Garry Trudeau gives a lecture at Stanford in 2014
|Born||Garretson Beekman Trudeau
July 21, 1948
New York City, New York, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Jane Pauley (1980â€“present)|
|Awards||1975 Pulitzer Prize
1977 Nominated for Academy Award for Animated Short Film
1978 Jury Special Prize
1994 Newspaper Comic Strip Award
1995 Reuben Award
I've never taken any issue off the table for lack of suitability. Only for lack of imagination.
For the most part, editors no longer view 'Doonesbury' as a rolling provocation, which is fine by me. It makes no sense to intentionally antagonize the very people on whose support you most depend.
The strips about the military do seem to provoke moving and thoughtful responses. It's nice when the strip resonates, but more importantly, I need to know when I'm getting something wrong. The last thing I want to do is contribute to the suffering that wounded warriors already endure.
I try not to second-guess editors; they're the clients, and I have no expectation that my strip is going to make it into every paper every day.
Comic-strip artists generally have very modest ambitions. Day to day, we labor to fit together all these little moving parts – a character or two, a few lines of dialogue, framing, pacing, payoff – but we certainly don't think of them adding up over time to some larger portrait of our times.
Well, it's a humor strip, so my first responsibility has always been to entertain the reader… But if, in addition, I can help move readers to thought and judgment about issues that concern me, so much the better.
When you're young, with less on the line, it's easier to be audacious, to experiment. So I introduced the concerns of my generation – politics, sex, drugs, rock-and-roll, etc. – to the comics page, which for many years caused a rolling furor.
I've been trying for some time to develop a lifestyle that doesn't require my presence.
I found that not having a public profile was not hurting the work, and it freed me up to be the satirist I wanted to be.
In any event, it's not exactly a secret to regular readers what my views on the war are.
Because I was a diminutive, arty kid, I felt like a misfit in high school – but who doesn't?
I think it's very dangerous for people who do anything that's public to venture on the Web and check out what people are saying about them. Yes, you're bound to find things that will delight you – but you also find things that will make you brood and feel bad about yourself. Why would you intentionally invite that into your life?
Humor can inform and break down stigma, which is a huge issue in the military.
The systematic dismantling of reproductive rights, much like the takedown of collective bargaining, has been taking place in full view.
There's always been some concern that adult subject matter should be quarantined from a page that attracts children. Unlike late at night, when 'South Park' and 'Colbert' are on, impressionable minds are wide awake when the newspaper arrives.
Comic strips are like a public utility. They're supposed to be there 365 days a year, and you're supposed to be able to hit the mark day after day.
Satire is a form of social control, it's what you do. It's not personal. It's a job.
I'm a pointillist, just working my tiny little piece of the canvas. I'm not so good at perspective.
I'm still passionately interested in what my fellow humans are up to. For me, a day spent monitoring the passing parade is a day well-spent.
Becoming the new feminine ideal requires just the right combination of insecurity, exercise, bulimia and surgery.
Life is like a movie-since there aren't any commercial breaks, you have to get up and go to the bathroom in the middle of it.
I don't want to sound disingenuous here – controversy is obviously good for business, especially if your business is satire. And it does amplify the discussion – in my view, a good thing.
That's what fiction writers do: create characters and do terrible things to them for the entertainment of others. If they feel guilty enough, they write happy endings.
Any time you bring sexuality into the comics pages, you have to brace for pushback.
When you're young, you don't feel iconoclastic – you're just kind of doing what seems natural, what moves you.
I just happen to have one of those skill sets that allows me to work in my underwear.
I'm never happier than when I'm not working. The strip is a job – that's why I take money for it. It's a job I'm passionate about, but it's a job I totally leave in the studio when I walk out of here, unless I'm late and I have to work at home. I never think of the strip unless I'm compelled to.
Commencement speeches were invented largely in the belief that outgoing college students should never be released into the world until they have been properly sedated.
In their heyday, comics were a dominant force in popular culture, but that's over.
Coming up with ideas is really hard – they don't spontaneously pop into my head while I'm cutting vegetables.
Lives have been altered in fundamental ways, and later, after they acquire a more complete understanding of what goals are actually attainable, many are left facing a lot of pain and frustration. And yet, there's no culture of complaint.
Medical decisions have been politicized. What doctor wants a state legislator in his consulting room?
I can only try to keep the characters interesting; it's up to the readers to decide whether they're still relevant.
I try to take people one at a time, with all the contradictions and compromises that most of us live with.
I don't think so, but it's always in the back of my mind that many of the soldiers being wounded and killed in Iraq are about the same age as my kids. My godson is going over soon, so the war's about to get personal for me.
Having stretched the boundaries some, I'm perfectly content now to work within them. 'Doonesbury' doesn't need to become 'South Park.' You won't ever see any singing turds.