Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Did the A-T go beyond the bounds?

A student posted this letter to the university discussion list about the A-T April fools issue. I have not really looked at it myself, but the headlines on the website suggest that several of the "stories" might be ugly, if not down right offensive. Here is the letter:

As a

nontraditional student on campus, I am voicing my concern regarding the annual Advance Titan's April Fool's edition (http://www.advancetitan.com/) that came out yesterday. In my opinion, this yearly tradition serves no purpose other than to degrade the image of our campus and offend numerous parts of the student body, as well as faculty, staff and administration. I personally feel that what may be intended to be sarcasm, humor or an “April Fool” has gone too far and should no longer be condoned on this campus.

I am outraged by the sentiments expressed in the AT. The statements go well beyond those of an “April Fool” and I am deeply concerned about how no action about this impacts our faculty/staff of color, our students of color, our

LGBTQ students, our non traditional students, and allies. When so many are asking 'why am I here?' and 'Is it worth it?'...this may be the last straw for many.

Our campus is already a 'difficult' environment to work and study in. The tone of the

AT's articles only adds tension to our campus community, if not outright saying who belongs here and who does not. The tension increases as the minutes of silence and no response tick by. No action is action!

I feel that the longer we are silent about this, the further we

systemically institutionalize racism, homophobia, ageism, and sexism. I hope you will stand behind me in supporting ALL members of our campus and community and what we stand for as members of the University Wisconsin Oshkosh campus and community!

The time to be heard is now!

Signed,

42 comments:

lammers said...

I had a look. It didn't seem any more inane, juvenile, incoherent, insulting, or scatological than past year's issues. Pretty typical of what passes for wit these days, though I will say that the "non-trad riot" piece was pretty clever, and I certainly appreciated the message about faculty salaries inherent in the "Wells leaves to manage Taco John's" satire.

Anonymous said...

I think the AT April's fool hoax paper reflects poorly on the university. There is a difference between being crude and being clever.

lammers said...

>I think the AT April's fool hoax paper reflects poorly on the university<

Well, if you put it that way, *every* issue reflects poorly on the university, specifically the Gripe Line and similar things in the humor section. My prior experience with collegiate newspapers was the Iowa State Daily in the 1970s and the Ohio State Lantern in the 1980s and I never recall anything so low-brow and infantile ever appearing therein. That doesn't mean there aren't some nuggets among the dreck, but, yeah, in balance, it represents the university poorly.

I suppose it reflects the dichotomy of opinion on how public media should behave. One school of thought holds that media should elevate and uplift, striving to accenuate the best in society, to give people what they *need*. The other prefers to pander to base instincts, get down and wallow in the muck, "giving people what they want." The crude sophomoric humor of Gripe Line is the latter clearly.

I still say the "non-trad riot" piece was pretty clever.

Anonymous said...

What about that other campus newspaper? Do you folks think it reflects well on the University? They seem to push conservative values on everyone else all the time.

Anonymous said...

I don't think there was anything too offensive about the April Fool's issue, it just wasn't that funny. The Wells leaving to go to Taco John's piece was pretty good. It makes some clever tongue-in-cheek jabs at the UW system, which is always good. Otherwise, most of the other articles were simply obnoxious.

Anonymous said...

The headline story about Xzibit "pimping" the MEC was not only extremely offensive, but worse yet, unfunny. Way to perpetuate stereotypes, A-T.

lammers said...

>>What about that other campus newspaper? Do you folks think it reflects well on the University? They seem to push conservative values on everyone else all the time.<<

We have another newspaper? Official & supported out of activity fees like A-T, or just put out by students? Hm. Seemed to have missed that.

lammers said...

>>The headline story about Xzibit "pimping" the MEC was not only extremely offensive, but worse yet, unfunny. Way to perpetuate stereotypes, A-T.<<

As I read the admittedly not-very-funny article, I did not think that any particular group of *students* was being satirized, but rather one particular TV program. After all, it was the Chancellor who had allegedly done this to the MEC, not the students. In fact, in the end, the students were evicted so that administration could have the "cool" building, thus empathizing with students getting the short end of the stick again.

