November 15th, 2010
02:13 PM ET

Monday's intriguing people

Garry Trudeau

The creator of "Doonesbury" is celebrating his 40th anniversary drawing the politically and socially charged comic strip.

He is making the media rounds in support of two books being published: “40: A Doonesbury Retrospective” and “Doonesbury and the Art of G.B. Trudeau.”

The comic strip, which is more likely to appear on the op-ed page of a newspaper than in the comics section, routinely skewers those on the political landscape. Trudeau’s loyal readership has led to the strip being published in 1,500 newspapers around the world since it was first published on October 26, 1970.

Collections of his cartoons have filled almost 60 books and have sold more than 7 million total copies. His 1975 Pulitzer Prize for editorial cartooning made him the first comic strip artist to win the award.

His comic has sometimes earned him a reputation as a left-winger, but a column in The Boston Globe pointed out that Trudeau’s jabs can target anyone.

“I’ve always thought he was an equal-opportunity balloon-popper,” wrote Alex Beam. “Anybody who figured out that John Kerry was a narcissistic blowhard as a Yale undergraduate is someone who sees the world through a wide-angle lens, taking in all azimuths of social and political tomfoolery.”

Several media outlets are paying homage to Trudeau and his drawings this week. NPR is one of the few media outlets to have gotten an interview with oft-reclusive Yale graduate.

The radio network offers a condensed retrospective of Trudeau’s work as well as several anecdotes from the artist. In one, the 62-year-old recounts how he became syndicated shortly after his strip appeared on campus.

“It's a ridiculous story, and it nauseates my children,” Trudeau says, “that I would find my life's work six weeks into it.”

Joe McGinnis

Sarah Palin's next-door neighbor made his reality television debut on "Sarah Palin's Alaska," but the author isn’t happy about it.

According to the Anchorage Press, McGinnis hired a lawyer after learning he would appear in the episode, titled “Mama Grizzly.” He is demanding that TLC and Discovery remove the footage, saying in a letter from his attorney that footage of him was “obtained without his knowledge or consent.”

McGinnis is writing a book about Palin, and he rented the house next to his subject’s home on Lake Lucille in Wasilla.

During the show, Palin, who had a 14-foot-high fence constructed between her home and the one rented by McGinnis, complains that McGinnis moved next door to snoop, according to People magazine.

Alexandra Petri wrote for The Washington Post that a scene involving McGinnis (in which his face is reportedly blurred as he reads on his deck) is one of the show’s top-10 moments.

Petri joked of McGinnis, “He has moved all the way to Wasilla, Alaska, because he actively wants to see more of the Palins, and they are carefully shielding their activities from him, whereas I have moved to Washington, a place I hear is anathema to Sarah, so that I can avoid her as much as possible, and she insists on inflicting herself upon me every night this week.”

McGinnis said earlier this year he was not spying on the Palins and had, in fact, shooed away people trying to take a picture over the fence.

Television critics are debating whether “Sarah Palin’s Alaska” is an actual attempt at reality TV or a campaign ad for Palin, who could be on the presidential ballot in 2012.

Cody Alicea

The 13-year-old had an escort to Denair Middle School in California after a group of bikers learned he was told last week to take an American flag off of his bicycle.

According to UPI, school officials were concerned his flag could stoke “racial tension” and cited an incident involving Cinco de Mayo earlier this year.

“Our Hispanic, you know, kids will, you know, bring their Mexican flags and they'll display it, and then of course the kids would do the American flag situation, and it does cause kind of a racial tension which we don't really want,” Denair Unified School District Superintendent Edward Parraz said. “We want them to appreciate the cultures.”

Cody's parents told UPI that he flies the flag as a tribute to the veterans in his family.

School officials seemed to back off their stance Monday when Alicea was escorted to school by hundreds of motorcyclists and other flag-waving supporters, according to CNN affiliate KTXL-TV in Sacramento, 75 miles north of Denair.

CNN affiliate KOVR-TV described the scene as a “noisy parade led by a smiling Cody” and reported that the youngster started crying when the group broke into “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

Parraz took responsibility for last week's decision by a campus supervisor and called it a mistake.

“Apologies to all the veterans, all the Americans,” Parraz said. “This is all on me. I didn't want this to happen to the community, the veterans, the whole country.”

Apparently a magnanimous kid, Cody said he hopes no school officials are canned because of the incident but noted that, in the United States, he should be able to fly an American flag wherever he pleases.

soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. the_dude

    I'll bet oilberman is a doonsebery fan for sure

    November 15, 2010 at 6:15 pm | Report abuse |
  2. @drbcool

    Amen!!! I noticed that exact same thing! He sounds like Tommy Chong, which is fine for Tommy, but NOT for a school official!! Pathetic!!

    November 16, 2010 at 5:07 am | Report abuse |
  3. Name

    Dear CNN Editor: Why do you include stories about Keith Olbermann and other news media personalities on your Political Ticker page??? They are not political figures; nor are they political news. It appears that the purpose of CNN is to market journalism, particularly the sensationist kind, rather than to report news. Is OPINION all your will ever be??

    November 16, 2010 at 10:18 am | Report abuse |
  4. Bonny

    This child is extraordinary!!!!!!!!!!! His parents need to be commended for the way they are raising this child!!! To care about the school officials' job, is soooo awesome, besides his patriotism!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Go Cody, u and ur parents are something to be proud of as "AMERICANS"!!!! THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!

    November 18, 2010 at 6:26 am | Report abuse |
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