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To the editor:

Can someone please clue me in on why Jennifer Berman has cartoons published in the Reader?

I have read every Berman feature with interest over the past few years only to see if her current comic is even worse than her last.

Her cartoons are not in the least bit funny or thought-provoking. The humor isn't objectionable, it's not even there. One contribution to the Reader featured a ruler talking to a rock. The dialogue balloon over the ruler says: "You rock!" The balloon over the rock says: "You rule!" Forgive me, is that even remotely funny?

The imagination it takes to come up with such a lame comic could be found on any grade-school playground. If it was only one such dud, I wouldn't be writing this letter, but Berman consistently puts out such an endless stream of humorless, poorly drawn, pun-filled bombs I had to speak up.

Something can be said for poor artwork if it's done at least interestingly. P.S. Mueller, Heather McAdams, and Lynda Barry may not be champions of form but at least their style makes your eye want to view it. This cannot be said of Berman's two-dimensional cutout figures. (See plentiful examples of blank-faced humans drawn with feet pointing outward.)

Further maddening is the fact that the Reader allows so much space for these sparse dogs. Berman's cartoons could easily be reduced in size without losing anything artistically--why not cut her down to size and allow another cartoonist to showcase their work?

I'd gladly face Berman in a showdown in the Reader's pages--you don't even have to pay me. Run our work head-to-head for a few weeks and let the readers decide who should stay or go.

An alternative weekly of such a caliber as the Reader can do better than this.

John Matthews

W. Thomas

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