Shame on Me

bz panel 10-24-13bz strip 10-24-13Bizarro is brought to you today by A Good Deal.

According to my unofficial poll, many people (+/- 100%) did not understand this gag. The key is the definition of “palindrome.” Read that, then you’ll get the joke.

Now on to a more amusing topic: HATE MAIL!

Jazz Pickle Empire, I present to you one of the best bits of hate mail I’ve received in quite some time. In italics below appears the email I received this week, unedited and in its entirety. My running commentary is in bold, not-italic, whatever that’s called. WARNING: this letter is not suitable for readers with a low tolerance for idiocy.

Good Morning!

Right to the point.  Our family does not enjoy the dark nature of most of your cartoons, especially the “sick” looking colors.  [Seriously? The colors are "sick"? What is a sick color, besides pale green?] Yours is one of the cartoons we generally skip over.  Yeah, your title is Bizarro…but there are bizarre things that are not sick or sick looking.

Have you looked around at the majority of today’s young people with no moral values, family disfunction, [sp!] and the general deterioration of our society leading to the deterioration of our country? [Yes, and I'm sorry I did that. I really should have been more careful with "today's young people".] Of course you have. Then……

•  Why have sexual overtones in a cartoon that all ages read? [Please send me a list of all of the "sexual" cartoons I've published in my 28-year career. Just jot it down on a sliver of confetti and recycle the rest of the piece that you didn't use.]

•  Why have sexual overtones at all in your work?  There is plenty of that kind of humor to find if one chooses to do so. [Because sex is a natural and enjoyable part of life that is often pretty hilarious. Teaching your kids about it in a normal, biological way at an early age will help ensure that they have a well-adjusted, balanced view of it, as opposed to the self-loathing, superstitious mythology that you're likely instilling in your children as you attempt to contain and oppress their sexuality before it even gets started. Good luck with the teenage pregnancies and other poor choices that you'll be dealing with soon.]

•  Gutter talk is called that for a literal reason.  Step up and be above that. ["Literal" gutter talk would be the words that gutters speak, or the things people say as they stand in gutters. I've not seen either happen with enough frequency to be alarmed about it.]

•  Cartoons, or comics, or funnies as they used to be called, are supposed to be funny!  I will repeat…FUNNY!  [Thank you for shouting, you typed that word so quietly the first time I couldn't tell if you said "funny" or "bunny."]  To make us laugh and lighten our day.  To make us smile and see humor in everyday living.  To be a positive reading experience…..not to make us say, “Ummmmm, better hide that from the kids.” [Newsflash: Unless you are raising your children in a soundproof box, you're not hiding anything from them. Oh my god. You are raising your children in a soundproof box, aren't you?]

•  Cartoons, or comics, or funnies as they used to be called, [Where have I seen those words before?] are not supposed to be bullying, insulting, dark, scary, sick, immoral or degrading….ever.  Even Disney movies have become degrading and immoral. [I could not agree more! It all started in 1937 when Snow White, an attractive, unmarried virgin decided to shack up with seven old bachelors in the woods! No wonder they sang on their way to work in the mines every day. Disgusting.]

•  There are other cartoons with the same desperate, sick attempt at humor.  They are getting my concerns too. [Indeed! Let's start with Garfield and his obsession with gluttony and sloth! Can the other five "deadly sins" be far from his heart?]

Please do your part to make people feel happy, have self-worth, and have hope for a better world.  We sure need it. [I'd love to do this but cannot afford that much marijuana.]
Thank you and I sincerely appreciate your consideration of these thoughts.

Best regards, [Name withheld]

This lady’s letter is very polite and I normally answer polite mail politely. But I honestly don’t know what to say to this person. She may be writing from some religious compound out in the woods somewhere, which would explain why she thinks that Bizarro is “dark,” “sick,” “sexual” and contributes to the disfunction (sic) of the American family. If she does, in fact, live among the rest of the modern world, I can’t figure out how she picked newspapers cartoons as a target for her mission to clean up the world. One can’t help but wonder if she also writes to people in the TV, film, music, video game, fashion, and advertising industries, or if she confines her efforts to drawings of talking animals.

Whoever she is, I would like to thank her enthusiastically for her contribution to today’s blog. You just can’t invent this kind of comedy.

This entry was posted in daily Bizarros, hate mail and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

156 Responses to Shame on Me

  1. Ellen Nichols says:

    Dear Dan, as a dedicated crossword solver and fan, I got your punch line right away. All I can say is Wow!

  2. Lou Stoole says:

    A word about your palindrome cartoon: ¡wow! That’s wow! en Español (in order to make the exclamation point work as a palindrome, but you knew that already).

    A word about your hate mail: wow

    About the author: Was her name Hannah? Does she drive a Toyota or a race car?

  3. indi says:

    I especially appreciate that the woman seemed to understand the gist of The Palindrome Family while the guy didn’t.

    That complaint letter had to have been a joke. If not then I do fear for her children.
    “Oh my god. You are raising your children in a soundproof box, aren’t you?”
    Yep, more coffee out of my nose, thanks again Dan :-)

  4. Craig L says:

    Your polite letter-writer committed a fatal error in accusing you of so many sins while not pointing out which cartoons were examples of which. Maybe [Name withheld] just burned her newspaper when she saw something offensive and kept an account of which comic triggered the response. I don’t think she would have a problem with Garfield, since orange is not a ‘sick looking’ color, but Verne the turtle in Over the Hedge is a semi-icky shade of green.

