Arbor Update

Ann Arbor Area Community News

The Daily's sex/race/taste problem

3. December 2005 • David Boyle
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     Although the Daily’s had improvements lately, including timely corrections, e.g., admitting they spelled UM regent Katherine White’s name wrong (“Kathryn”): the recent Michelle Bien anti-affirmative-action cartoon (“white kid surrounded by blacks who have privileges he doesn’t”), even if not as bad as D.W. Griffith’s 1915 film “Birth of a Nation” racist iconography…well.
     Some questions:
     1. When was the last Daily editor-in-chief who wasn’t a white male? or a white person, period? Has there ever been one?
     2. On October 11, the same day the Daily noted “Survivors of Rwanda genocide to reunite” at the Raoul Wallenberg lecture, the Daily Arts section had on page 8 the blurb “WE’RE THERAPISTS AND ANALYSTS. ANALRAPISTS, IF YOU WILL.” Would survivors of Hotel Rwanda, the Holocaust, or Abu Ghraib think anal rape is funny?
     Could the blurb maybe also offend rape survivors or other people on campus? D’ya think?
     3. When is the next boycott of the Daily scheduled? (rhetorical question(?))
     Anyway, if the MD spent less time on its new “”blog”” etc. and maybe paid more attention to producing a decent paper on a consistent basis, that could be good. New media of communication are hardly of use, if you have little worthwhile to communicate in the first place…

  1. Now ARBOR UPDATE, thatsa fine blog. (heh)
    Just the other commenters, not I, of course…
       —David Boyle    Dec. 3 '05 - 08:08PM    #
  2. Wasn’t Eugene Robinson the Washington Post columnist Daily editor-in-chief?
       —Sekou Benson    Dec. 3 '05 - 08:20PM    #
  3. Good call.

    A co-editor-in-chief, I think.

    But when was the last Daily editor “of color”? Robinson? !!
       —David Boyle    Dec. 3 '05 - 08:44PM    #
  4. David,

    I think the problem you are pointing out is more widespread than just the Daily. Try to name a major paper in this country that doesn’t have a white editor. I don’t think you’ll be able to come up with a very long list.
       —Jason Pesick    Dec. 3 '05 - 10:55PM    #
  5. Dean Baquet, the African-American top editor of the L.A. Times, at, e.g., http://www.latimes.com/services/newspaper/mediacenter/la-mediacenter-baquet,0,4094857.story!! Surprise!

    Actually, I didn’t know this myself until recently! So I don’t expect it to be common knowledge, actually.
    Yeah, I know that’s “only one” paper, but a really big one.

    Anyway:

    1. Yes, the non-diversity problem is more widespread than Daily (and I am not criticizing any particular Daily editor or editors, of course, just criticizing the trend), but;

    2. still, that problem, plus “analrapist” thing, plus the Bien cartoon…while I believe in freedom of speech, that was a REALLY bad cartoon. For an award-winning newspaper like the Daily.
    Just a thought.

    I always enjoy the Daily, but with some of the accumulated stuff I mentioned (and I am not even mentioning other stuff I could mention), plus that cartoon as a trigger…
       —David Boyle    Dec. 3 '05 - 11:52PM    #
  6. For the sake of fairness how many non-white people work for Arbor Update?
    Also, why is David Boyle always the first one to comment on his posts? That’s pretty lame.
       —wondering    Dec. 4 '05 - 02:14AM    #
  7. Well, if I can count it’s 2. I’ve always assumed David was non-white, you can correct me on this David. I’m the other half of color here ;)

