back to article Revealed: How the Beano de-menaced Dennis

The former editor of the Beano has revealed that during the late 1980s, publishers D. C. Thomson & Co decided it would be best if Dennis the Menace laid off Walter the Softie lest he be accused of “gay-bashing” his apparently less than robustly heterosexual enemy. Euan Kerr was at the comic's helm between 1984 and 2006, and has …

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tim
IT Angle

more great tech news from The Reg!

Have you got a Google alert set up for any story with PC in or something?

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Joke

Euan Kerr?

Poor guy...

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Happy

Machine hostnames

Nothing to do with political correctness really, but my first set of Sun boxes (IPCs) had hostnames from the Bash Street Kids (the first server was Cuthbert, after Cuthbert Cringeworthy, teacher's pet). Somehow I found it deeply satisfying when my manager asked "when do you expect to have finished that upgrade on plug?"

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Gates Horns

Who are these people?

" a tiny minority of humourless, do-gooding adults"

It is time the majority aired its view.

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IT Angle

hmmm....

“We decided the best way to approach it was to make sure that, even though he and Dennis didn’t get along, Walter was completely happy about who he was and a confident, likeable character in his own right. We eventually gave Walter a girlfriend too, as a measure to combat any further criticism.”

so instead of making Dennis more accepting of homosexuality, they turn Walter straight. Riiiiight......

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Flame

but......he was GHEY!

It's more offensive that they stopped the victimisation of this character because he looks "Gay". Obviously all gay people wear glasses, bow ties and collect flowers...WTF!

Jesus, if I knew someone like that I'd take the piss out him for being gay (Being a massive raving gay myself)!!

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Black Helicopters

A matter of commercial expediency.

Viz does and always has gone out of its way to be as non PC as is possible, the net result... success.

Surely it makes sense for society to ignore the crap government that we seem to have had in this country since WW2 and just get on with laughing at British humour.

Women, mother's in law, wives, men, blacks, whites, Jews, Muslims etc. etc. are all perfect targets.

I think I just mentioned the war... but it's ok, I think I got away with it!

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Anonymous Coward

<no title>

Really! Sounds to me that they took the whole point of the cartoons away. Still I guess it remained successful so they must have got away with it.

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Flame

It's not like it was funny before or after this change

Thank god the Herald Tribune recently stopped paying my cash to the worthless cartoonist.

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Political correctness (n.)

= "that set of opinions with which I disagree"

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Unhappy

PC can be good

PC can be a force for good, it has helped us to be more forgiving and more tolerant of other cultures. If it wasn't for PC we'd all still be watching crap like Love they Neighbour and Mind Your Language, thinking it was funny to rip the wotnot out of those different to us, because they speak or look different. These interfering do-gooders seem to have no idea about context, they seem to think that if you can be nasty to someone for X reason, then surely that same must apply to all life's problems. Quick ban anything that could cause the any amount of offence, even if it's only one person who is bothered, we must save everyone from the nastiness in life!

Often Dennis used to beat up Walter, but in the end, the last frame, Dennis would often get his just rewards, a punishment for being nasty. I would much rather my kids understand a basic principle that most of the time, if you act like an ass and do nasty things, it will catch up with you and you will get punished one way or another.

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Bronze badge

It's a hard job to do...

Kids do notice things.

This doesn't sound like political daftness. Not like some of the stories we hear.

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Stop

If 'The Beano' gets any more PC...

it'll go the way of all the other kids comics a generation grew up with. Didn't turn me into a queer-bashing psychopath, and I very much doubt it did anyone else.

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Walter's Girlfriend

A 'beard' surely?

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Stop

Real name?

Euan Kerr?

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Coat

more pc crap

amusing to read this happened in the 80s when i started reading said quality comics it does amuse me what they are going to come up with next

maybe a PC character, they could call him P.C. PC*

*trademarked!

mines the one with the peashooter and slingshot in

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Anonymous Coward

Eh?

I read the Beano during the 80s and not once did it ever occurred to me that Walter was gay.

Calvin hated girls and hung around all day with a tiger. So ...

Where can I sign up for CAPC?

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Anonymous Coward

Walter was gay?

Well I never, I thought he was just some nerdy kid.

Political Correctism is facism in disguise, it is just another thing for people to attack others on. It just moves the 'ism into attacking the colourful and flamboyant, just another way to spread hatred.

Political correctism is worse than the things it hates and attacks, as it has the added vice of hyprocrisy thrown into the mire.

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It would be great...

...if one day people realise that PCness is just another way of avoiding reality the same as statistics, 'normal' politics, religion, etc.

If we could learn that dealing with issues is better that pretending they don't exist, the world would be a better place.

In fact, I'll go further and say that this kind of thing is the root of a lot of 'evil': This kind of PCness leads to people (kids in this case) being cocooned in cotton wool and is more likely to produce an adult that has warped morals and reasoning than any amount of unPC cartoon content.