    But about the daily comic above. I understood it perfectly, and I consider myself a not-very-much-above-average reader and fan, and as such, I am also a fan of Weird Al Yankovic, who gave the world a definitive instruction in palindromes with his Dylanesque-song/video “Bob”. Maybe if you had included characters named Hannah or Baby Bab, or if they had a pet ewe or somebody drove a racecar or a kayak… Of course, [Name withheld] would’ve complained even more if you’d mentioned ‘sexes’, or had someone called a ‘boob’, or just said “Stunt nuts” or “Test tube butt set”.

  5. DucatiGuy says:

    I reckon she’s just doing a bulk mailout to anyone who’s ever published a funny.

    Thanks for bearing up

  6. Jim Mays says:

    Well, I read your comic regularly and love it. And, you have the honor of being the only comic I ever read, so keep up the good work.

    ps. I apologize for the dark, sick nature of this email and the sexual overtones. Call me disfunctional (sic).

  7. lena says:

    she finds Disney movies too immoral?- wow.
    i hope she safely can make it back to her time machine.

  8. RandomChance says:

    Just look at the pointy images in the background.
    The firecracker behind the woman must be a reference to female emotional instability.
    If she wants dark comics, try Lio, Buni, Dick Tracy.
    Sexual overtones, try 9 chickweed lane, Pibgorn, Liberty Meadows, Jane’s World,
    And Don’t forget Andy Capp, promoting the joys of being drunk.

    The standards you have to hold up to Dan!

    • Piraro says:

      I’m happy to find someone else who sees sexual overtones in “9 Chickweed Lane.” That cartoon often makes me very uncomfortable. Seriously.

  9. 88TF says:

    People get hate, whatever they do.

    The best thing to do is to ignore it. You probably get a lot more positive emails, anyway. Enjoy those.

  10. Cliff says:

    With regard to the palindrome cartoon — Take heart and cast off your shame, my good man! Many people got the gag and appreciated it. I’m referring not only to all the members of my family but also to the seven people who left comments on the Seattle PI website (where I often catch tomorrow’s Bizarros). It appears that each of the seven (that’s 100% !) understood the joke; I say that because they all left comments with palindromes in them.

    I leave you with these words of encouragement:

    Doc, note. I dissent: a fast never prevents a fatness. I diet on cod.
    Straw? No! Too stupid a fad. I put soot on warts.

  11. TwoOptions says:

    “Start with Garfield” :)

    I feel sorry for her partner(s) (no, it’ll just be in the singular I’m sure). And her offspring. Pretentious imperious grump. I have a suggestion though. Put her in solitary confinement and air all 212 episodes of Family Guy. However, she’ll still sing along with the title song I guess “But where are those good old fashioned values…”

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  13. Michael Roth says:

    “Sick colors!” — That’s why I felt a little dizzy after going through a hundred cartoons by you at a time!

    I do have to state — and the concerned lady might agree — that you even look a little devilish! Just add two horns and a tail and a hoof and paint yourself red and — okay, we’d all look devilish then. But you have that weird mustache and goatee — and some devilish qualities! — Devilish qualities? — Well, just look at what the devil’s diverse names even mean! (Thank you Wikipedia!)

    1.) The Devil (from Greek: διάβολος or diábolos = slanderer or accuser). Just like so many philosophers of the Enlightenment, you again and again doubted God’s existence in your cartoons. Since there is no God, he can’t be pissed off but rather go on breeding roses. If there was one, you certainly pissed him off just like you did in the case of the lady (if she “exists” as well; but we don’t want to get THIS philosophical today!).

    2,) Diabolo (see above) or “diabolic” comes from … Well, here are the words right out of Wikipedia: “The Greek word “diabolos” means “the liar” or “the one that commits perjury”, from the verb “diaballo”, which means “to throw in”, “to generate confusion”. — Dan Piraro, you do lie — though for comic effect! (When we get it, good! When we don’t, we get angry! — And blame you!) And you do generate confusion. Do I see “generating confusion” as anything negative? Hell, NO! Art works that way, getting closer to truths works that way, starting changes works that way!

    That brings us to

    3.) Lucifer (Wikipedia — BTW everyone feel free to read the whole entries there! — “meaning ‘the morning star, the planet Venus’, or, as an adjective, ‘light-bringing’. The Septuagint renders הֵילֵל in Greek as ἑωσφόρος [heōsphoros], a name, literally ‘bringer of dawn’, for the morning star.”)

    “WTF!?”, some may shout out loud (maybe even in its spelled out form!). “Lucifer — morning star!? That’s VENUS, for crying out loud a second time! — Lucifer brings the light? Are we living in darkness?” — (In a way, yes — at least we all have! And it felt safe and warm! And people who turn on the light and keep pointing out plain truths and numbers to us we consider evil. But if we want to grow up, we need those light bringers. — And if we bring our hearts into this “new world”, it might not be such a bad place after all.)

    4.) Satan (Hebrew: הַשָּׂטָן ha-Satan, “the accuser”): — You’re not alone being an accuser, right? The (probably quite nice) lady (maybe she saw your “Gluten free” cartoon?) who wrote you that letter accused you as well. We are all satans this way. The ones with the light (aka “truth”) on their side might have a technical advantage over the other ones. But I’m not so sure about that one — when I keep my eyes closed, light from the outside doesn’t give me a better vision, it only gives me an impression of “red” — just like the fires of “hell”.

    You did a great job turning “Hate Mail” into “Fun Mail”! What would you — and for that matter: WE — be without a lady like her? — Poor devils!

  14. Well, Dan, your colors ARE pretty sick. “Sick” being a euphemism used by skateboard guys, meaning “well-done”, “awesome”, etc., so yeah. “Duh-HUDE! Check the sick color scheme on this single panel cartoon, yo!”

  15. Bill says:

    Maybe it’s just me. But when I come across a word in the paper that I don’t know, and can’t guess from the context, I look it up. This is a great gag — and this cartoon should appear as part of the palindrome definition in the next edition of “Funk & Wagnalls”!

