Popular Comic Strip Has Fun With Wacky Warnings

In case you missed the “funnies” section of your newspaper last Sunday, we thought you’d like to see the “Pearls Before Swine” comic strip that delved into the often-comical world of warning labels.

In the award-winning strip by Stephan Pastis, one of the characters reads through a litany of warning labels he found on a kitchen toaster.  After several panels, he looks at the toaster and says “I’ve never been so afraid of a toaster.”  We share his pain!

The full strip, published by the United Feature Syndicate, can be seen at the website of GoComics.

Pastis probably understands why toasters and other consumers goods carry so many warnings better than any cartoonist around.  He’s a former lawyer who spent nine years practicing law, and he litigated many civil cases on behalf of the defense.  I think I’ve found my new favorite cartoonist.

If you’re a lawyer considering a similar career move, or even if you’d like to read about how Pastis’ fellow lawyers helped him develop a comic strip that would eventually be carried in 650 newspapers worldwide, here’s an interesting interview with the cartoonist you might enjoy.

Coincidentally, one of our Let’s Be Fair radio commentaries recently focused on the fear created by litigation-fueled warning labels, too.  To hear the real-life story of someone who was too afraid to use a product she purchased because of an ominous warning printed on it, click here.

Thanks to Kevin Soave of Farmington Hills, Michigan for sending us the tip on the Pearls Before Swine comic strip.  Kevin won the grand prize in our Wacky Warning Label Contest in 2007 for a label he found on a small tractor.  It said, “Warning: Avoid Death.”  Hard to argue with that.

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