    So the problem of representation in the media is not new. But I definitely think the Daily has had ample opportunity to address some of these issues. A couple of years back I and other concerned community of color members met with members of the paper on multiple occassions to try to hash some things out. So I was pleased to “hear” about the multiculural commission, but of course I worry it will have no teeth. Years back there was the suggestion of an ombudsman with a publishing role, dismissed. Years ago, there was the suggestion of the bylaws being public (dismissed but eventually put on the website). Years ago there was the reccomendation of adopting a stylebook/guide, dismissed. It is possible with new leadership many of these things will get dealt with, but only time will tell. Even after these instituional fixes you run the question of what to do with editorial freedom. I am really amazed when I see letters to the editor feature words like “colored people” and I laugh with dismay when I see Michelle Bean publish her cartoon considering the Daily’s editorial desk has published pieces to the counter. How closely do can freedom and regulation co-exist?
       —Dumi    Dec. 4 '05 - 11:16AM    #
  8. Wondering –
    Nobody works for ArborUpdate, white or otherwise. :) If only this were a gig that paid, either in money or resume or any perks whatsoever, I’d be a happy camper.
       —Murph.    Dec. 4 '05 - 12:14PM    #
  9. Don’t know if always am first commenter on my posts, but when I am, it is a habit from posting on Daily Kos, I suppose, where it is standard to do that. Not that Arbor Update has to be the same as Daily Kos…

    May be partially white, non-white, whatever. “Person of some color”? Heh!
       —David Boyle    Dec. 4 '05 - 12:46PM    #
  10. 1. Lauren Mayk, she’s white, was editor in chief in 1998.

    2. That’s a ridiculous question. People read the news for information and entertainment. That’s why there are different “sections” of the paper with different content. If the two had been in the same article you might have a case.
       —Rohde    Dec. 4 '05 - 05:39PM    #
  11. “Anal rape is entertainment”? Hmm?
       —David Boyle    Dec. 4 '05 - 05:51PM    #
  12. It seems like when the poster of a story here is the first to comment on his/her story, that’s the place they put their opinion rather than in the body of the story. This is a generalization, but it is a practice I like.
       —Dale    Dec. 4 '05 - 05:58PM    #
  13. Isn’t the blurb really making fun of rapists? I guess you could argue it trivializes rape by comparing psychology professionals to rapists, but compared to how the subject is treated in the media generally (including on many lefty blogs like Metafilter) this seems pretty non-boycott-worthy. Sort of along the lines of Woody Allen’s famous Commentary/Dissent/dysentery joke, which may not have been funny to anyone who knew someone who’d died of the disease.
       —ann arbor is overrated    Dec. 4 '05 - 08:05PM    #
  14. Y’all know that the “analrapist” joke is from an episode of Arrested Development, yes?

    Tobias: “Okay, Lindsay, are you forgetting that I was a professional twice over – an analyst and a therapist. The world’s first analrapist.”

    It’s really funny in the context of the show—especially if you know the character of Tobias.

    I think the Daily didn’t exactly use good judgement and I wonder why they randomly used this quote, but I don’t think they’re promoting anal rape.
       —Z    Dec. 4 '05 - 08:59PM    #
  15. Is AU jumping the shark?
       —Brandon    Dec. 4 '05 - 09:08PM    #
  16. The question is more whether the Daily has jumped the shark. AU isn’t the one insulting affirmative action, or treating sexual assault casually, as you know…

    “Arrested Development”, huh? Well, some TV show saying “analrapist” is bad enough, but an award-winning paper saying it…get ready, shark, the MD is ready for some jumpiiiiiiiiin’.

    Maybe we should bemoan the Daily’s “arrested moral development”.
       —David Boyle    Dec. 4 '05 - 09:22PM    #
  17. David: I think that this type of commentary is best saved for the comments, and not for the front page. I realize that some may stiffle guffaws when I advocate for decorum, but can you reign it in a little?
       —js    Dec. 4 '05 - 11:58PM    #
  18. Honestly, it’s people complaining about jokes like “analrapist” that have made television as fucking boring as it is. If people like you who have no sense of humor and worry about being so sensitive to every single person’s feelings had a greater say on programming, we’d be stuck with even more shit like “Two and a half Men” or “Joey.” Plus, the Arts section is the escape from the seriousness of the news page. It’s fucking college paper for god’s sake. let them have some fun along with the all the other kids watching “Arrested.”
       —p    Dec. 5 '05 - 12:19AM    #
  19. so if you all are satisfied with the “analrapist” story, what about the Daily’s other history of poor representation of marginalized communities? Seems like that one got side stepped in the most recent comments. Dumi
    p.s. Yeah, of some color David ;)
    p.p.s. yeah, if AU were to pay me per contribution… I’d probably owe money.
       —Dumi    Dec. 5 '05 - 12:57AM    #
  20. When the Daily reins it in (not “reign”), I shall think about reining it in. I think we should focus on the problem as even the Daily is (sort of) doing now, not blame the messenger.