  16. Michael Legel says:

    FINALLY! Some recognition for those of us who live with “same forwards as backwards” names. Thank You!

  17. philipp michel reichold says:

    In the words of my brother, “you’re a sick twist. Thank you. Keep it comin’! Especially the sick colors!”

  18. SenseiC says:

    I find your excessive use of such a BOLD font very dark yet still an effective use of color. Of course I doubt anyone would mistake your use of color for Vermeer or your black and white artwork for Ansel Adams any more than your facial hair for that of Salvador Domingo Felipe Jacinto Dalí i Domènech, 1st Marqués de Dalí de Pubol (my apology in advance for any pain my comments may have caused you).

    SenseiC bows out.

    PS: “Ceci n’est pas une pipe.”

    • SenseiC says:

      Sigh… nothing pains me more than after trying to carefully craft a post and clicking submit than to then see a spelling/typographical error.

      SenseiC bows out (in shame).

  19. Vanessa in Brooklyn says:

    Wow, this almost seems like it was sent to the wrong person. I’ve never caught any sexual innuendo in any of your recent comics. When people walk around seeing the world this way, it’s funny that it never occurs to them that it could be their own “dirty” mind creating the sexual references out of thin air!

    • Piraro says:

      I think that every time a preacher condemns homosexuality or lasciviousness of any kind. Just because he can’t keep his mind off of sex doesn’t mean the rest of us can’t. (Okay, I can’t either, but still.)

  20. Cindy says:


    First thing: I actually got your joke before you explained it on here. Yea me! I am s.m.r.t. =)

    Second thing: Seriously? I don’t want whatever she is having. Your comic is the highlight of my day. I read a bunch of them because I have always loved them. No matter how bad my life got, I could find something to laugh about in the comics. Whatever crazy crap was in the rest of the “newspaper” at least I could get some hope in the comics.

    Please keep doing what you are doing. I love your work and can’t figure out what she is talking about. Hope she doesn’t own a gun. I also hope her kids will grow up a little tiny bit more open minded and perhaps think for themselves. Mommy can’t hide the world from the kids all their lives.

    Love your comic! Curly tail and all.


  21. Leo says:

    You are right, you just cannot make that stuff up. I have to admit though, I had to look up the spelling of dysfunction to see why it was wrong. Love your “dark” and “sick” work, KEEP IT UP!!

  22. David Ebinger says:

    Preach on Dan!

  23. Jeff Howard says:

    Dan… She does live in a compound. It’s called the suburbs. Probably in the South. Probably South of Houston/North of Dallas, or one of the many, many other areas of concentration. Probably a member of one of the Mega-churchs that are every mile. She needs it for material to present to Sunday “school”, bible study and women’s coffee group etc. to establish herself as one-of-them, ensuring a place on the Mommies-day-out and baby sitting rotation/car pool. These types are everywhere out in the ‘burbs. They are often trying desperately to hide the fact that they came from the trailer park, married well-enough to move up one rung of the ladder and just wants to be a part of the local in-crowd. Unfortunately this is the pervasive, perceived in-crowd out in those areas. She just wants to belong. You can’t blame her. If you had a 3/2/2 home full of screaming kids who are not being watched by their favorite baby-sitter… local waiters, store clerks, and various retail employees who have to deal with the unattended, running screamers, you might be locking yourself in a room somewhere writing to anyone who could make you feel better. Water off a ducks back Dan.

  24. Chris B says:

    Clearly, this was sent in reference to your “play a little guitar” comic/cartoon/funny/humor picture/jokey image/laugh mark. I admit, I too was disgusted by the sick sexual overtones of that piece. And it all takes place in the dank den of iniquity that is the corner bar. How dare you insinuate that adults of the opposite sex might talk to each other while imbibing! Don’t get me started on the downright depraved blue coloration of the gentleman’s pants. If you continue to produce such foul and degenerate work, I may be forced to ignore the lower left quadrant of the comics section altogether.

    My mother used to write romance novels for a Christian audience. Nothing was ever tame enough for some readers. She once received a letter informing her of her eternal damnation as a result of depicting unmarried characters dancing together.

  25. Aaron says:

    You dark, sick, sexual, “disfunction” of a cartoon, comics or funnies artist, thanks for sharing! I personally love your desperate, sick attempt at humor and it makes me happy, improves my sense of self-worth and makes me have hope for a better world.

    • Piraro says:

      All these years I’ve thought that everyone on earth was exactly alike but the contrast between what you consider uplifting and the writer of the hate mail does, has proven me wrong. Thanks Aaron!

  26. Murgen says:


    Whoever wrote that is a great involuntary humorist.

    And yes, where are those sexual cartoons she’s talking about? I’ve been following your work for years and I haven’t seen them yet. Maybe I should pay more attention.


  27. MK says:

    Dan, I grew up reading your comics from childhood and I can confirm that I am an immoral sexual young person who likes to chat while standing in gutters. Thanks a lot.

  28. drgeo says:

    Dagnabbit! I jist hate it when you work blue! Quit making the sky and water blue! And an udder thing, you never have enough good to say about pollution. Corporations are people too, and they get their feelings hurt real easy. Be nice!

  29. Grannie Cool says:

    LOL ! Never fear Dan, the rest of us understand & love your work. And yes, I have been a fan from the beginning. What to answer her ? Answer that if she doesn’t want to see your stuff, she shouldn’t have clicked “LIKE” in the first place, and she now has the option of clicking “UNLIKE” before you ban her.

  30. Chris Linzey says:

    For what it’s worth i find your funnies to be riotously funny. Keep up the good work!

