A Nocturnal Omission

The Miami Hearald's brain trust comes to grips with a sticky wicket

Herald publisher David Lawrence goes a step further: "This cartoon fits my definition of what is trash. I wouldn't want to work for a newspaper that printed that."

Echoes Doug Clifton, the paper's executive editor: "It was awful. It could not run in a reputable newspaper that had any sensitivity to the people it serves."

Ten years ago Mark Zusman was one of the first editors in the U.S. to feature Callahan, in the Willamette Week, an alternative weekly in the artist's hometown of Portland, Oregon. "Callahan is a pretty black-humor guy. His humor is completely and utterly opaque," says Zusman, who recently ran the controversial cartoon. "That's what is so precious about the guy. Occasionally I run cartoons of his that make me wince. But that's part of the cost of having someone who steps right up to the line: Every now and then he might step over it. We afford him that opportunity. With Callahan, you buy the package and you take the good with the bad."

In the future, Miamians might not have to worry about either extreme. According to Doug Clifton, Callahan's long-term fate is under review. "I've never been a fan of it," Clifton says. "It is an element of Tropic I've never been fond of, and this just heightens that.

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