Being an old geezer, I'm not too clued in to all the latest pop culture phenmomena, but I got the impression that the article was a pretty accurate depiction of how things go on the show it satirizes. If that show itself, with its obsessive emphasis on hedonism and vulgar displays of wealth is not offensive, how is a satire of it offensive? (Actually, I suspect that *I* would find the show offensive; not a big fan of bragging on wealth and material goods. But obviously I am a bit old for the target demographic.) And if one does judge the show to be offensive, then doesn't it make sense to want to satirize it? To poke fun at its bankrupt values and expose them as foolish and hollow? Perhaps the anger is misdirected, and should be aimed at an entertainment industry that, as I said before, prefers to wallow rather than inspire.

Anonymous said...

It was offensive because its the MULICULTURAL Education Center, and there's a stereotypical minority "pimping" the building. You really can't get much more offensive than that.

lammers said...

>>It was offensive because its the MULICULTURAL Education Center, and there's a stereotypical minority "pimping" the building. You really can't get much more offensive than that.<<

I would never presume to tell someone not to be offended by something. If you find it offensive, then you find it offensive. I respect that.

At the same time, I reiterate my point that I did not think the satire was directed ast any particular minority but rather at one specific television show. If anything, the brunt of the joke was at the administration who would think something so patently ridiculous and impractical was a great idea.

Is it the word "pimping" that offends? It's the word the television series uses. Again, I'm an old geezer, but my impression is that the word is current among all young people to describe decorating something in an ostentatious gaudy fashion to impress others. Again, if that use of the word offends, it's the entertainment media who are the proper object of anger, not a small-town college paper that merely attempts to reflect and satirize it.

Anonymous said...

Thomas Paine says

No the word pimping is not what causes offense in this case. It is that they single out the MEC.

Think how the article would read if it was the Chancellor's office, the wellness center or Oviatt House. It would read differently. It still would not be funny, but it would come across differently.

lammers said...

Well, I suppose so ... but when I think of the MEC, I think of a neat old building that has perpetually been threatened with demolition because of its poor condition, which the Cancellor has tried several times to find ways to repair and renovate.

Against THAT background, selling out to some inane TV show to "save" it makes "sense" (in a satire sort of way). The Chancellor's office or the Wellness Center aren't renowned on campus for being neat old buildings badly in need of repair like the MEC is, so pimping THEM wouldn't make sense as satire.

FWIW, I don't really equate the building with any one particular group. The times I've attended events there, it was a real mix of folks from diverse backgrounds, i.e., MULTIcultural.

And, hey, if it gets folks discussing these things respectfully, it won't have been a totally bad thing, will it? That was the jist of the Chancellor's message.

Anonymous said...

If they were going to use "pimping," that was the last building they should have used. Basically just stupidity on the editors' part.

Anonymous said...

But isn't the MEC the building in the most desparate need of repairs? Therefore, it's clever that they have an icon like Xzibit "pimp" the MEC. It's not a minority issue, it's the fact that the building needs repairs.

Sabai said...

Admit it Lammers. You wrote the article, you insensitive brute.

Now I have to go hug a tree and lite up a joint, dude.

wongfilmfan said...

from lammers, "the Ohio State Lantern in the 1980s and I never recall anything so low-brow and infantile ever appearing therein"

We risked getting mugged for a parking space at The Ohio State University, but the Lantern was a pretty good student newspaper, and it still seems to be.

lammers said...

>>Sabai said... "Admit it Lammers. You wrote the article, you insensitive brute. Now I have to go hug a tree and lite up a joint, dude."<<

Aren't I going to have you in class again one of these days? Yes .... I can hardly wait ...

You're just sore that they made fun of YOU in the same issue, Mr. Green. (Though I got ripped a few years ago, oddly enough.)

Sabai said...

Well Dr. Lammers if the A-T made fun of you a few years ago then we are more colleagues than professor-student. Ah yes the student has become the… ok I’m still just a student.