  31. Kimo says:

    Well, I found the dark, degrading and sexual cartoon that set her off:

  32. She’s just inviting you to join the Tea Party.

  33. Denise says:

    Thank you – you just made me laugh out loud! Literally.

  34. Denise says:

    Thanks, what a funny note to start the day on ! You’re right ~ you just can’t invent that stuff ~

  35. Mark says:

    And I’ll just bet she didn’t “get” this comic about palindromes. (BTW, I did.) Hey, maybe there’s a comic there for you about “palindromes” vs “palindrones.” I’ll leave that to you. Just make sure that it doesn’t involve “bullying, insulting, dark, scary, sick, immoral or degrading” stuff.

  36. Stacy says:

    Wow, that is some super-delicious hate mail! It makes me think you could do something funny with the concept of “high horse.”

  37. Mel Wilson says:

    Did you even bother replying to such a strange email?

    On a different note, have you thought about putting out a desktop calendar? The type with a joke for every day. If you’ve already done one, please point me in the right direction.

    • Piraro says:

      I’ve had desktop calendars in the past but not recently. I guess mine don’t sell well enough to keep the calendar people interested.

  38. Jason Witherspoon says:

    Dan, I have enjoyed Bizarro for many years (decades?). Please rest assured that I find your strip funny. I will repeat…FUNNY! I have raised my children to hold your strip in high regard above all others. I highly doubt they will contribute to the moral degradation of society, but there is still time. Thanks.

  39. Juli Reed says:

    Hysterical! Your comments made this so enjoyable to read. Sorry lady, but perhaps it’s time you read something else.

  40. Grammerme says:

    Ditto to your ‘You just can’t invent this kind of comedy.’

    And here I thought she was using the term ‘sick’ in today’s youth’s term – meaning cool, awesome and well regarded.

  41. Tony Martinez says:

    Draw O Caesar, Erase a Coward!

  42. Michael says:

    I don’t know, every time I see that stick of dynamite I get a little aroused.

  43. Rick Wales says:

    Why isn’t the word for palindrome a palindrome? Maybe it should be palindromemordnilap.

  44. Woody says:

    She meant well, was sincere, was polite (as you mentioned), had legitimate concerns about the direction of society, and expressed a view held by many that people could use more lifting up. There was no need to mock her in the post or disparage Christian fundamentalists (although you don’t know that she is one) in your tags.

    • Dorian says:

      Dan never referred to this woman as a Christian Fundamentalist or any other type of fundamentalist. That is YOUR interpretation. He suggested that she ascribes to mythologies surrounding sexuality, and that is as broad a concept as they come. But let’s just assume that she is a Church Lady — because she sounds just like one. When anyone tells an artist that their “job” is to do anything different than what they are doing, it is absolutely grounds for humor. She was not “mocked” to her face. Her name was withheld. I thought Dan’s comments were clever and funny…but of course I’m a fan.

      Frankly, I don’t think she was very polite. She was disparaging because her own sensibilities and taste are offended. So in turn, she insulted with words like “sick,” “degrading,” “bullying,” and “immoral.” Dan should cease and desist on his path, and create art that makes HER happy? Thanks for the advice, lady. I am on guard when a woman as sanctimonious as she tells others what they should and should not create. I also suspect that she is not bright enough to get the jokes. She is like the many Fundies who are constantly writing to TV stations and telling them what sort of programming is amoral. If they don’t like TV shows, they don’t have to watch. If they don’t like comic strips, they don’t have to read them.

      She probably read his “kissing booth” cartoon where the patron asks if the lady in the booth is buying or selling, and thought it was about prostitution. That she finds “sexual overtones” in Dan’s work means that she is a dyed-in-the-wool, Class 1, Grade A Church Lady. You suggested she is a Christian Fundamentalist….probably because she most likely is.

      • Piraro says:

        Thanks, Dorian. Well said. I’m happy to know you’ve got my back. :^}

      • Woody says:

        Dorians, in Dan’s tags, he used the tag “Fundamentalist Christian.” Yes, it’s true. Scroll up and check it out. “tagged fundamentalist christian”

        Yes, she was mocked, which doesn’t require face-to-face contact. Aren’t politicians mocked in media? Isn’t that why you considered if funny?

        Dan, himself, said that she was polite. “This lady’s letter is very polite ….” Take that up with him.
        _ _ _ _ _ _ _

        Dan, I wasn’t going after you but simply disagreed that making fun of a sincere person with sincere beliefs over right or wrong is not necessarily cute or clever. It wasn’t to me. I offered a critique, but not with any malice, as appeared in your responses to her.

        And, if you praise someone else for covering your back, make sure that his information is correct and doesn’t contradict what you have written yourself.

        • Piraro says:

          The tags are mostly for myself so I can find a given image or post later. I knew that if I were to look for that letter five years from now, “fundamentalist” or “Christian” will come to mind.

          To be perfectly honest, I do get a little tinge of guilt when I’m making fun of hate mail that is not openly abusive but in this case, the woman is so far out of anything that could be called mainstream social mores that it warranted some humor. I also have a real problem with religious people trying to impose their archaic moral ideas on modern society as though it were somehow a universal truth. So even though she used polite language, I do object to her calling my work “immoral,” “sick,” etc.

          • Woody says:

            Piraro, I understand and know that you don’t mean to abuse anyone…and, that you have a conscience.

            I’m suggesting that everyone consider the frame of reference from which this lady and others come. Yes, today, she is out of the mainstream. But, earlier in my life, she would have been, the mainstream, which validates her concern about the decline of moral values.

            If you think about it, though, people who are politically correct, who abandon morality and judge most everything as permissible, are similar to this lady in that they reject those whose values are not theirs. It’s just that they are on the opposite side of the field.

