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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Mailbag

    Campus leaders have no respect for First Amendment rights
    I am deeply concerned about the response to the controversial comic that was printed in the Wildcat. Not that it was printed, but for the deep lack of respect of the First Amendment that ASUA president Tommy Bruce and ASUA vice-president Jessica Anderson displayed when they rushed into the media spotlight to condemn both the Wildcat and the comic itself, clearly before they understood its context.

    As a journalism student, I find Lauren LePage’s explanation unnecessary but I like that she addressed the “”uproar”” the comic caused. I am disturbed and outraged, however, by both Bruce’s demand on KVOA that a “”public apology”” be made and Anderson’s insinuation that ASUA has any business “”brainstorming ways that the Wildcat should be held accountable for this.”” I believe that President-elect Barack Obama, for whom I proudly voted, would be ashamed to know that student officials felt it was in their place to condemn a student publication simply for publishing something potentially offensive.

    Brian Mori
    journalism senior

    Newspaper should have republished cartoon for journalistic value
    Whatever you may think of the comedic merits of the cartoon published last Wednesday, I appeal to the good sense of the campus community. The letters of complaint that flooded the mailbox of the Wildcat and the bed-wettingly feeble apology and explanation from the editor-in-chief, Lauren LePage, alongside the disappointingly turgid response from President Robert Shelton, were all worryingly reminiscent of the response to the Danish cartoon fiasco of 2006.

    Further, it was equally disturbing to note that the paper did not publish the cartoon again the next day for any of those who may have missed it, even though they ran a lengthy section dedicated to the repercussions. Clearly, you could argue, it was journalistically irresponsible not to do so due to the intrinsic need. It is here that I must come to the defense of the piece.

    I accept anyone’s right to their opinion and their right to take offense; but in the same breath, those who take offense must affirm the right of those to free expression. In the constitutional democracy of the United States, where such freedoms should be deeply respected and upheld, it’s morally impossible to criticize one but not the other. To do so would be to appear complicit with the mullahs who promulgated the burning of Danish embassies in 2006, or, for example, support the fatwa issued against Salman Rushdie in 1989 following the publication of “”The Satanic Verses”” that led to the death of a Japanese translator and countless other acts of violence and open repression.

    It is unsurprising that I cannot find the cartoon online; everything is all too evocative of 2006. To demand apologies for freedom of expression attacks the very core of our free society and establishes the basis for a new climate of fear whereupon nothing satirical or ironic is acceptable. Lastly, I repeat my proposal that to take offense is to misread.

    Robert Iddiols
    English sophomore

    Publishing of comic was poorly timed, but reflected reality
    While I thought the timing of the comic was extremely distasteful, I do not think the content of the comic was intended to be racist. (“”Daily Wildcat editor faces community,”” Nov. 7, 2008) If the comic had been run a couple weeks earlier, the point might not have been lost. The author was attempting to expose something that was not being covered in the media, and was doing it in a provocative way. As much as we hate the N-word, people use it. That’s reality. Racism exists and that’s certainly not something we should ignore. The artist, black himself, was doing what journalism is supposed to do – stimulate discussion and reveal information we previously did not know. The comic was based on an actual event that an Obama campaigner experienced. Should we pretend it didn’t happen? Or should we have an open discussion about what has happened in this revolutionary campaign – that there were probably racists that ended up voting for Obama.

    Kai Kaapro
    Russian senior

    EIC deserves credit for taking responsibility for comic
    Judging from the recent interest in a certain misprinted comic, it is obvious to me that our student newspaper is very highly read, and I think there is something to say about that. The Daily Wildcat staff has a huge responsibility to the many readers on and off campus, but mistakes are inevitable. What counts is that these mistakes are recognized and rectified. I find it disheartening that, while so many people are calling out for positive content to replace the misprinted comic of recent interest, equally as many people are lashing out, seething with negativity, at our student newspaper’s editor-in-chief, Lauren LePage. Personally, I find it admirable that Lauren decided to take full responsibility for the mistake in question – especially in a time when it seems accountability is hard to find. Fellow students, diligent staff, and esteemed faculty: it may seem easier to criticize when something has gone awry, but I think you’ll agree that the talented people at the Wildcat do an otherwise amazing job – this is why our paper is so popular. But if you do agree, then why is our team’s extraordinary content and hard work so rarely commended? With that, I’d like to praise our Daily Wildcat reporters, writers, illustrators, photographers, editors (including Ms. LePage), and everyone else who contributes to creating and delivering our student newspaper everyday. Thank you for your hard work and an otherwise great semester so far.

