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Love and hate for ‘9 Chickweed Lane’ and sympathy for Chris Cuomo

Side-by-side headshots of brothers Andrew and Chris Cuomo
Former New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and his brother, former CNN anchor Chris Cuomo.
(Mike Groll / Associated Press, left; Evan Agostini / Invision/Associated Press)

Dropping ‘9 Chickwood Lane’

To our readers: We gave the decision to drop “9 Chickwood Lane” from our comics pages serious thought based on responses from readers and staff. It was not a decision we took lightly. We realize the strip has a loyal following, but we also had heard from many readers complaining about the strip. Our decision was based not on one offensive comic but on an evaluation of the strip overall, and more broadly an evaluation of our entire comic catalog.

We knew that any decision we made would be unpopular with some readers. Please know that we value your thoughts, and we hope that you’ll continue to let us know how we’re doing.

Below is a small sample of the hundreds of letters Calendar Feedback has received from our readers regarding the comic strip and our decision to drop it:

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I understand that humor can be subjective, satirical and subject to one’s point of view. I fail to see how today’s “9 Chickweed Lane” [Dec. 1] accomplishes any of these. Several thousand sailors and Marines died in [World War II] and a reimagining of history is not only disrespectful to them but fuels anti-Asian sentiment already in society.

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The Times, as a local publication, should have known better than to let this one through.

Michael Shibata
Monterey Park

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The comic on Dec. 1 is not only inappropriate but is, in fact, racist and can only inflame the increasing racism that has reared its ugly head these past two years.

How can the Times’ editors not understand that term is equal to and just as derogatory as the “N” word.

Elliott Singer
Los Alamitos

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I heartily applaud your decision to discontinue “9 Chickweed Lane.” It was the worst example of a newspaper comic strip that I recollect in my 79 years (74 years of active readership, anyway). I go back to “Snuffy Smith,” “Dick Tracy,” “Lil’ Abner,” “Gordo,” etc. I always skipped “Chickweed Lane” with gusto. It was not that funny and tended toward sick or depressive.

I’m sure there are plenty of weirdos who liked it, but it ran awfully close to the edge. Is it OK to say “weirdos”?

Roger Krenkler
Westlake Village

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You canceled “9 Chickweed Lane”? Are you out of your minds?

One word, evocative of the times portrayed, and your editor gets the vapors? Perhaps because a reader took exception?

Well, the rest of us want to hear what Brooke McEldowney has to say. Please return the strip (and print the days we missed as well).

Walt Love
Northridge

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I was shocked and saddened this morning to awake to my daily read of the comic section, only to find that my favorite strip, “9 Chickweed Lane,” was being dropped because of some overly “woke” complaint.

I ask you please to reinstate the most poignant, humorous, sexy comic you’ve ever run.

It is the first thing I turn to each morning, and now my mornings are ruined. Please reconsider.

Roger M. Steffens
Echo Park

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I usually do not read “9 Chickweed Lane” in the daily comic section but I just happened upon today’s [Dec.1] offering. I do not know the ongoing story line but how does Brooke McEldowney justify using a racial slur in the text?

Or, just as important, how did the editors let it get into print?

Randy Momii
Los Angeles

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I see that you are discontinuing “9 Chickweed Lane.” Although I don’t think any slur was used, I am happy to see this strip go as it was not amusing or funny.

I would love to see “Pickles” take its place. It is an exceptional comic strip that I adore and I feel would be a real asset to the page.

Kathryn Denlinger
Santa Barbara

Family first for Cuomo

Regarding the Calendar section’s coverage of Chris Cuomo’s suspension and firing at CNN, “Cuomo Off Air at CNN” [Dec. 1] and “The Last Straw Against Cuomo” [Dec. 7] by Stephen Battaglio: Chris Cuomo tried to help his brother wiggle out of the sexual harassment charges more out of familial love than journalistic malfeasance.

I think Chris Cuomo is your typical white liberal hypocrite but I don’t think he should lose his show because he was trying to help his wayward brother.

Mark Walker
Yorba Linda

A white Christmas

In putting together this hatchet job about Great American Channels (GAC) and its Christmas movies [“In Case Hallmark Proves Too Edgy,” Dec. 7], it might have helped Lorraine Ali if she had at least seen some of the films themselves.

In claiming, “All but one of the channel’s 12 movies this year revolve around straight, white characters,” Ali failed to point out that a number of the other movies also had diverse character representation, including at least one where a second couple was interracial and another movie that had a predominantly British cast.

That Bill Abbott started at GAC: Family about six months ago and put together so many high-quality Christmas movies in that period of time is a significant undertaking and achievement.

Rather than taking shots at political leanings and calling the movies “as unremarkable and sickly sweet as drugstore candy canes,” it might have been more appropriate to praise Abbott for having the talent and moxie to put together so many great movies in such a short period of time.

And I for one have stuck around to see a few episodes of “Bewitched” after seeing some of these movies.

Steve Leon
Beverly Hills

Welcome back

Mark Swed’s review of the return of the L.A. Master Chorale [Nov. 26] ended by welcoming the choir back to long-overdue and much-missed live performing.

As a longtime reader and enthusiastic fan of Swed’s articulate and knowledgeable writing, I’m elated to see him regularly back in print writing concert reviews after a very long break.

In fact, his concluding words could be applied to him: “Welcome back, Mark Swed. You’ve been missed.”

Bob Hunka
Los Angeles

Remembering Stephen Sondheim

Regarding Stephen Sondheim coverage by Dennis McLellan [“Stephen Sondheim, 1930-2021,” Nov. 27] and Theater Critic Charles McNulty [“How Stephen Sondheim’s Work Changed Musical Theater Forever,” Nov. 27]: Both wrote fitting tributes but did not mention “Evening Primrose,” Sondheim’s 1966 underappreciated televised musical.

It was that show that gave me insight into the way he used lyrics and melodies that were beautiful and haunting.

I also have to mention, in 1991 when my best friend Andy Gilbert was ill with AIDS, I wrote Sondheim a letter asking him to send Andy a signed autograph. In a few days Andy received the picture and I received a one-word note from Sondheim with the word “Done.” Sondheim never was one to use more words than needed.

Richard Kopelle
Los Angeles

The fiction is out there

In “Bestsellers” [Dec. 5] the book “The Real Anthony Fauci” by Robert Kennedy Jr., is on the nonfiction list. Shouldn’t this book about a conspiracy theory be classified as fiction?

Robert Lerner
Valley Center


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