            The positive difference with her, though, and unlike people who go along with everything, is that it takes courage to stand up for values rather than take the easy route of going along with anything goes.

            I enjoy your cartoons and apologize for detracting from the fun value of your site. I simply wanted to attempt to step up to the plate for this lady, who didn’t have a chance to clarify her side and despite both her, and my, deficiencies in expression.

          • Piraro says:

            Well said, Woody, and I thank you. I’m sure she would, too. You make excellent points and you do so quite eloquently.

  45. Svp says:

    I once opened a bottle of champagne while laying in a gutter.
    I watched the cork fly off and hit a cop car driving down the street.

  46. If she thinks this is dark, sick, and sexual, I believe I now know why I enjoy your comics so much Mr. Piraro.

    And I would also like to thank her, these moments make me realize I’m not the craziest batch of really sticky glue on the shelf.

  47. Katie Graham says:

    I’d just like to say that your strip was one of those which I always skipped other strips for, along with such greats as Calvin and Hobbes and The Far Side. Thank you for not retiring or I’d have nothing left to read but stupid Sally Forth.

  48. Calvin says:

    Obviously her mind is in the gutter and she’s just trying to drag you down there. Thanks for making me “smile and see the humor in everyday living.” – just like you’re supposed to do, apparently.

  49. Rick Faraci says:

    Although I enjoy your blog, I find this entry a little disturbing.
    Nobody knew what a palindrome is?!?
    The author of the hate mail has reproduced?!?
    I don’t have a 3rd outrage to round out this triad?!?
    Thanks for the comics.
    You had me at Zenada…


  50. Ann says:

    + or – 100%????? Quite a margin for error there! I imagine your hate mail correspondent didn’t get today’s cartoon but I sincerely hope most of your usual audience of picklephiles did! Sorry to say I missed any sexual overtones here, but I am jaded.

  51. cinders23 says:

    You know all that crap that the above letters address? Keep up the good work! You make me look, think and process with my brain. And I process without a computer, just use my brain to actually THINK! That’s why we love you! And the best part of all- you don’t think in a straight line. That’s about the highest compliment I can give. xo

  52. loved the sad and strange letter. non-italic type is called “roman.”

  53. Amy says:

    Oh my dog! I couldn’t stop laughing!!! Thank you so much for sharing the letter with your hilarious commentary. Ohhhhhh and keep those super sexual drawings of talking bucks with the big horns cumming :0)
    Amy and the Pack

    PS The palindrome comic is super funny!!! Do people really not get it?

  54. Rich L says:

    In reference to your comments regarding “sexual overtones,” I agree with you 100%. My wife and I were talking about this just the other night, while watching a BBC detective series. In it was a scene that showed brutal murders and the subsequent investigation, both of which were quite gory. A few scenes later, two detectives were in bed, obviously having “done the deed,” and there was a brief but decent view (that’s more than just a flash) of the woman’s breasts. I paused the streaming movie to comment that had this been broadcast (not cable or satellite) here, the sex scene would be either cut or her breasts would be fuzzed out or obliterated in some other ludicrous manner, but the earlier scene of murder, blood, and guts would remain intact. The double standard never ceases to amaze me: killing is acceptable, the beauty of the human body is not.

    As to the rest of your comments, I only agree with them a mere 100%.

    Yours is the most humorous, refreshing, thought provoking, and intelligent work I’ve seen in most of my 63 years. In my book, you rank at the top along with Larsen, and all the others (sorry, the names escape me) that show humanity from just a little different perspective.

    (I wonder, why doesn’t “palindrome” read the same way forwards and backwards?)

    • Piraro says:

      Your point about graphic violence being acceptable for American TV while breasts are not is one of my pet peeves. This country is seriously sexually repressed. I wish that equation were reversed.

      And I’ve often thought a palindrome should be called a “reversalasrever.”

  55. Dan Hildebrand says:

    If I were you I’d mail that lady back a letter with 2 pennies back in it, refund her 2 cents worth! Keep it up Dan and thanks for the laugh this morning! The Palindrome strip was epic, I about snorted coffee out my nose.

  56. Stacy P says:

    It sounds like this is a form letter that this crackpot sends to all the cartoons they find offensive.

  57. sa says:


    I think the commentary was unncessary, though. It shines on its own. :-)

  58. Spartacus says:


    I know you’re busy. Please forward me this lady’s info, and I would be more than happy to send her a polite and educational reply that properly conveys your regrets that you caused her panties to become a little wet wad. You do have regrets about that, don’t you ? :s)

  59. John Repasky says:

    How do people like this get out of bed in the morning and step outside without being offended? They must have to medicate for a trip to the grocery store…

  60. Brian Baier says:

    I’ve only been following you for the past year, online. You crack me up, especially with today’s hate-mail response. Did he/she correspond with you on paper or electronically?

    • Piraro says:

      I got this as an email. I haven’t responded to her, just posted it here. No idea of she’ll ever see it. The Interwebs may well be banned in her house. I’m surprised she has email.

  61. Send her your edited version. Hi Ho, Hi Ho………..

  62. Lynda Donovan says:

    Oh my! Too much Fox news for that woman?!! I tend to think of some comics as mini-IQ tests and yours are among the best. Perhaps setting up canisters around down for donations for this woman’s medication would be helpful. Let me know if I should dust off my collection of coffee cans.

  63. Bill says:

    Who are you trying to kid — no sexual overtones? In yesterday palindrome strip (and I think it is no coincidence that it is called a “strip”) you have references to familial relations that can only be interpreted as incest and/or bestiality, and I think we all know what you mean by “taking a kayak trip.” And don’t get me started on the recreational drug use references…

  64. Dave Nelson says:

    Funny but sad. She likely has some pretty big issues she’s dealing with and probably doesn’t even realize it. So often the most outspoken people are trying desperately to reconcile some tension within their lives that is way harder to deal with than writing a one-sided nasty letter. Take pity and be kind, that would be my advice.