    Re “analrapist”: I don’t care if the Daily’s a “college paper”. And there are other college papers here that can do the trashy stuff; as a prominent MSA member noted to me recently, the Daily has turned into the Every Three Weekly. Let’s see if that can be reversed!
       —David Boyle    Dec. 5 '05 - 01:22PM    #
  21. Oversensitive. Am I not supposed to laugh when “Sean Connery” reads the category “THERAPISTS” as “The Rapists” on SNL Celebrity Jeopardy? It’s a play on words, guys. There are an awful lot of jokes that might be offensive to someone, and I am not in favor of banning them all.

    Someone pointed out that the cartoon in question doesn’t match the Daily editors’ opinions. Since when do editorial cartoons have to agree with the editors’ opinions? We could just retitle the page PROPAGANDA.

    Regarding the choice of student staff on the Daily: My impression is that people are not exactly lining up to serve on college student newspapers in general. Maybe the Daily is different, and ethnic minorities are beating down the door to be editor and everything else.

    Now we get the NAACP talking about boycotting the Daily. yawn Everyone’s a racist lately, including EMU’s new president. Ever hear of the boy who cried wolf? Or would it be insensitive to use the word “boy” in a discussion about race-baiting?
       —Ben    Dec. 5 '05 - 01:50PM    #
  22. Language is key; so is its CONTEXT. If the CONTEXT is looked at properly and unemotionally, one would see that the Daily is NOT an advocate of rape (or maybe because I was one of the 100 U.S. tv viewers who watched that particular episode of “Arrested Development”). LadyPhoenix
       —Lady Phoenix    Dec. 5 '05 - 02:07PM    #
  23. “Jeopardy”, ironically, is exactly the name of the feature that the Daily got rid of because it was so trashy and offensive; if it’s creeping back in now by other means, that’s not right.

    —Not every cartoon need be pro-affirmative action; but listen to the frontpage Daily article today,

    “Daily editorial cartoonist Michelle Bien, who drew the controversial cartoon, said that she did not intend to offend anyone and that the cartoon was not a racist attack on blacks.

    ‘It was to show that there are still problems with affirmative action,” she said. “There was no attempt to single out black people.’

    Bien said she wanted to portray a variety of races in the cartoon but did not know how to draw certain other ethnic groups. She said children in the cartoon with dark faces were meant to represent many minority groups and not just blacks.”

    I could say a lot, but shall just say for now that this does not sound like the most competent cartoonist… There are no better cartoonists available?

    ...Maybe more minorities would be encouraged to apply, if the Daily had fewer cartoons like the one in question.

    —And bashing the NAACP is not very productive, maybe?
       —David Boyle    Dec. 5 '05 - 02:19PM    #
  24. I don’t see how the Daily has become the E3W. Ever since I’ve been here, at least, the arts pages have run sarcastic/caustic/semi-offensive blurbs and captions. If anything, the Daily is for the most part pretty stodgy compared with most professional papers.
       —Bryan    Dec. 5 '05 - 02:51PM    #
  25. The New York Times says stuff like “WE’RE THERAPISTS AND ANALYSTS. ANALRAPISTS, IF YOU WILL.” in its arts section?

    —By the way, I do not understand the commenters above who say that the Daily is not “promoting rape”. I never said it was “promoting” it, but making fun of it is bad enough, n’est-ce pas? If you don’t think so, try going up to a rape survivor and saying, “Ha ha you were raped, that’s a gas, whooooo you are so funny you rapee.” Good idea? Good idea? Maybe not.
       —David Boyle    Dec. 5 '05 - 03:02PM    #
  26. “Good idea? Good idea? Maybe not.”

