He certainly can't be called a wallflower. An eight-year-old American boy called up his local newspaper office to express his disgust that a number of cartoons had been axed from its pages.
The precocious child launched a rather colourful tirade against staff during the voicemail he left on Sunday – with encouragement from his parents.
The Herald-Times, which is circulated across Bloomington and south-central Indiana, recently replaced 13 cartoons in its colour-comic section following a pricing disagreement with one syndication service.
But the move clearly didn’t go down well with the little boy.
"I want back these comics now," he says in the recording, after being introduced by his mother.
He then reels off an extensive list, including Frank and Ernest, Ziggy, Peanuts, Garfield and Dilbert, before interjecting: "You’re jerks, you’re jerks, you’re jerks, you’re jerks."
His mother and father can be heard helping him recite the titles.
"That’s all you jerks. I’ll give you all my money if you just give us this back," the youngster concludes.
Then comes his parting - and very colourful - words: "Idiots, jerks, s**tholes. S**tholes."
Editor Bob Zaltsberg said he spoke to the boy when he returned to work the next morning. Writing on the newspaper's website, he said: "He was still pretty mad when I talked with him this morning, but he was relieved to hear he'd still be able to read Frank and Ernest six times a week."
Zaltsberg said that he had told the boy's mother that he planned to post a recording of the voicemail online and that she had agreed and found it funny – although she admitted her son hadn't perhaps been on his best behaviour during the call.
Many readers commenting on the article criticised the editorial decision and slated the child's parents for allowing him to swear.
However, Zaltsberg urged people to see the humorous side. He wrote in the comments section: "I'm pleased mum and dad asked their child to express his opinion. I talked with the eight-year-old and mum this morning, and I don't believe calling them names is an appropriate response.
"I've seen this from the beginning as 'kids say the darndest things' rather than any kind of morality issue. Thanks for all the comments," he added.Reuse content