    BTW, I wonder which strip drove her over the edge?

    • Piraro says:

      No idea. I should’ve made clear in the post that the letter was not in response to the Palindrome Family cartoon, but just a general complaint. I’m still not sure specifically what about my comics and which ones she’s referring to. Which kind of adds to the lunacy and humor, really.

  65. Ken Howser. Jr. says:

    I love it! Hate mail. A sure sign you are doing something right and tweaking the Plastic People of Frank Zappa!

  66. Life is Just One Long Comic Strip says:

    I enjoy the tie-in between the ranting woman who thinks your comics are basically immoral and another equally dysfunctional woman who thinks she can be a politician. Both really need to have their heads checked.

  67. Jim says:

    Bold, roman, is what it’s called. But even fewer people would understand that. I loved the comic, btw.

  68. Linus Hollis says:

    Yes, shame on you for posting a funny wall advertising brains for FOOD! While safer to consume in the past, brain consumption is spreading prion disease, especially rodents & roadkill. Some people eat the whole squirrel/rabbit/guinea pig to their horrible detriment. I last saw brains for sale in a Halal store in the ’90s. Coming from naturally raised sheep in Australia, they were probably safe, but no less offal. It’s interesting to note that prion disease in the wild has no known source [Cosmic Rays?], so who knows when a wild animal is safe to eat. Just don’t!

  69. Den says:

    Your hate mail is inspiring… thanks for sharing something the rest of us can aspire to. And BTW, this letter has made me laugh and lightened my day, as well as making me smile. There is more than one way to see humor in everyday living…

  70. Maria says:

    Apparently, she lives in a tiny world with a narrow viewpoint. Bless her heart.

    Regarding the palindrome gag – totally got it and loved the couch potatoes responses. :) Keep up the great work.

  71. PoliticallyIncorrect says:

    Dear Mr. Bizarro,

    You need a fair, unbiased opinion on this. As I write from the relative safety of my soundproof box, I have to say I agree wholeheartedly with the unnamed writer of this hate mail (with whom I am not related in any way). Take, for example, the Palindrome family in today’s cartoon. My irrefutable analysis is below.

    Sexual overtones? Most assuredly. Look at the Mom, who clearly is touching the side of Dad Palindrome’s long sleek left limb with her sexy, curvaceous unbared leg. Quite the pornographic overtone, in my book.

    Colors? Definitely dark, sick and foreboding… clearly, you can see that the pink pillow, the orange hair and the black television set a definitive macabre tone. I am appalled. It’s quite sick, you know.

    Let me see… let’s also touch on degrading and immoral. Mom Palindrome has naked feet. Naked, I say! Have you no sense of decency in that depraved mind of yours? Shoes and socks are the only protection against inviting unprotected sex. She’s extending an open invitation to unwanted, immoral advances from Pop. The kids are probably in the room watching this open display too, most decidedly contributing to the degradation of our society. They have seen Mom’s naked parts, and are scarred for life. And somewhere in that provocative green shirt, I detect some cleavage. Dad’s arm is suspiciously close to investigating this further. For shame.

    Please do your part to make people feel happy, have self-worth, and have hope for a better world. I know I do. I’m quite happy here in my little box. My self-worth is biblical in proportion to many Bizarro followers who peruse your cartoon daily for want of something more constructive to occupy their time, rather than looking at your sexually-infused “funnies”. Jazz Pickles indeed! Why, the very name implies something phallic and sexual in nature. And the hidden symbols in all of these cartoons? Subliminal messages from The Devil, one and all.

    I have hope for a better world. Namely when a crop of locusts, or perhaps a flood of biblical proportions infests your apartment (aka the “den of iniquity”).

    I must run. Mommy dearest (no Palindrome, here!) won’t let me out of the soundproof box tonight unless I find more supporters to advance her case. I plan to cc. you on my letters to XBox and Victoria’s Secret. Secret, indeed! Ha! We ALL know what Victoria wants.


    Chastity Rebekkah Dorkman

    P.S. Are they related to the OTHER “Palin” family? They look suspiciously similar, I have to say.

  72. Alley Cat says:

    You must be very tempted to take this lady’s email address and subscribe her to the ‘Cyanide and Happiness’ comic, so she can see what ‘dark, sick, sexual references’ actually look like. ;-)

    In all seriousness, though, the equal-parts-amusing-and-disturbing thing about this email is not its content, because we all know there are ‘literally’ millions of people like this out there… but the unimaginable arrogance of someone asking you to change what you do for a living because she doesn’t like reading it. It beggars belief, doesn’t it?

    For my part, I’d just like to say congratulations on the genuinely funny art that you produce, and keep up the good work! :-)

  73. Mark Neeley says:

    Hilarious. I laughed so much.

    Had a terrible day yesterday. This was great!

    Please add me to your mailing list!

  74. Dave in Asheville says:

    Ha! We’ve been having a discussion/mini-contest just this past week with our (Bed & Breakfast) guests trying to order the seven deadly sins as they apply to our three pugs. Gluttony and sloth are #1 and #2 respectively by a longshot. Wrath is number three for our curmudgeonly black one; after that, it’s open to debate, but still FUNNY!

    (I might have liked to have seen dynamite-pie-dynamite on the mantle for this one (probably breaking a rule though)).

  75. Ginny in FL says:

    Oh WHATEVER. I don’t think that write ever read one of your “funnies”. He was just turned off by the colors. What a genius. Anyway, I feel the opposite. Yours is the only cartoon that is ever funny…well, sometimes other ones are funny, but yours is ALWAYS funny. My fridge is covered with your cartoons. Anyway, what was the question?