    Exactly. We should all be taking lessons in what is and isn’t funny from the artist (http://d-bo.com/) who brought us “Rappenheit 9/11,” “The Rapping of the Christ” and everyone’s favorite, “George W. Pussy” (now available with video!).
       —rjwhite    Dec. 5 '05 - 03:45PM    #
  27. Fine with me. I am happy to attack the powerful, as opposed to attacking minorities and rape victims. Go ahead and take lessons, instead of making excuses for the Daily’s offenses.
    George W. has his own rape problem, of course, re Abu Ghraib etc., not to mention the secret prisons in Europe, and his own branding activities with a red-hot coat hanger at his Yale fraternity…

    What’s wrong with a rapping Jesus? If he can walk, he can probably rap too…
       —David Boyle    Dec. 5 '05 - 03:53PM    #
  28. Arbor Update update: just had a chance to look inside today’s Daily (as opposed to front page): the featured cartoon is Bien’s apology, starting, “For all those offended: I’m sorry for the misinterpretation of my art.”

    “O-kay…”—What, exactly, is the “misinterpretation”? As I said above, even if the original cartoon’s not as bad as “Birth of a Nation” with that film’s hordes of black people surrounding innocent white victims, the original cartoon still seems pretty unfriendly and blatant. I wonder what “”“misinterpretation”“” is really going on here, if any.
       —David Boyle    Dec. 5 '05 - 04:54PM    #
  29. FYI- The NAACP did not say they were going to boycott, read the article! I posted on the difference between the title and the article on my blog http://blackatmichigan.blogspot.com/2005/12/daily-boycott-jury-of-your-peers-nope.html . Oh yeah, I like Michelle Bien’s cartoon today which is roughly equivalent to someone saying “I’m sorry you were offended” as opposed to “I’m sorry I offended you.” And what exactly was her “real desire”?
       —Dumi    Dec. 5 '05 - 05:08PM    #
  30. Well, the Daily article says that the NAACP thought the cartoon was racist. That could be another misquotation like the boycott thing, but if true, I’d say that’s a misinterpretation. At worst, the cartoon is misleading (a dissenting one might show the white kid in a smaller class surrounded by the latest equipment and textbooks and with a private tutor to go to after school.)
       —ann arbor is overrated    Dec. 5 '05 - 05:25PM    #
  31. Even if not “racist”, it is at least very insensitive and inaccurate, or at least grossly underinformative. (E.g., cartoon could’ve given details re wealth disparities, as your “equipment/books/private tutor” suggestions recognize.)
       —David Boyle    Dec. 5 '05 - 05:32PM    #
  32. “The New York Times says stuff like “WE’RE THERAPISTS AND ANALYSTS. ANALRAPISTS, IF YOU WILL.” in its arts section?”

    No, they don’t, but they do endlessly praise “Arrested” for it’s cutting edge humor. Daily Arts shouldn’t even strive to be that pretentious paper; something like Rolling Stone seems more appropriate.
       —da    Dec. 5 '05 - 08:56PM    #
  33. Possibly. The Stone has some PC chops of course (from the ‘60’s “peace und love” heritage etc.), and, despite the trashy ads they now feature, I think they might not descend to actual anal rape jokes. Drug jokes a la Hunter S. Thompson (RIP), maybe, but not “analrapists”...
       —David Boyle    Dec. 5 '05 - 09:52PM    #
  34. http://www.arts.umich.edu/programs/special/cota/artists/30.html
       —John Q    Dec. 6 '05 - 02:00AM    #
  35. Thx!

    Under “Describe the discipline and commitment it takes to do your art form.”, Bien replies,

    “Often, people will have an idea but not carry it out. This is almost the same as having no idea at all. It takes a long time and careful planning to complete a work of art. Artists also have to expect criticism and be open enough to it to sort helpful criticism from that which you can ignore. One may call a dot on a canvas a finished work, but is it really finished? Did the artist complete her vision, or does she just not know how to complete it? This is something I often deal with when creating art – when a piece is incomplete or when it has been overworked.”

    I’ll say!!
       —David Boyle    Dec. 6 '05 - 12:38PM    #
  36. I feel like you should have better things to do with your time than analyze every word of the Daily. Page 4 is the opinion page; it’s a place where people are free to express their opinions. What if everyone boycotted about every little thing that offended them? Would it lead to an increase in censorship? The top of the paper says “One-hundred-fifteen years of editorial freedom”. Editorial freedom—what a concept. If you want to do something more productive with your time (and not just blog, boycott and bitch about how racist the Daily is), you should join the staff and “keep them in check”. =)
       —Get Over It    Dec. 6 '05 - 01:25PM    #
  37. Did anyone see this story on channel 4 yesterday?
       —kelly    Dec. 6 '05 - 01:36PM    #
  38. The Bien cartoon was on the news, Kelly? Wow. What was said? Thanks for telling us. I am curious to hear.

