First, our apologies for the two-week hiatus.
Now, here’s this week’s installment of “Terminal Lance” Tuesdays, newly released from the Marine Corps Times archive. “Anatomy of a New-Join” first appeared in the March 7, 2011, issue.
When the strip’s creator, Max Uriarte, submitted this strip for publication, he prefaced it — as he frequently does — with a disclaimer. “The original title was ‘Anatomy of a Boot,’ but I figured ‘New-Join’ might be more socially acceptable for the newspaper,” he warned me. “At least I remember when I was in, they wouldn’t let us call them ‘boots’ anymore.”
I’ll say this about Max: He’s not afraid to challenge convention, and he constantly pushes me to ask “Can we publish this?” Just last week, in fact, I had a rather awkward conversation with a senior editor here regarding the term “douche bag” — courtesy of Max. (For more on that, pick up the latest issue, on newsstands now.)
Anyway, I didn’t give Max’s note much thought at the time, but looking back I can say with certainty that if he had titled this strip “Anatomy of a Boot,” no one here would’ve called the PC Police on him. I’m guilty of writing that word in headlines on multiple occasions to describe poolees and recruits. Two recent examples:
I suppose it’s all in the delivery. If said derisively, even a term of endearment can be taken as an offense. And in that light, Max was wise to tread carefully. (See our recent discussion on Devil Dog.) But when no harm is intended, I say there’s nothing wrong with calling a boot a boot.