Ironic Exposure

A person studying the Sunday morning comics for adultism and forms of anti-youth discrimination could die a thousand deaths from over-exposure. Somewhere between “For Better or For Worse” and “Sally Forth” it’s laid on heavy. Even my childhood favorite Garfield gets in on it on occasion.

That’s why today’s “Family Circus” is a little relieving. For all the slanderous things artist Bil Keane ever writes that grossly oversimplifies, patronizes and offends youth, today’s strip helps pull back the curtain on adult hypocrisy in a really soft, easy-to-digest way.

It’s made of a large dimmed blue panel with images of the kids devouring their Easter finds, and goodies scattered around the panel. In the center is a bright, full color circle with an image of the family’s holiday dinner table, packed with a bountiful Easter meal. But here the kids are all slumped over and lethargic, and the father is wagging his finger at them for not eating their dinner.

By pointing out the failures of many traditional American parents, artist Keane acknowledges the discriminatory practice inherent in much parenting practice. We’re a hypocritical bunch who often feel like we’re crawling around on our hands and knees in the dark looking for a clue to do this “right”. Thanks Bil Keane for giving us a little tool to help find our way.

Written by Adam Fletcher, this article was originally posted to Learn more at!

Published by Adam

For almost two decades, Adam F. C. Fletcher has led international outreach focused on engaging people successfully. Working with thousands of youth-serving nonprofits, K-12 schools, government agencies, international NGOs and other organizations around the world, his work spans the fields of education, public health, economic development and social services, and includes professional development, public speaking, publishing, social media and more. He founded the Freechild Institute for Youth Engagement, SoundOut and CommonAction, as well as writing more than 50 publications and 500 articles. He has also established 150-plus community empowerment projects.

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