    —As for previous comment: I am not about to “get over it”; maybe I should stop complaining about Abu Ghraib until I have become a high-ranking staffer at the Department of Defense, huh?
    If the cartoon is so insignificant, why are people so riled? (And if the “analrapist” thing is so harmless, why have various people told me they found it offensive?)
       —David Boyle    Dec. 6 '05 - 01:54PM    #
  39. jason was on channel 4
       —jenny    Dec. 6 '05 - 03:41PM    #
  40. Wowee! Again, extra details will be appreciated! Thanks.
       —David Boyle    Dec. 6 '05 - 06:52PM    #
  41. I think,

    1. The opinion page provides space for people who are not the paper to voice their views. Publishing those views is not the same as agreeing with them, and, in fact, there’s a very good role for the paper to play in publishing views in order to allow discussion on them.

    2. The “publishing does not equal agreement” bit applies even to staff cartoonists / columnists. The editorial staff may offer a recurring gig to somebody they know they disagree with because they feel it is valuable for the free exchange of ideas. (I’m not saying this is the case here, necessarily. I’m just saying that even the fact that a cartoonist is on staff does not mean they represent the paper’s views.

    3. I respect a publication that provides some outlet for different viewpoints. (Note that we’ve never deleted even Blaine or the neo-Nazis’ comments – does that mean we agree with them? Hell no.) Especially if the publication proceeds to engage those viewpoints constructively.

    4. I think that the Daily’s printing of the follow-up cartoon submitted by a reader shows this in action – somebody took offense and responded in kind. The responding cartoon, I thought, was much better than Bien’s. (I don’t think that Bien’s cartoon is worth boycotting the Daily over. I do think Bien’s cartoon deserved – and got – a slapdown.)

    5. Part of the role of AU is to keep the Daily and the News and the Observer honest – it’s a “who watches the watchmen?” deal. (And if they critique us, well, the more the better!)

    6. Joining the staff of the Daily is the wrong step for watchdogging them. “want to change them? join them!” ignores the power dynamics within any given institution. Joining is asking to be co-opted (“see? even our critics think we’re a place worth being!”), not a way to fix it.

    7. The “analrapists” thing is totally ridiculous – on the Daily’s part, I mean. It contributes approximately zero to, well, anything. Maybe they mean for it to contribute to a sense that they’re hip and tuned-in to pop culture, but I don’t think anybody’s going to risk finding the Daily hip any more than they’d mistake me for hip. Nobody says the Daily has to be stuffy and staid and constantly uptight, but, yeah, that joke belongs in the E3W, not the Daily, unless it was originally made by somebody newsworthy, or in a manner of criticism.
       —Murph    Dec. 6 '05 - 08:24PM    #
  42. Thanks for extensive commentary!! ...I agree with all seven points, I think!
       —David Boyle    Dec. 6 '05 - 10:41PM    #
  43. Dang, forgot to post about Jason P.’s front-page Daily commentary today…

    It’s actually not that bad, on the whole, but

    “Instead of saying the cartoon should not have been run and complaining to the paper’s editors with vitriol, the individuals who were angry we ran the cartoon should see the cartoon as an opportunity for dialogue — an opportunity to poke holes in an opposing or disingenuous argument.

    I will cut any cartoon that advocates violence or that uses images that perpetuate racist stereotypes. I stand by my decision to run the cartoon in question, however, and I will not cut a cartoon in the future merely because its message offends some students who view it with the most cynical interpretation possible.”

    Glad he will cut the cartoons by crazed killers or whomever, but saying that the NAACP are “cynical” may not be especially nice, nor especially true…
    There are valid reasons not to run a cartoon besides censorship, e.g., because it is a really stupid or lazy cartoon… And yes, if it is “disingenuous”, maybe it shouldn’t be run either. Just a thought.
       —David Boyle    Dec. 7 '05 - 12:06AM    #
  44. Today’s Daily has some decent-looking things about their plans to increase diversity, but as of now, when I click the link they give to see the whole report, I don’t get the report, but

    “Central Services Login
    E-mail:
    Password:
    remember me
    Forgot Password?”

