The open-ended brand of satirical cartoons that Tony Avent puts on the cover of his garden nursery catalogs have earned him sporadic hate mail for more than a decade.
Now his new spring catalog is getting the Wake County plant whiz investigated by Penn State University officials for possible trademark infringement. The cover also has triggered an angry storm of emails, phone calls and Facebook postings by Penn State alumni.
They're still upset over the firing of their beloved football coach, Joe Paterno, last fall and by the child sex abuse scandal involving former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky.
Avent says the real problem is that they don't understand satire.
"They're just nutcases," he said. "That's the thing about doing satire - people have to be smart enough to understand it, and these people are angry about everything. They're angry at Sandusky, they're angry at the university trustees, they're angry at the police. And now we're caught up in that."
The cartoon for the spring Plant Delights Nursery catalog, which Avent commissioned last fall before Paterno died, is a mix of some of the biggest topics in the news then
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