A Difference of Opinion

A Difference of Opinion

Don Bousquet cartoon, 1985
(©1985 Don Bousquet. Used with permission).

Subject: Don Bousquet
Date Sent: Sunday, December 5, 2010 6:02 PM
From: JAYTNT@...
To: stuffie@quahog.org

I don't know who you are or what you do—but I'm pissed...

I am totally sick of Bousquet thinking that the Rhode Island Accent is funny. Making fun of a localities speech patterns and pronunciations just shows ignorance and bias.

If you see him, tell him to go back to what ever finishing/charm school he attended in whatever boring state he wasn't educated in and learn some manners.

Or just shut up! No resident of this state thinks he's funny when he makes fun of half the populace. Maybe in Kansas it's funny—not here.


Subject: Re: Don Bousquet
Date Sent: Tuesday, December 7, 2010 10:45 AM
From: Stuffie
To: JAYTNT@...

Hi Ray,

Hate him if you wish, but I respectfully suggest that you may be in the minority in your opinion of Bousquet's humor. Since 1980 his cartoons have appeared in newspapers and magazines all over New England. He's published more than twenty books and people stand in line for hours at his book signings. In 2009 he was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities. His book, The Rhode Island Dictionary (in collaboration with Providence Journal columnist Mark Patinkin), still stands as the definitive final word on the Rhode Island accent and language. No longer in print, Amazon.com currently lists the book at prices from $41 to $75 a copy.

Moreover, even in a state this small, there's enough interest in local humor to sustain a cartoonist, a columnist (Patinkin), and a comedian (Charlie Hall), all mining the same material. The thing is, though, they make fun, but they do it with a deep affection for their subject matter.

None of this, of course, negates that fact that you are offended. The same way that Rush Limbaugh being wildly popular with millions of people doesn't make me think he's any less of a douche. But Limbaugh has a right to make a living and to speak his mind, and so does Bousquet. And you and I have the right to complain about it, if it pleases us to do so. Ain't America great?

I don't have Mr. Bousquet's email address, otherwise I'd CC: him so he could be aware of your feelings, and possibly defend himself.


Christopher Martin
Curator, Quahog.org

PS: Bousquet is a life-long Rhode Islander; born in Pawtucket, moved to Richmond at the age of nine, attended Chariho High School. His "finishing school" was the United States Navy.

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