Subsequent generations are going to end up totally unprepared to cope with anything remotely unusual and people who don't know how to cope often develop nasty reactions, eh?...

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Law
Paris Hilton

ooopsie

".. a slipper across the bottom. This sort of corporal punishment became outdated.."

I was eating my lunch while reading bits and bobs from the story, missed a bit and thought we were still talking about Walter... sounded saucy... for a minute...

Paris - because I'd punish her bottom for being a naughty lady...

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Anonymous Coward

PC can be good

If it's not hurting, it's not working.

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Jobs Horns

personally ...

... my fav episode was the one where Dennis gave Walter a right good seeing to over his Dad's wheelbarrow in the last frame.

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Silver badge

Bah!

Next up - Biffa Bacon goes to sensitivity training.

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Walter couldn't have been gay.

When I was reading the Beano in the 1970s, the concept of homosexuality hadn't even impinged on my universe, and gay still meant bright and cheerful. Perhaps I had a sheltered upbringing?

Walter the Softy was a sissy, a bit girly, and generally transgressive of gender roles, but he wasn't gay. Firstly, because the concept wasn't there (or supposed to be there) to be associated with him, and secondly, because he had no sexuality and neither did the Menaces. Dennis would never have been seen dead associating with girls, let alone demonstrating heterosexuality to the extent of being attracted to one. If he did, it would be presented as obvious aberrant behaviour on his part, and his fellow Menaces would have cured him of it in short order.

Heh, maybe they should steal back an idea from 2000AD. In the Judge Dredd: Judgement Day storyline (1992) Sabbat the necromagus causes the dead to rise all over the world, and nearly conquers it. In the episode devoted to his origins, it is revealed that his name was originally 'Soppi' and he was persistently bullied by a spiky haired kid in a familiar red and black striped jumper. 'Dennis Mennis,' as his gravestone named him, became the the first victim of Soppi's magic, and, shortly afterward, his first zombie.

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Silver badge

@Marvin the Martian

You may be confusing the (US) Herald-Tribune cartoon with the (UK) Beano version. Astonishingly, both started independently within 3 days of each other in 1951, and both have given rise to TV spin-offs.

I've never found the H-T version very funny, but I attributed this to my lack of a US sense of 'humor' - for all I know it has them rolling in the aisles in Peoria ...

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Boffin

You are forgetting important issues...

"Dennis would never have been seen dead associating with girls"

But surely this fits in perfectly with the profile of a violent homophobe? He hates Walter because he himself isn't reconciled to his repressed inner desires. For Dennis, sex is synonymous with shame and aggression, hence his abuse of Walter (the Self as seen in the Other) and inability to sustain relationships with womyn. The exception to this is, of course, his mother, who Dennis and his father have reduced to an archetype of perfect womanhood, even to the point of denying her individuality by referring to her only as "Dennis's mum".

In the context of postwar deindustrialisation, of course, the conflict between Dennis and Walter is of course a metaphor of the changes occurring in the wider Western European economy i.e. the shift of power from heavy industry and manufacturing (Dennis) to the postindustrial knowledge economy (Walter). Dennis's perennial "uniform" of the stripey jumper is of course a signifier of working class uniforms (whether military, manufacturing or prison), while Walter's bow tie is clearly a reference to the preferred uniforms of editors, bankers and traders.

This conflict was especially real in the 1970s and 1980s to the employees of DC Thomson, as Dundee had both substantial presence of both traditional manufacturing and software/electronics firms. The fact that Dennis The Menace has declined in popularity since the 1980s is no surprise - it is merely a recognition that the "battle" for economic supremacy between industrial and postindustrial enterprises has been won, and that class (rightly or wrongly) is no longer part of the political discourse in the UK.

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IT Angle

IT ANGLE?

Most read today:

1. Pub toilet todger tiff ends in bloodbath

2. Sainsbury's punts 'Innocent kids juices' for £2.99

3. Beauty contest judge canned for slamming 'munter' contestants

4. Hurricane Ike snuffs out Galveston webcam

5. Revealed: How the Beano de-menaced Dennis

Marvellous. Sort it out, el reg!

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Coat

IT Angle

The IT angle is that the publishers of the Beano and Dandy are well aware that the majority of their readership are NOT kids, but middle-aged, usually (though by no means exclusively) male, and commonly work in IT or related geeky-type occupations. Or did before they retired.

They get an article like this in the papers, targeting the "broadsheets", a couple of times a year; it is free and excellently targeted, marketing.

No, not the one with the Beano - mine's got the Eagle.

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Never sure about Walter but...

...I always thought Minnie the Minx was a butch.

P.S. did anyone else fancy Rogers Mum?

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Tim
Boffin

Walter's 'girlfriend'...

Does she realise he's gay and that 'homophobic' Dennis fancies him?

We all know what it means if schoolkids hit each other!

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