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Cartoonist insists no Veterans Day slight intended


Jim Davis wants you to know that he really, really — really — regrets today's "Garfield" strip, which some people think might be offensive to veterans.

Yes, that's "Garfield" — representative of all that critics say is safe and bland in the comics world — and "offensive to veterans" in the same sentence.

In the strip — reproduced above, and available in context on garfield.com — the presumably squished spider from the first two panels asks his fellow spiders "why we celebrate National Stupid Day."

The problem: Today — "National Stupid Day" to the talking spiders in "Garfield" — is Veterans Day. Davis quickly issued a statement apologizing:

Dear Friends, Fans, and Veterans:

In what has to be the worst timing ever, the strip that runs in today's paper seems to be making a statement about Veterans Day. It absolutely, positively has nothing to do with this important day of remembrance.

Regarding today's Garfield comic strip , it was written almost a year ago and I had no idea when writing it that it would appear today — of all days. I do not use a calendar that lists holidays and other notable days, so when this strip was put in the queue, I had no idea it would run on Veterans Day. What are the odds? You can bet I'll have a calendar that lists EVERYTHING by my side in the future.

My brother Dave served in Vietnam. My son James is a Marine who has had two tours of duty, both in Iraq and Afghanistan. You'd have to go a long way to find someone who was more proud and grateful for what our veterans have done for all of us.

Please accept my sincere apologies for any offense today's Garfield may have created. It was unintentional and regrettable.

Jim Davis

"I think when Jim saw it in the paper today, I think his heart sunk and his hand turned cold," Kim Campbell, Davis' PR representative, told msnbc.com. "It's human error. Jim's embarrassed about it."

Here's the thing: It's hard to find anyone who was actually offended by the cartoon.

Oh, sure, Twitter and Facebook are full of comments calling it "controversial" and speculating that other people will be offended.

But not much actual offense.

Lesson: Online, we all think we're smarter and more tolerant than the other guy.