In all seriousness the A-T April 1st attempt at humor was often very crude. I can certainly enjoy some jokes about farting and naughty bits, but I think that if the A-T really wants to do print material like this, including the gripe line they shouldn't bundle it with their paper.

The week after the Campus Greens were criticized for having low standards in our choice of speaker, “Student groups that invite speakers to campus should set their standards high and invite only top-notch scholars…” the A-T published this in the gripe line “Is it normal if I ejaculate cottage cheese?” I’m sure that visiting academics and parents of students are impressed with the high standards of journalism set by the A-T twice a week.

babblemur said...

April Fools Day has always been about "tricking" people, or fooling them. From the little kids: "Yer shoes are untied - April Fools!" to the more elaborate tricks and pranks such as gluing the quarter to the sidewalk and mocking those who try to pick it up (I was fooled by that) to sending people on Fool's Errands "Go to the store and get a bottle of sweet vinegar for me..."

Somehow, April Fools Day has for some few turned into a "Cross Boundaries" Day, or "Anything Goes" Day.

A good April Fools Media Prank would convince people something silly is actually true, if only for a brief moment. In this case, a front page article with the headline "Wells Takes Job at West Virginia" would grab attention, because its believable, but within the article it is revealed he will manage a Taco Johns.

In the extreme, take Orson Welles infamous Halloween alien invasion, which had disastrous consequences because people believed it.

For some reason, they don't bother trying to trick or fool anyone anymore - they just take low brow humor and put it on the front page. Some of it is funny, some contributes to a hostile atomosphere on campus. I guess we take the bad with the good, huh?

James Potat said...

As a member of the Advance-Titan team, I feel I need to make my opinion known about this whole April Fool’s Day controversy. I think that Stephanie Barnard’s, editor-in-chief at the AT, editorial expresses how I feel pretty eloquently. Sorry if we offended anyone, but it was a joke. The AT does way too much coverage of minority/women/gay rights groups on a weekly basis for people to call us racist or sexist or homophobic. The backlash has been disproportionate to the offense.

Are there some things that we probably shouldn’t have run and would do differently if we did it again? Sure. Was some of the humor low-brow? Absolutely. Should we realistically be doing “fake” issues of our paper or including such crude features as the Gripe Line when we are trying to assert ourselves as a respected news source? That’s a debate for another day.

We did our best to avoid using hurtful stereotype, but I believe that some stereotypes ARE funny and have a place in satire because any intelligent person knows that they are not true to life and that they are ridiculous. Maybe we didn’t do a good enough job of tiptoeing around controversial issues or holding ourselves to high satirical journalistic standards when putting this together, but for people to be personally offended by this makes me believe they missed the point of the issue entirely.

Although I don’t want to diminish the very real struggles that minorities, women, non-trads, etc. face every day of their lives, I think their anger is misplaced in this case. There is so much prejudice and injustice in this world that people should be genuinely upset with. I really think we are just being scapegoated as an easy target.

There is a much deeper debate here about what the Advance-Titan is and what it should/could be, and I can assure everyone that this debate has been played out numerous times in the AT office. Judging this paper on the April Fool’s Day issue or the student-initiated Gripe Line, diminishes all of the positive work we do week in and week out keeping the student body informed and empowered.

lammers said...

Sabai said:

>>The week after the Campus Greens were criticized for having low standards in our choice of speaker, “Student groups that invite speakers to campus should set their standards high and invite only top-notch scholars…” the A-T published this in the gripe line “Is it normal if I ejaculate cottage cheese?” I’m sure that visiting academics and parents of students are impressed with the high standards of journalism set by the A-T twice a week.<<

Ha! A glass house if ever there was one! Yes, there is a larger issue here than crudeness of the April 1 edition. As I mentioned earlier, this annual issue is really just an elaboration of the puerile approach to humor embraced for years by the staff. The Gripe Line in particular is a real embarrassment. It reflects very very poorly on our campus, making .
our student body appear to be nothing by inarticulate reprobates and degenerates. *I* know they are not, but you sure couldn't prove it by the Gripe Line.

lammers said...