  76. Sagi says:

    “You just can’t invent this kind of comedy.”
    My thoughts exactly

  77. Diana says:

    LOVED the palindrome comic. My second favorite next to botox/crows feet one.
    As for the hate mail lady….she needs some of mom and dad’s xanax and a little botox may help her shriveled up sense of humor.

  78. Cathleen says:

    **Slapping forehead**
    I am a Christian and I have kids. Your comic is my absolute favorite. I think the problem here is that your humor is far more complex than say…. Peanuts or Family Circle. Those with an I.Q. of under about 120 will probably not get many of the jokes. I still remember one you did over a decade ago where a couple returns to their home, which has been ransacked by thieves. “MY GOD!” the woman exclaims, “THEY’VE DESTROYED OUR FENG SHUI!” I thought it was so hilarious, I put it on my computer at work. No one else got it.

    So Dan, thank you for consistently making me laugh AND think for over a decade. Please forgive the ignorant knot-heads that call themselves Christians. They have a lot of growing to do.
    P.S. I got the palindrome joke, and thought it was funny.

    • Piraro says:

      Thanks, Cathleen. I learned a long time ago that there is little connection between people’s intelligence and their belief system. I know scary-smart theist and atheist, as well as bag-of-hammers dumb theists and atheists. It’s nice hear from a smart Christian mom to balance the lady with the sound-proof box. :^}

        • Piraro says:

          Good stuff, Lou, thanks. The findings certainly fit what I’ve felt intuitively for years but one of the smartest people I’ve ever met was very religious, to the degree that he has a PhD in theology. He and I used to have a ball debating the issue. Somehow, we were always able to do it without either of us getting angry. Just good, spirited, intellectual debate. Of course, he also believed in science and found ways to conform what we “know” about the world with what he believed about god, so he wasn’t an irrational Christian who held to ideas of the Book of Genesis.

          • Lou Stoole says:

            I suspect that you’re using “irrational” as a synonym for “extremist,” “intolerant” or “rigidly dogmatic.”

            In my experience, people with the deepest sense of spirituality are those who are constantly questioning their belief system and faith in it… and, as a result, are often the most thoughtful, open, kind and giving people within that belief system… precisely because they see its flaws as well as its beauty.

            I’ve also spent a lifetime observing those who simply quote scripture from their holy book, whatever it is, without questioning the meaning and history behind the words. I’ve found most of these folks to be dysfunctional, angry, lost people who often perpetrate horrible crimes against people, animals and nature. The ability to recall bits of literature is not the same as having the skill to understand it and these people spend their lives scratching around in the darkness trying to grasp the goodness and joy described in those words… but failing.

            Unfortunately, when these people find the support of others equally miserable and directionless… except for the selected passages they find in their holy book… and they become a voice in a political, religious or cultural cause… oftentimes blood is spilled, books are burned and reason is lost. Instead of leading to the best of humanity, these books stimulate the worst in people… inhumanity, if you will.

            My conclusion is this: regardless of the belief system, when it comes to discerning right from wrong, good from evil, love from hate, it’s not the book that will point out the path to follow but the reader.

            And that’s what I’ve learned from my many decades as a philosopher, theologian and septic tank cleaner.

  79. Jenifer says:

    To the fabulous Piraro,
    Your Palindrome Family cartoon meant the world to me and my family. My husband’s brother Bob (recently deceased) married his bride Eve in a ceremony complete with uniting a two-piece Kayak oar (their favorite sport). The entire ceremony, toasts and activities contained palindromes.
    Peace and thank you…

  80. tio wally says:

    Dear (name withheld):

    Thank you for your thoughtful and thought-filled letter. I read every word and will take them — all of them — under advizement.

    Thanks again.

    Yours, Dan

    (typo intentional.)

  81. Langston Hough says:

    Extremely good and humorous replies to this angry letter writer. She’s definitely out to make the world as bland as her life and she started with you. What a compliment!

  82. Jan MacKenzie says:

    Thanks for sharing the hate mail. These “helpful” haters never seem to understand that they can just choose something else. She writes that she skips over your cartoon, yet has so many things to complain about. I’ve always thought that these folks are drawn to the “sick” stuff, while convincing themselves they’re condemning it. Your editorial comments made me chuckle, and isn’t that the whole point? She is incapable of understanding that OTHER people enjoy what she condemns. You have lightened my day for years, and I thank you.

  83. Tom B says:

    Well you warned us and I still read it. Wow! I would love to see the special cartoon you would create for her!

  84. Marcus Good says:

    “Oh my god. You are raising your children in a soundproof box, aren’t you?”

    Comedy gold, sir. I raise my hat in appreciation.

  85. Rowan says:

    After seeing the cartoon at the top, then reading the hate mail underneath…. Only one word comes to mind.


    I guess you could say I’m speechless?

  86. Chuck says:

    Please depict more talking gutters, a guy can never get enough of that kind of thing.

    Respectfully yours, etc…

  87. jim r says:


    You’re right about this letter. As for gutter talk, I can tell you about that. Up here in Minnesota right now, we have fall, a time of year where leaves turn bright colors, then “fall” into your gutters clogging them. As the season progresses, temperatures drop, chance of rain increases, and temperature decreases. Gutter talk consists of four conversations:
    1) Gotta clean out my gutters … yup.
    2) Can I borrow your ladder to clean my gutters?
    3) I hate cleaning my gutters. Maybe the’ll freeze and I can get to em in the Spring?
    4) You should really clean your gutters … yup.
    None of these conversations occurs while standing in them, cuz that’d be dumb.

    Take care. Keep making us laugh.
    Jim R.

