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Idaho Doesn't Get It


Who says Idahoans are behind the times? Ten years ago, legendary cartoonist Robert Crumb created a controversial--and satirical--cartoon titled "When the Goddamn Jews Take Over America" for the underground magazine Weirdo. The piece was soon republished without the author's permission in a prominent white supremacist magazine. At the time, Crumb was quoted as saying, "Some people don't get satire. To me, it shows how stupid those people are."

A decade later, his words have rung true in Boise. "When the Goddamn Jews" made a pair of appearances around town this week, albeit slightly altered to portray a local individual's own neuroses. In a version scattered around the Boise State campus, the comic was customized to include diatribes against the Idaho Jewish community, the Anne Frank Memorial and the recent completion of Idaho's first Torah scroll. It also featured several pleas to "Free Matt Hale," a white supremacist serving 40 years in a Colorado prison for plotting to murder a federal judge.

On Monday, an even more altered version of the same comic was received by the Brandi Swindell for City Council campaign. In Crumb's obligatory sex scene, the name of the woman had been changed from "Ellen" to "Brandi." A post-it note was also attatched to one panel, reading "Brandi Target." Swindell's campaign has turned the "graphic hate mail" over to the Boise Police.

One would think that after eight seasons of South Park, low-brow America would have a better grip on the line between "satire" and "advocating the position being satirized." But among some Idahoans, apparently that's not the case.