James Potat said...
>>I think that Stephanie Barnard’s, editor-in-chief at the AT, editorial expresses how I feel pretty eloquently.<<

Yes, it pretty much takes the view I did previously. I thought it was quite articulate. If anything, she may have apologized TOO much.

>>Should we realistically be doing “fake” issues of our paper or including such crude features as the Gripe Line when we are trying to assert ourselves as a respected news source? That’s a debate for another day.<<

Respectfully, no. I think this is exactly the time to debate it. The April 1st edition was not some isolated anomaly. It only differed in degree, not in kind, from the humor that appears in each issue. It was an accurate reflection of what passes for wit and humor these days among the college demographic. As I said before, should the media try to improve the world or get down and wallow in the muck to "give people what they want"?

>>Judging this paper on the April Fool’s Day issue or the student-initiated Gripe Line,<<

Whoa whoa ... "student initiated"? Did they sneak into your offices and set up the answering machine? Have they threatened the staff if they do not publish their alcohol-fueled rantings? Face it: it's crap and it has no place in a newspaper that expects to be taken seriously.

>>diminishes all of the positive work we do week in and week out keeping the student body informed and empowered.<<

What it does is to cause people to doubt your judgment. "Hm, if the editorial staff thinks this is a Good Idea, what does that say about their ability to reason and analyze things? Under what circumstances would a rational responsible person find Gripe Line a valuable contribution to campus life?" THAT's the problem with it.

lammers said...

babblemur said...
>>April Fools Day has always been about "tricking" people, or fooling them. ... A good April Fools Media Prank would convince people something silly is actually true, if only for a brief moment. ... For some reason, they don't bother trying to trick or fool anyone anymore - they just take low brow humor and put it on the front page.<<

That's a good point. None of those stories really had that sort of "hoax" cachet, did they? The non-trad student story (which as an old geezer really "spoke" to me) maybe did.

Yet, at the same time, good satire CAN be a very useful approach, too. If there are sub-optimal things that deserve ridicule as part of an effort to redress them, I think satire has its place.

There were some scattered elements of that, even in the MEC story. It *is* shameful that that wonderful building has been so neglected. It *is* shameful that our popular media glorify tawdry vulgar displays of wealth yet refuse to fund education adequately. It *is* shameful that academic salaries are such that professors leave to take jobs in the private sector. Turning the scathing light of biting satire on such problems can be a first step in marshalling the support necessary to fix the problem.

If the A-T staff had just been a bit more careful to keep that focus of "satire in the public interest" and avoid wallowing in bad taste, they could've created a piece of art of which Jonathan Swift would've been proud.

James Potat said...

"Student-initiated" may not have been the proper way to phrase that. I was trying to say that students are responsible for the content and popularity of the feature.

Personally, I agree that the Gripe Line has devolved from students sounding off about campus issues — its original purpose, to the best of my knowledge — into the dick and fart joke haven it currently is.

Maybe it is time to redefine the Advance-Titan. I think there are plenty of good reasons presented here and in the past that point to the imminent need for change. I do feel, though, that the change should take place organically and from within, not in the guise of a knee-jerk apology to what I feel is an overblown reaction to a specific issue.

lammers said...

James Potat wrote:
>>Maybe it is time to redefine the Advance-Titan. I think there are plenty of good reasons presented here and in the past that point to the imminent need for change. I do feel, though, that the change should take place organically and from within, not in the guise of a knee-jerk apology to what I feel is an overblown reaction to a specific issue.<<

Agreed. As I said, I thought perhaps Ms. Barnard over-apologized. In situations like this, there is often a tendency to "just do SOMETHING!" and one ends up worse off than before.

If the staff adopts as its objective, "Making this campus a better place" or some such, rather than, "Get people to read us" or "Wouldn't it be cool ...?" it will be a very good starting point. From that, certain possibilities will naturally flow and certain actions will suggest themselves. If everythiong is seem through the lens of a coherent self-selected goal, doing the right thing will be far easier.

babblemur said...

