dilbert himself, Elbonia, and so on.
To get to the point, I welcome the strip out-takes on the website. I would even buy a collection called The Unexpurgated Dilbert. But leave the naughtiness there and do not pretend to have controversies with the editorial people. The newspapers will soon get very different, anyway, if not totally disappear. Do nothing if possible to hasten their demise, otherwise all the comics they eventually print in their last days will be cheap stuff.
We used to try to slip things into our school newspapers and year books, and from the vantage of many years later, I can see it would have been better to work at being more quality clever than being nasty crude. I do not expect Mark Twain in Dilbert, but neither do I want to see underground comics junk. By the way, has Dilbert been imitated yet in a Tijuana Bible? I guess some comics consider that a perverse compliment.
By the way, I at first inserted this into the previous blog by mistake.
If you wanted to use that pun, it would probably have been better to have the Etiquette Crone discussing salad forks vs. regular forks, the order they were used in, and the class being nothing but a big... Fork Queue.
Although I still think the pun is pretty weak overall.
(If this is part of a series, please let the introductory text at the top of panel one in the future strips just say, "Etiquette Crone," because that combination of words actually IS funny).
English is not my first language and I didn't get that joke.
Googled it and still didn't get it.
Had to come and read the comments to understand what the fuss was about.
In conclusion: not a great ending.
The start was totally fine - eloquent words fit well with the theme of this strip.
I agree it should have been rejected for not being very funny. I like CliffClaven's list of alternatives to what the etiquette instructor is going to teach them. I might add to the list, not to eat like feral pigs (or other funny-sounding animal of your choice).
I also like "No idea, but give me that knife and I'll carve a mouth on this Jack-O-Lantern." That one made me lol.
Did bring to mind some of the inane classes National Steel thought were worthwhile. Dimly recall some 4 quadrant thingy that correctly identified everything mgmt wanted out of you to be "urgent but unimportant". But then heavily emphasized that your performance was purely a function of whatever phb wrote your review. Could have summarized the entire multi-day off-site seminar with: "U R F'd". Which is pretty much panel 3.
Not sure how to suggest a change to an old strip. Look at 08.18.2000 The boss states that due to storm conditions, all non-essential employees can go home. In the last box, he looks out the window to see who is leaving and states "this will be the easiest round of layoffs ever"
I would love to see this updated to this weeks federal cut backs of non-essential workers.
Assuming your editor rejected it because of the "fork cue" bit then no, I would have let that pass -- I don't have a problem with offending people.
Having said that, it's not as funny as most of your strips. Someone else pointed out the jumble of words in the first frame, and I agree that they do sort of trip you up.
But the concept of etiquette lessons for engineers tickles me, as one who dropped out of an engineering degree, but not before having ample opportunity to observe engineering students in the refectory. I think a backhoe might be a more accurate comparison than a kidnap victim.
If "fork que" is unacceptable because most people know the unacceptable similar phrase, then isn't "F-bomb" or "F word" unacceptable for the same reason? I see that in newspapers, why are the comics held to a more ridiculous standard?
I laughed out loud and thought it was pretty funny.