    , i.e., the Daily apparently didn’t do the link right. Ugh.
       —David Boyle    Dec. 7 '05 - 01:32PM    #
  45. That should be fixed. You can also find it under Resources from the main page.
       —Jason Pesick    Dec. 7 '05 - 04:32PM    #
  46. Thanks indeed it is up, and… “The Michigan Daily Multicultural Commission Recommendations to M-Desk, November 2005” sez, “The state that the Daily currently finds itself in is unacceptable to some significant and influential student groups, and it is in the best interest of the paper at large to make changes that will promote more accurate coverage and a more diverse staff.”
    Good! Ch-ch-changes!

    Some more particularly notable things are,

    1. “Internal Climate at The Michigan Daily …The culture of hard, sarcastic joking, especially in the Arts room, did crop up a number of times and served as a negative influence on newer writers. Many Arts staffers said they had become accustomed to the joking and “arrogance” and it no longer bothered them (or never did in the first place). Many Opinion staffers (Who share a room with Arts) said the “culture” of Arts conversations can be intimidating.”

    Now we know where the “analrapists” thing comes from! The Maynard Street posse of cray-z suburban Arts gangstaz! Hard-rollin’ mofays! “Fiddy” got nuthin on these little journalistic g’s!!!!

    2. “Multicultural Student Group Representative A …- Past Jeopardy papers have made fun of minorities, which in turn have made some people distrustful of the Daily”.

    Ya think? Next, the Daily will be running offensive cartoons about affirmative action or something!!

    3.”Multicultural Student Group Representative E …- Criticized the Daily for always fishing for debate when it might not exist – Leads to negative stereotyping and needlessly pits groups against each other”.

    So might there not really be an NAACP-planned boycott of the Daily, especially if the NAACP has not said they plan to boycott? Hmmm.

    Well, you can read the rest of the report yourself, of course. It is a start if nothing else.

    ...What I might not mind is a “Michigan Daily Sex & Gender Commission Recommendations to M-Desk, 2006”: “Hey, let’s not make rape jokes! Let’s stop running ads for “nude female video modeling opportunities’ in the Classified section! Let’s get a female Editor-in-Chief once in a while!”

    Now that’s the truth, Ruth.
       —David Boyle    Dec. 7 '05 - 07:42PM    #
  47. Still not over it, eh?
       —Get Over It    Dec. 8 '05 - 01:25AM    #
  48. While this thread will (probably) not go on forever, I was just responding to the lengthy report the Daily put out, that’s all.
       —David Boyle    Dec. 8 '05 - 12:48PM    #
  49. David, get a job.
       —davidsparents    Dec. 8 '05 - 01:52PM    #
  50. Ha you funny person. You Republicans always want the vocal people to “get a job”... (heh)

    In other news, today’s Daily has a cartoon where two Aberzombie-type young women, bell-bottoms skirt boots whatever, are saying “Those people are here only because of affirmative action!” and “Yeah, he should be in Detroit!” to a young African-American man in a doo-rag, who responds “I earned my way here, legacy bitches.”
    Despite my distaste for the word “bitches”, at least this cartoon attacks spoiled alumnae/i kid folks, rather than attacking blacks. And it is a funny response to the Bien cartoon. Go Fetid Chumbucket (drawn by Alexander Honkala)!
       —David Boyle    Dec. 8 '05 - 02:50PM    #
  51. Maybe I’m hyper sensitive but I feel as though the “legacy bitches” part still implies that without some type of special consideration (affirmative action or legacy or whatever) black students wouldn’t be at U of M. But hey like I said, maybe I’m just hyper sensitive.
       —David Betts    Dec. 8 '05 - 04:22PM    #
  52. It’s confirmed. I’m hyper sensitive. I just spoke with the artist (Alexander Honkala) and he confirmed that David Boyle interpreted it as it was intended to be interpreted. Sorry.
       —David Betts    Dec. 8 '05 - 04:34PM    #
  53. David Boyle:

    Though I’m sure the survivors of Abu Ghraib, the Holocaust, etc all appreciate your support, I’m not sure how those groups are connected to the point you’re trying to make here. If you think that the “analrapist” thing was inappropriate, then the unusually acute sensitivities of those who have actually been anally raped probably aren’t the best measuring stick for what is and what is not acceptable.

