National Stupid Day

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"National Stupid Day", an installment of Garfield that ran in newspapers on Veterans Day

"National Stupid Day" is an installment in Jim Davis's syndicated comic strip Garfield that ran on November 11, 2010, the same day as Veterans Day, a holiday in the United States. The strip, which refers to a hypothetical day of remembrance for the dead as "National Stupid Day", caused some commentators to speculate that the strip was a veiled criticism of Veterans Day or veterans. Davis apologized for the strip, saying that he had written the strip nearly a year in advance and that any offense was unintentional.

Synopsis and analysis[edit]

The strip features an interaction between the titular character, Garfield, and a spider. Garfield is holding a newspaper, threatening to squash the spider, a recurring motif in the Garfield series.[1] The spider forcefully warns Garfield that should he be squashed, there will be a "national day of remembrance" for him and that he will become famous.[2] Garfield, seemingly not persuaded, squishes the spider anyway.[1][3] The final panel shows a classroom full of spiders, in which the teacher asks, "does anyone here know why we celebrate 'National Stupid Day'?"[2]

Some commentators theorize that the teacher is the same as the spider from the previous panels.[4][5]

Reaction[edit]

"National Stupid Day" was released on November 11, 2010, which falls on Veterans Day, an American holiday that celebrates veterans of war. As such, many interpreted the comic as a slight towards Veterans Day or veterans, causing controversy on social media.[6][7] Some veterans also wrote in to their newspapers to complain about the strip.[3] In response, Jim Davis released an apology statement, saying that he had written the strip nearly a year in advance, and that he did not get to control the timing and had no intention to cause offense with it, but was sorry for any offense it had caused. Davis also highlighted his family members who had served in the United States Armed Forces and committed to paying closer attention to the calendar of when his strips were run.[7][8]

M. Alex Johnson, writing for NBC News, opined that rather than any real controversy taking place, the reaction on social media was actually full of people speculating that the comment might cause offense, but no actually offended readers.[4] A spokesman for the American Legion told the Associated Press that there was no need for Jim Davis to have made an apology.[8] Some commentators also expressed surprise at the existence of the controversy, characterizing Garfield as a comic strip popularly known for its safe and bland humor.[4][7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Garfield creator apologizes for Veterans Day strip". TheWrap. Yahoo! News. November 12, 2010. Archived from the original on November 21, 2023. Retrieved November 21, 2023.
  2. ^ a b Itzkoff, Dave (November 12, 2010). "Garfield creator apologizes for 'National Stupid Day' cartoon". The New York Times. Archived from the original on November 21, 2023. Retrieved November 21, 2023.
  3. ^ a b Grossberg, Josh (November 12, 2010). "Garfield haters unite! Fat cat backtracking after Veterans Day diss". Today. Archived from the original on November 21, 2023. Retrieved November 21, 2023.
  4. ^ a b c Johnson, M. Alex (November 11, 2010). "Cartoonist insists no Veterans Day slight intended". NBC News. Archived from the original on November 21, 2023. Retrieved November 21, 2023.
  5. ^ "Garfield creator apologizes for ill-timed Veterans Day comic strip". CNN. November 12, 2010. Archived from the original on August 31, 2023. Retrieved November 21, 2023.
  6. ^ "Garfield creator apologizes for Veterans Day strip". Reuters. November 12, 2010. Archived from the original on November 21, 2023. Retrieved November 21, 2023.
  7. ^ a b c Plafke, James (November 11, 2010). "Garfield creator apologizes for "National Stupid Day" comic published on Veterans Day". The Mary Sue. Archived from the original on November 22, 2023. Retrieved November 21, 2023.
  8. ^ a b "Garfield creator apologizes for 'National Stupid Day' joke on Veterans Day". St. Paul Pioneer Press. Associated Press. November 10, 2010. Archived from the original on November 21, 2023. Retrieved November 21, 2023.