Odi Profanum Vulgus Et Arceo

“I detest the common crowd, and I rebuff them.”

Bill Keller, Executive Editor of The New York Times, announced that a new section, Sunday Review, will launch June 26, including comics.

In a letter to their readers (June 19):

We’re also adding new features, creating an opinion and news analysis section that carries on the best of the old with our vision for what readers will love. One page 2, you will find Frank Bruni in his debut as an opinion columnist. We’re also offering comics on the back page, expanded space for editorials, but also more input from a crucial part of this relationship: you, the reader.

Does offering comics regularly change the tone, the reputation of the Times? As a longstanding subscriber, I was surprised by this departure. It will be interesting to see which comics they choose to feature in the Sunday Review.

Blogger David Apatoff wrote in 2007:

For more than a century, the New York Times kept its nose in the air and refused to carry comic strips the way other newspapers did. Odi Profanum Vulgus Et Arceo — “I detest the common crowd, and I rebuff them.”

Perhaps foretelling some push back, an article appeared in the Times yesterday (June 17), “A New Therapeutic Tool in the Doctor’s Bag: Comic Strips”:

An eclectic, interdisciplinary group from around the world descended upon Northwestern’s medical and law schools last weekend for “Comics & Medicine: The Sequential Art of Illness.” Health care professionals, artists and humanities scholars discussed how comics could be used in medical education, patient care and scholarship.

“Comics” is a term they use somewhat loosely, and it includes graphic novels and various mixes of words and visuals. It’s not to be confused with just comedy or humor, said Catherine Belling, an assistant professor of medical humanities and bioethics at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern. It should be taken seriously, Ms. Belling and other academics said, because it can heighten doctors’ ability to express empathy, partly by smartly using the marriage of text and images.

All newspapers must adapt to survive. I would accept just about any changes from the Times, accepting their good judgment. Just don’t take away the Science Times!


  1. #1 Walt's Garage
    June 19, 2011

    Actually, one of the main reasons I never read the NYT is because they didn’t have comics!

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