  88. Dorian says:

    You are too funny. Priceless. I would invite her to contribute a topic to you that you might use in an upcoming cartoon. And then use it!

  89. Nata Lukas says:

    Thanks for publishing this ridiculous letter and your brilliant commentary. It really made my day, as do your comics. Keep up the great work brotha man!

  90. Mike says:

    This response deserves to go viral.

  91. Mike Garvey says:

    You big ol’ sinner! Look ashamed!

  92. Martineaux says:

    She reminds me of the woman that scathingly reviewed a National Lampoon CD-ROM on Amazon because of the classic “If You Don’t Buy This Magazine, We’ll Kill This Dog” cover. Hopefully she’ll never see that X-rated Disney poster from the late 60s

  93. Joshua Chung says:

    Haha palindrome… Oh now I get it,
    I did…LOL..did I?

    On the hatemail, guess we can’t please everyone.

  94. PeterDM says:

    How DARE you print something about sick and twisted palindromes! The very idea that words can go both ways disgusts me to my core! To take a word and spell it the same way backwards as well as frontwards is an affront to both God and nature! Shame on you for corrupting our youth and our English language — the language of Shakespeare! The King James Bible! The Smoot-Hawley Tariff! And Dennis Rodman’s “Bad As I Wanna Be”!

    The very idea that a pervert like you has nothing better to do with his time than sit there and think of words that are spelled the same way front and back shows a shameful lack of ambition! You are a poor exaqweyr98y9 adew wew023y7834yq

    Pardon me, I had to wipe the blood from my keyboard that sprayed from the blood vessel I burst.

    You are a poor example for today’s youth! Why don’t you go out and get a real job at Wal-Mart or McDonald’s?

  95. k. imhoff says:

    I ALWAYS chuckle at your cartoons!

  96. Foye Lowe says:


  97. Oh dear. Talking animals are obviously an affront to common decency, being abominations an’ all.

    My sympathies. Hate mail, no matter how daft or polite, leaves a dirty smudge on the mind which takes a while to be sponged clean. I’m still irked by being told it was people like me who killed princess Diana. I wasn’t even there, honest!

  98. Bosn C Otter says:

    I thought she typed Bunny too.

    Thanks for the laughs

  99. Crusty Ol' Bastard says:

    I was so proud of myself for ‘getting’ the palindrome comic. Then after reading these comments I realized I totally missed the “Huh” and “Aha” from dad and mom on the couch. Sometimes I’m such a tit!

  100. sadbuttru says:

    ref: Snow White
    Talk about deviant Disney behavior, “hi ho, hi ho”???
    …I totally missed the part where the 7 D’s paid SW for ‘favors’…
    The creepiest part of Disney is the unnatural fuzzy bunny attitudes created in human nature.

  101. Alex says:

    For the record, I believe that yours is one of the greatest comics of all time. I’ve always been a huge Bill Watterson and Gary Larson fan, as they were the two comics that I thought were real genius. Your strip is easily at the same level, I laugh every day because of it! There is always some clever joke accompanied by an excellent drawing, and I think your doing a great thing by brightening everybody’s day considerably. Thanks so much!

    • Piraro says:

      I blush at your compliments. Thanks so much. This comment is helping mitigate my Halloween party hangover this morning.

  102. rhhardin says:

    Somebody famous for being really smart long ago confided that he’d never understood a single Far Side cartoon.

    So they’re out there.

  103. Lydia says:

    Someone else may have mentioned it too, but I agree with Craig L. and in your reply (if you haven’t yet sent it) you should ask her to specify which comics were so offense. That would be a hoot.

  104. Tim says:

    I’m guessing that her local paper doesn’t run “Andy Capp” funnies.

    • Piraro says:

      Yeah, no doubt. Actually, does ANY paper publish Andy Capp anymore? If it is still in production, my guess is that it is no longer about alcoholism and spousal abuse.

      • Tim Edgar says:

        Well the Post Courier here in Charleston, SC does actually still run Andy Capp. And his drunken escapades are still as funny and poignant as ever.

  105. Alice C. says:

    This Pickle is hoping that some day you’ll actually create some cartoons with literal gutter talk. Perhaps combined with palindromes and clown funerals. Yay.

  106. Andy says:

    “bullying, insulting, dark, scary, sick, immoral or degrading”

    If your work were these I wouldn’t read it and I read your work every day, Dan. Thanks for the laughs and keen perspective. She’s got the wrong guy and probably the wrong industry. Newpaper editors have been getting letters for a couple of years now, haven’t they?

    Palindrome. Palin drone. On the same day…. Hmm.

    My phone number is a palindrome, something like 357-8753, and nobody ever notices! I noticed it right away when I had the opportunity to choose my number and I thought “there’s an ice-breaker!” I sometimes point it out, and the person taking it down most likely will say, “it’s a what?” Ugh. Maybe I’ll write the school board.

    • Piraro says:

      When I left Brooklyn, I had to give up my favorite land line phone number of all time. It was (xxx) xxx-6666. I used to call it the phone number of the beast.

  107. Toe-Knee says:

    wow, what a great way to start the week. thanks Dan, you are very funny on a whole other level.

  108. Gary Morgan says:

    Your “very FUNNY” answers were the hightlight of my day.
    Keep up the excellent work.
    Bizarro is one of my favorites, don’t change a thing.

  109. John Webster Frost says:

    Hate Mail… I [just] don’t get it… why bother?… don’t answer that…

    ps: I have a picture for you, Dan… how do I get it to you?… you can, and may, answer that… if you please…

    • Piraro says:

      Is it possible to attach it to a comment, or post it on the web and send me the link? I can either publish it in the comments or just download it and keep it to myself. Whatever you request.

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