To the benefit of the AT - I did like the "UW Oshkosh not well-endowed" article. THAT was witty, and clever. A few of the other pieces were funny, and believe it or not didn't make fun of actual named people or marginalized groups.

A lot of focus has been placed on three or four of the 17 articles.

And kudos to Steph Barnard's editorial today in the AT. This incident has overshadowed a lot of great work the AT has done covering diversity issues on campus, and they have done some (mostly) great coverage of LBGTQ issues on campus, especially last fall.

BUT - I think the gripe line is a source of grief for many people, at least they self-censor (I think) to eliminate the really inflammatory things.

And I still hold to the opinion that the "True Meaning" of April Fools Day has been lost like baby Jesus on X-mas.

S.Ba said...

Hi guys. What's up?

I'm sick to death of this, but a couple of things:

1. That apology was the LEAST of the things the administration wanted us to do.

2. We are part of the campus' image, as was pointed out to us many times yesterday by Wells et al. But we didn't ask for that. We should be seen as an independent student voice and not reflective of the campus. I guess that's not really true, but it is the position from which I believe we should operate.

3. Sometimes when certain groups get mad at us for reasons we think are illegitimate, it makes us want to give less attention to those groups. It's unethical, but it's human.

For example, last year a few theater students made a big stink when we gave front-page coverage to the Lawrence musical, when the UWO musical was to be held the next week. Well, we were planning to cover the UWO show when it happened, as we always do with the theater performances, so their complaints seemed awfully juvenile. The initial reaction from me and other staff members was, "If they're going to act like that, why should we give them press at all?"

Needless to say, we still cover plays on campus, mainly because it's an easy source of content - plus they do deserve the press. But their actions made us think twice.

To not hear a peep of positive feedback when we write extensively about the MEC issue or the LGBTQ attacks/rallies or Women's/Black/whatever History Month, and then to hear an outpouring of outrage due to some fake articles that were written FROM THE VIEWPOINT of Howard Stern or Xzibit - it's discouraging to say the least.

lammers said...

>>We should be seen as an independent student voice and not reflective of the campus.<<

Kind of a non-sequitur, don't you think? If you are the voice of the STUDENTS, then you reflect this UNIVERSITY, by reflecting its major constituency. You can't have it both ways.

No one expects you to be a mouthpiece for the administration or Student Government or to subject yourself to official censorship. That's not right. What we expect is for you to be as aware of your obligations and responsibilities as you are of your rights. Remember? "With great power comes great responsibility"?

We are hoping you would have the werewithal to say, "The Gripe Line is infantile drivel unbefitting a fine campus like this. No way that garbage goes in this paper on MY watch."

The fact that so many otherwise intelligent people see nothing wrong with base vulgar humor is what upsets us, not the humor itself. That's merely a symptom. The lack of discernment among our students that it points to is the problem.

S.B. said...

Who's to say students represent the university at all? I didn't sign up for that. I signed up for an education.

lammers said...

S.B. wrote:
>>Who's to say students represent the university at all? I didn't sign up for that. I signed up for an education.<<

Begging your pardon, but when you chose to associate with this institution by enrolling in it, you became part of it. The university IS the students ... and the faculty, and the staff, and everyone else who is affiliated with it in some capacity. If WE don't represent it, who the hell DOES????

I suspect you're still smarting from your meeting with the administration over the April Fool's issue, and perhaps you're not thinking clearly as a result. Perhaps it's rude of me to pile on at a time like this. But that statement just has SO many things wrong with it, I cannot let it go unchallenged.

Let's look at a parallel case. The employee at the supermarket says, "I just came here for the paycheck; I didn't sign on to represent this company." But if that employee is rude to you or cheats you out of change or smashes your eggs, you DO hold the supermarket responsible, don't you?

You can complain that it is not fair, that it is not right, but that does not change the FACT that each and every one of us IS a de facto if not de jure representative of any group which we choose to join. Once you freely associate with some larger group, you are no longer your own person; you belong to something bigger than yourself and represent that group to the world at large. Blithely quipping, "I don't wanna be" will not make that go away. It is the way people's minds work.

