Pearls Before Swine by Stephan Pastis for September 21, 2008
"Hi, folks, it's me, Rat. Think the comics are just for yucks? Think only 'Doonesbury' does social commentary? Well, you're wrong." "The truth is syndicated cartoonists are doing social and political commentary in their comics almost every day. You're just not seeing it." "Don't believe me? Why just look at this 'Hagar the Horrible.' The symbolism is, of course, obvious. But for those of you that can't see it, I've provided some helpful notes." Here we have a commentary on the various religious sects fighting for power in Iraq. Hagar, representing the Sunni minority in Baghdad, is returning to a neighborhood destroyed by sectarian violence. The real estate agent, a metaphor for the radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr (note the all-black coat) is attempting to lure Hagar into a poorly-protected home, an obvious trap. Helga, who symbolizes the ineffective Nouri al-Maliki regime, stands passively by, unwilling or unable to help Hagar. Do the sects resolve their differences? Of course not, as illustrated by the gathering clouds in the distance. "Join my next week as I reveal the connection between Garfield's Lasagna and the re-emergence of the totalitarian state in Russia."