    Its a joke on the Arts page. Perhaps unfunny, but nothing you’ve said thus far would lead me to conclude that it was in poor taste.

    Your interest in the quality of the Daily, David, has always struck me as more than a little odd. Its an all-volunteer college newspaper staffed by kids who have no experience or training in professional journalism. It was my experience that we took just about every applicant that walked in the door – black or white. That shouldn’t mean that it gets a free pass. But comparisions to “Birth of a Nation” – even qualified comparisions – are wildly inappropriate.

    The cartoon doesn’t offend me. Neither did the “blurb.” But for such a sensitive guy, David, you’ve been remarkably insensitive towards Stephanie Bein – the 19-22 year old amateur cartoonist working for no pay who drew what she felt to be an honest cartoon. If you want to have a discussion about the economic/social/educational underpinnings of the cartoon? Fine.

    But attacking her as incompetent? Implying that she is a racist? How dare you.
       —Daniel Adams    Dec. 8 '05 - 06:13PM    #
  54. Thanks, but…

    Some people on campus probably have been anally raped, or just raped, period: maybe their sensitivities can be one factor to take into account.

    It’s Michelle Bien, not Stephanie Bein, I thought.—I am not calling her a racist, but her cartoon is susceptible to an interpretation of being, at least, highly insensitive. Ask the NAACP. (I am glad she’s made some effort at apology, of course.)
    As for competence, she said openly that there were some minority groups she did not know how to draw?

    “Birth of a Nation” is not the worst comparison, although of course the cartoon is not as bad as that hideous film. Still, some of the iconography and possible sentiment in the cartoon, do remind me of “Birth of a Nation” a little, if I may say.

    My interest in the quality of the Daily is good, I think; it can be a superb paper at times, and it is the student paper at “UM, the national citadel of affirmative action”. All this, added to my habit of trying to proofread all kinds of things (when I have the time, at least), has produced a fair volume of criticism on my part toward some Daily efforts—-but in the interest of bettering that paper, not destroying it!

    Anyway, thanks again for your input Dan!!
       —David Boyle    Dec. 8 '05 - 07:14PM    #
  55. I am getting some late word that certain people do not even like the Honkala cartoon either. Perhaps the young African-American man in a doo-rag saying “I earned my way here, legacy bitches” could be considered himself somewhat stereotypical. (Doo-rag, use of “bitches”, etc.)

    Still, it is perhaps not as bad as the Bien cartoon, since it is an implicit criticism of that cartoon; and the Honkala cartoon focuses on white (legacy/alum) privilege. And even Dave Chappelle says “I’m Rick James, b*tch!”, I suppose.

    Then again, maybe Dave Chappelle is not the best role model…
       —David Boyle    Dec. 8 '05 - 07:22PM    #
  56. Thank you Dan, the first voice of reason on this thread!
       —Get Over It    Dec. 8 '05 - 09:06PM    #
  57. David, I’ve often wondered, do you have a job? If so, what does it consist of? Where do you live and how do you fund your existence, as I almost constantly see you on campus at a computer, implying that your home internet access is limited?

    Beyond this, what the fuck does ” May be partially white, non-white, whatever. “Person of some color”? Heh!” even mean?!
       —Sam    Dec. 9 '05 - 10:15AM    #
  58. Dear Samuel,

    My job is spreading love and peace. John Lennon RIP.
    I live in Strawberry Fields and live off the strawberries. Unfortunately, they have no computer there, so I drop by UM.
    ”May be partially white, non-white, whatever. “Person of some color”? Heh!” means what it means. Peace, and lay off the medication for a while. (Or get back on it) No f-bombs please on Arb Update either, Charlie.
       —David Boyle    Dec. 9 '05 - 01:22PM    #
  59. Nice non-answer on all accounts. Sorry if the “f-bomb” offends you, your inane babble and lack of any type of contribution to the community (besides clamoring for OTHERS to act on various things) offends me. At least get yourself a sign like Blaine does, rather than just hanging out at every event being a scenester.
       —Sam    Dec. 9 '05 - 02:52PM    #
  60. I would have liked to think you were kidding when you made the following comment: “Would survivors of Hotel Rwanda, the Holocaust, or Abu Ghraib think anal rape is funny?”