    Larry Muth
    psychology senior

    Political cartoons not always meant to be funny
    There has been much debate over the comic that ran Wednesday in the Daily Wildcat, and for the most part the responses have been negative. While I am no less racist than the majority of the country (not to say that I myself do not have any prejudices, and I think it is ignorant and ridiculous to suppose that no person does), I believe that the comic was completely and utterly appropriate. The comic embraces and supports the idea that this country has come to a point that almost no other county on the globe has ever reached.

    If people cannot appreciate the actual meaning of this comic, then they need to step back and look at how this country has changed since its creation. No longer is race such an insurmountable barrier in society, instead it is embraced as contributing to social diversity, and this comic is illustrating that.

    This comic depicts a situation that can really only occur in the United States of America, where a word that has incredibly racist and derogatory connotations is used only to illustrate a point, to describe the person who we voted in as President. I think people get the wrong idea when they think that political cartoons are meant to be funny, when really they are used to illustrate a point. Political cartoons are, in their most basic forms, large ideas contained in a small space, and they can only be offensive when interpreted as so, which brings an interesting question: why is it that people automatically assumed that racism was the point of the cartoon when the artist’s true intention was to promote social diversity?

    The critics of this comic need to stop criticizing it and take a minute, at least, to try to appreciate it for what the artist intended it to be, and if, after such contemplation, they reach the same conclusion as before, then they can argue it to their heart’s content. After all, that is what America is based on, the expression of opinion, and I, for one, believe that is what this comic is doing.

    Anthony Holbrook
    mathematics freshman

    Forum about cartoon was formless, unsatisfying
    I attended the discussion forum Nov. 6 regarding the controversial Daily Wildcat cartoon that was published Wednesday. I had high hopes that there would be a very civil and adult discussion about how exactly the comic was placed in the Wildcat, why it was even placed, and what steps would be taken to prevent things of this nature happening again. The meeting began by listing expectations the audience had for Editor-in-Chief Lauren LePage (who was asked to explain the Wildcat’s stance on the subject, as well as answer any and all questions the audience had), as well as those we had for ourselves. Respect for the editor was one of the biggest expectations that was explained to the audience. As the editor walked in, the tension in the room rose like no other. Of course, we had all hoped that we would maintain our respect for the editor-in-chief. Questions began pouring in, but not the way that was originally hoped. Anger and frustration took hold of everyone, in response to the editor’s unclear answers. In my personal opinion, people began simply attacking LePage to get answers out of her. Also in my opinion, individuals became hostile, some even storming out of the room. I had questions that I even wanted to ask, but a certain sector of the audience took control of the meeting by interrupting the ongoing discussion. After a while, I began to feel ashamed to even ask my question. This continued until moderators attempted to control the discussion.

    The discussion never really took any life. Nothing was solved, and it seemed as if the audience only wanted to know who was to blame. Placing blame on someone is great and all, but it doesn’t solve anything. I feel like I wasted nearly two hours of my life. I felt completely ashamed to be a minority in the room, and completely embarrassed to have sat in the audience.

    Simone Gardunio
    junior majoring in psychology and photography

    Cartoon situation should be approached calmly, respectfully
    I thank Lauren LePage, the editor-in-chief of the Wildcat, so much for being as curious as she was to come to the meeting and answer questions about the very controversial comic published in the Wildcat. I am very sorry at how some people reacted to her answers to their questions. I feel like they were totally out of line in how they were treating her. That said, I also believe that the printing of the comic is still a big problem.

    As can be seen from people’s reactions, where they were debating with and getting very upset at Ms. LePage, this is something that hurt many students. I feel like Ms. LePage apologized and doesn’t have to apologize anymore, but I do think that there need to be steps taken to make sure this doesn’t happen again. The only way to be able to fix this is to work together, Ms. LePage and the African American community. To do that, everyone in B.L.A.C.K. needs to be able to be calm and polite to anyone from the Wildcat. All the wanting to change the world will go nowhere if everyone can’t control their emotions. And when everyone can, then there should be meetings like the one last night, because this is a big problem and it needs to be addressed and fixed.

    In the wise words of Barack Obama, our first African American president: “”Let us recognize what unites us across borders and build on the strength of this blessed country. Let us embrace our history and our legacy.””

    Julian Seidel
    Engineering sophomore

    Comic not intended to cause offense to readers
    People have overreacted to the “”K Chronicles”” cartoon published in the Nov. 5 Wildcat. The comic was obviously not an attack against President-elect Obama. Instead, if people paid attention to the news they would know it was lampooning actual events that canvassers experienced. I can appreciate why people were upset. However, this school appears to have a history of overreacting to comics people find politically incorrect (I remember a similar incident last year). I only hope that people can step back, relax, and realize that this comic wasn’t intended to offend anyone.

    J.C. Smith
    history junior

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