“No Politics” Facebook Groups

If, like me, you are a fan of Dilbert and The Far Side comic strips, you can join a Facebook group in which fellow fans share vintage strips so you can get your daily laugh at the antics of the pointy-haired boss, Wally, Catbert, mad scientists, women in beehive hairdos, and cows. It’s great–until you notice that what is supposed to be a feed of enjoyable comic strips has also become a free forum for people to vent their political spleens, and those notices of new group postings that you are getting are taking you to purely political rants.

That’s what happened to the Dilbert Facebook group that I originally joined. Very quickly, the political postings overwhelmed the posts that actually had something to do with Dilbert. So I quit the group, reasoning that I get a sufficient diet of different political memes and viewpoints from the group of Facebook friends on my news feed, without needing to add whatever screeds might be posted by strangers who have joined what is supposed to be an innocent cartoon enjoyment forum. Fortunately, I was able to find a group formally titled “Dilbert (no politics)” to give me my Dilbert fix without the political overtones.

I get that, for many people, politics is all-consuming, at whatever point on the political spectrum they are on. Still, it seems weird to me that we need to form specific “no politics” Facebook groups to prevent intrusions into groups dedicated to comic strips, or sports, or cast-iron cooking, or needlepoint. You would think that people would realize that the groups aren’t formed for that purpose, and the audience isn’t really keen to have strident politics injected into their fun. Does anyone really think people might change their political views due to a diatribe posted in a Facebook group focused on some non-political topic? I’m guessing that most people react as I do and just leave the group, shaking their head at the notion that Facebook groups can become political battlegrounds and wondering at the fact that, these days, it seems harder and harder to get away from politics.

The (Modern) Golden Age Of Comics

I enjoyed Richard’s post on Bill Watterson, and it reminded me of how much I miss the comics pages from the late ’80s and early ’90s.  At that time, there were three comic strips that were must reading:  Calvin & Hobbes, The Far Side, and Dilbert.  All were radical departures from the popular comic strips of the ’60s and ’70s, strips like Blondie and Peanuts. Unlike the standard strips, Calvin & Hobbes, The Far Side, and Dilbert often involved bizarre situations, distorted realities, and plots that assumed that the reader was reasonably intelligent and well educated.  Perhaps for that same reason, unlike the standard strips, Calvin & Hobbes, The Far Side, and Dilbert were consistently hilarious.

These three strips hold up remarkably well.  At home we’ve got “treasury” collections of each, and they remain a pleasure to read even today, decades after the strips were first published.  And they also pass the true comic strip acid test:  stroll among the cubicles in any office building, and you are sure to see Calvin & Hobbes, Dilbert, and The Far Side strips tacked onto cubicle walls or slid under glass desk tops, there to forever brighten the days of white-collar workers.