Classic Cartoons

Martin Plimmer on the obdurate andy capp
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IT WOULD be satisfying to think Andy Capp stopped bashing his wife Flo because he couldn't be bothered any more, but the truth is less appalling. The 41-year career of the shirker, who viewed the world through a cloth cap filter, can be seen to be a gradual capitulation to political correctness, as cartoonist Reg Smythe laboured to please 1,700 syndicated outlets. This is a shame when intransigence is the joke.

It could be a very articulate joke, as these early examples show. With Gazza gone, there are few male chauvinist icons left, so unreconstructed men everywhere must be thankful for the year's supply of Andy Capp strips Smythe left us when he died last week. As an icon the modern Capp is perfect, preserving a message of male obnoxiousness for an increasingly reasonable world.