This is ESPECIALLY true of the A-T. It is absolutely specious to claim that an organization that accepts university funding and works in university-provided space with university-provided resources is not representing the university to the world at large! Now, if you want to gather in a garage off campus and print the A-T on a mimeograph you bought out of your own pocket, THEN you are an "independent student voice."

But when the A-T takes university money, it takes on the mantle of "representing the university." You can't have it both ways. Your newspaper gains some credibility and stature by placing the university's good name on it; you are able to do things you couldn't do with your garage mimeo. But that comes at a cost. In return, the university expects it's name not to be associated with offensive infantile shenanigans.

Irrespective of whether or not the A-T represents this university, the Gripe Line is STILL offensive drivel. I would like to hear a rational explanation of why YOU think it deserves space in your newspaper. What service does it perform, what need does it meet, how does it make things better for the people you serve?

I can only imagine how impressive the Gripe Line column will be to future employers; surely every editor involved with it includes it in his or her professional portfolio, right ...?

Mm-hm. Thought so.

Anonymous said...

lammers said...
"We have another newspaper? Official & supported out of activity fees like A-T, or just put out by students? Hm. Seemed to have missed that."2:14 PM, April 04, 2007

Yes a group called "Conservatives In Action" puts out a paper called Life & Liberty www.lifeandlibertynews.com They aren't funded by activity fees and as far as I know they haven't gotten any funding from the Allocations Committee. But they do put out an issue about once a month pushing their conservative agenda.

And anyone that works at the Advance Titan can tell you that the majority of the Gripes they print lately are contributed by the sick mind of Russ Plummer who is a reporter there.

lammers said...

>>Yes a group called "Conservatives In Action" puts out a paper called Life & Liberty www.lifeandlibertynews.com They aren't funded by activity fees and as far as I know they haven't gotten any funding from the Allocations Committee. But they do put out an issue about once a month pushing their conservative agenda.<<

Hm. Well, in as much as they seem to *truly* be an independent student voice, I guess it's a First Amendment issue. (BTW, that verb "pushing" is kind of emotionally charged, don't you think? "I advocate, you push, he rams it down our throats" but it's all the same activity: trying to persuade people you're right. You may disagree with their views, but publishing a newspaper is not per se a Bad Thing.)

>>And anyone that works at the Advance Titan can tell you that the majority of the Gripes they print lately are contributed by the sick mind of Russ Plummer who is a reporter there.<<

All the more reason to hold the editorial staff responsible, if true.

Anonymous said...

Wow it's so obvius to me now. How could I have missed that Steph, the FEMALE editor of the A-T, is sexist against women? Thank you, genius posters! You look right past the idea that the article was a blast on Howard Stern, and get straight to the point that every single member of the A-T staff hates women. How unbelievably rational of you!

Sabai said...

“You look right past the idea that the article was a blast on Howard Stern”

I think it’s the problem with that sort of humor, some people just don’t understand it. I like the kind of humor that appears in The Onion, but I don’t think it has a place in our school’s newspaper.

Although I was the butt of joke in the issue I didn’t take it personally. I did find it unfortunate that they said that I was going to smoke pot with my boys since I have two sons. If they did mean my children, then I am deeply offended, but I think no one would be low enough to say that. Perhaps I am naïve

Anonymous said...

How we were to know who created that piece? All of the pieces were anonymous.

Regardless of who wrote it, what is satirical about the piece? Where is the joke? Either the piece says "Howard Stern is an ass" or "The Women's Center is stupid". Neither is satirical.

Thanks for trying to explain it, even if the explanation is a bit hostile. I don't think, however, that anyone has come even close to accusing the entire AT staff of hating women.

Do you really think that? If so, why?

Anonymous said...

