In his Monday column, Bloomington (IN) Herald-Times editor Bob Zaltsberg revisits the story of the boy who complained in a voicemail about his favorite comics getting canceled. (The kid called Zaltsberg and his colleagues “shitholes,” “jerks” and “idiots” for yanking the strips.)
Zaltsberg says he knew after I called last Monday that the “the H-T’s 8-year-old critic was going to become an Internet sensation — and I would be a very well-known (naughty name) for a few days.”
He writes in today’s paywalled column:
Within 36 hours after Romenesko picked up the story — which we had posted on HTO and distributed on Twitter and Facebook — we’d also heard from People.com,CNN.com, Fox.com, the New York Daily News, New York Magazine and radio stations in New York and Indianapolis.
Digital heavyweights Gawker, Buzzfeed and the Huffington Post had run the story, as had The Independent of London, the Irish Times and various other digital publications. Within 72 hours, the audio had been played more than 140,000 times.
A representative from a company that distributes books with collections of Peanuts comics — one of the comics the young man wanted back — said she’s sending five books along, “not to reward his cursing, but to acknowledge the heart behind his activism.”
Zaltsberg notes that many commenters who blasted the boy’s parents “did the same kind of name-calling for which they were denouncing an 8-year-old. …I saw this from the beginning as a ‘kids say the darndest things’ issue, not some morality play about child-rearing.
The editor adds: “I don’t believe for a minute Mom, Dad or any adult knew what he was saying or would condone it. But he’s a kid, and he was frustrated. …Mom told me the family has used this as a teachable moment about civility. Son believes he might find some favorites in our new comics and has decided to draw some of his own.”