“Whether revered or reviled in their lifetimes, history’s movers framed their questions in ways that were entirely disrespectful of conventional wisdom. Civilization has always advanced in the shimmering wake of its discontents.”
Jefferson? Paine? Wrong. These are the words of cartoonist and satirist Garry Trudeau, author of the Pulitzer prize-winning Doonesbury comic strip. Last Thursday, Trudeau appeared in the Arlington Theatre as the latest presentation from UCSB Arts & Lectures. Discussing everything from the New York Knicks to amputees, Trudeau’s dialogue, an unusual but concise blend of stand-up and recollection, had moments of both levity and pathos. Trudeau began with a jab at Madonna – a frequent target of his – and followed with an approximately hour-long presentation and a brief Q&A. Trudeau’s wit, intelligence and clarity are as evident in his speech as in his strips.
Trudeau’s Doonesbury world is, in many ways, a reflection of the rise and fall of the baby boomer generation, capturing some thirty-odd years of the American experience in punchy comic strips. Trudeau was syndicated when he was still a junior at Yale, printing Doonesbury in the school newspaper. His strip grew popular in the late ’60s, not for its content but because editors felt it connected with the youth of today -Trudeau half-jokingly referred to his style as “cartoon v