>I did find it unfortunate that they said that I was going to smoke pot with my boys since I have two sons. If they did mean my children, then I am deeply offended, but I think no one would be low enough to say that. Perhaps I am naïve.< -Sabai

Sabai, I think that proves the generation gap has made the issue controversial. "Smoking pot with my boys" has absolutely nothing to do with your sons, it is a pop culture slang term: "boys" means friends, basically. I really hate having to explain jokes because it ruins them, but the funny part of it is that you, being a professor, would probably not use such a phrase, not to mention smoke pot.

Which is the basis for this whole problem. Professors are simply out of touch with students and don't understand what is popular in today's world. You may say that our humor is juvenile, but that is ignorance on your part. You're telling me you didn't have a less-than-mature sense of humor in your late teens to early 20's? Give me a break.

The irony in the situation is that the A-T has been bombarded with accusations of ignorance, when it is the accusers who do not have the background information to be making the accusations. Read up on things before you make these ridiculous statements. At least do more than a Wikipedia search on Xzibit before you express your unfounded opinions.

I guess I simply expected more from so-called intelligent people with Ph.Ds. To call the writers of the A-T racist, ageist or sexist is something I'd expect to hear from some high school dropout in a bar, not from you.

Anonymous said...

There is more to life and humor than knowing about pop culture.

Fair enough, "professors" are "out of touch". You must then accept what the "professors" are suggesting: publishing some of that stuff was irresponsible.

Sabai said...

Anonymous 2:46 I you misread my post completely. First I am an undergrad not a professor. Second I said I liked “The Onion” which is often offensive and somewhat juvenile. Third I didn’t think that the writer was actually referring to my sons, but it could be interpreted that way. I do understand what “my boys” was probably referring to.

Anonymous said...

I don't think I have seen any comment here or on email that says "The AT Staff are Racist (or sexist, ageist, etc.)"

Most of the criticisms I have seen are that the AT was "inappropriate" or had poor judgement. Or that the fake articles were insensitive, or that they contributed to an (already) hostile invironment.

Am I wrong? Has someone posted a comment that they think the AT Staff are racist?

lammers said...

>>Professors are simply out of touch with students and don't understand what is popular in today's world.<<

Yes and no. We do not follow it as you do, but it is so pervasive that even when we TRY to ignore it, we become aware of it nonetheless.

>>You may say that our humor is juvenile, but that is ignorance on your part. You're telling me you didn't have a less-than-mature sense of humor in your late teens to early 20's? Give me a break.<<

Yes, we did. Definitely. The key difference was that we didn't flaunt it in the school newspaper and rub our elders' noses in it. We kept it to ourselves, snickering about it behind closed doors and keeping it to ourselves. We understood that there is a time and a place for everything. Some things were suitable for public consumption, some things were best kept private. What's funny in the men's locker room or the women's rest room is not necessarily suitable for committing to print. THAT is what distresses many of us: the lack of DISCRETION exhibited by the parties involved, the lack of respect displayed by this cheap approach to humor.

lammers said...

Anonymous asked: "Am I wrong? Has someone posted a comment that they think the AT Staff are racist?"

Well, maybe. The original post that started all this included this line: "I feel that the longer we are silent about this, the further we systemically institutionalize racism, homophobia, ageism, and sexism." I think one could interpret that to be the same as calling the A-T all those thing.

Let me be clear. I never said the A-T staff was racist, homophobic, ageist, or sexist. I said the humor they published was puerile (and various synomyms) and was evidence of a lack of judgment and discretion, but I don't think I'd apply any of those other adjectives to them.

If you'll recall, I've actually to some degree defended the A-T in these posts. They'd be a lot easier to defend if they'd showed a bit of restraint and some basic common sense. Dumping the Gripe Line would go a long way towards giving the paper some respectability.

Anonymous said...

Sabai, I think that proves the generation gap has made the issue controversial. "Smoking pot with my boys" has absolutely nothing to do with your sons, it is a pop culture slang term: "boys" means friends, basically. I really hate having to explain jokes because it ruins them, but the funny part of it is that you, being a professor, would probably not use such a phrase, not to mention smoke pot.

dude, are you serious or joking? andy sabai's, like, 30 years old. are you assuming he's old / a professor because he has kids??