    Of course, many people have already pointed out that the “analrapist” is a reference to an “Arrested Development” gag. Humor can be edgy and even uncomfortable, but that doesn’t mean that it is automatically bad. The Daily should probably be more careful about jokes that may be inflammatory, especially when it’s pulled out of context like this. Still, you can’t act like you’re not being a little thin-skinned about this.

    But do you want to know what’s really offensive? It’s your use of horrific tragedies like the Rwandan genocide and the Holocaust to support a poor argument about your own pet peeve. Those people did not die so that you can self-righteously invoke their memory to serve your own purposes.
       —Kurt    Dec. 9 '05 - 05:36PM    #
  61. Oh boy. Sharing the love. Jesus loves you too, I should probably say:

    1. Comparing me to Blaine is colorful, inane babbling but not wholly accurate, I’m afraid. “We all love Blaine” but he is a bit fixated on Palestine, whereas I spend time on various issues—-and yes, I have contributed time and money to them, not just “asked other people to do stuff” etc. (And how could I hang out at EVERY event? I miss plenty of them.)
    Where do you get your inaccurate info from, “Mr. Inane Babbling Scenester”? (ha ha, just some good humor there, don’t take it too seriously)
    And no more f-bombs, please. That kind of absurd and inane lack of articulateness gets on the nerves of decent and articulate people…
    By the way, who are you, Sam I Am? You say you see me around; have I ever met you?

    2. Kurt, your brilliant logical brain is quite correct that “Those people did not die so that you can self-righteously invoke their memory to serve your own purposes.” However, I did not SAY they did. In addition, it is in relatively poor taste not only to run the “analrapist” thing at all, but to run it on the same day that a story about Paul Rusesbagina from Hotel Rwanda is being run, n’est-ce pas? !!!
    Something to chew on.

    And no, I don’t think survivors of Hotel Rwanda, the Holocaust, or Abu Ghraib would think anal rape is funny, especially since it probably happened to a lot of them. Not pleasant, huh?
    As they say; if you think rape is funny, try being raped.—-I don’t think so.
    Peace, as John Lennon would wish you.
       —David Boyle    Dec. 9 '05 - 09:07PM    #
  62. When you connect genocide to a joke in a newspaper, you are invoking their memory to serve your own purpose. You don’t have to explicitly say you are doing so because it’s very evident. If you were talking about Rwanda to bring people’s attention to a different conflict, like Darfur for example, then there would be some kind of valid point for you to make. But you’re not. You’re invoking the horror of the systematic murder of a group of people as a way to make people feel bad for laughing at a joke that you personally think is tasteless.

    And no, the presence of an article about Rusesabagina does not make the joke any more or less tasteless because the two could not possibly be more mutually exclusive. If they had printed a comic mocking the Rwandan genocide in the same paper they announce Rusesabagina’s visit, THAT would be tasteless.

    Also, stating the obvious is not the same as making intelligent connections between things. Of course survivors and victims of genocide don’t think anal rape is funny. Nobody thinks anal rape is funny. Bunnies don’t think anal rape is funny, clowns don’t think anal rape is funny, I don’t think anal rape is funny, and anal rapists probably mostly don’t think anal rape is funny. No one has to “try being raped” to be opposed to rape, and it’s ridiculous how casually and innocently you say something so offensive. Believe it or not, people can disagree with you about humor without being cheerleaders for rape.

    Finally, I think it’s a bit disingenuous of you to say things like “Some people on campus probably have been anally raped . . . maybe their sensitivities can be one factor to take into account.” What’s at issue here is that YOU are offended. The factor you want taken into account is YOUR sensitivities, so just say so. You have a right to find the joke offensive, even if people like me think you’re overreacting.
       —Kurt    Dec. 9 '05 - 11:42PM    #
  63. I think it would be more inappropriate to make crude jokes while visiting the U.S. Holocaust museum than if one were at a comedy club, hm? Context, etc.

    “And no, the presence of an article about Rusesabagina does not make the joke any more or less tasteless because the two could not possibly be more mutually exclusive.” Really? You never heard about the mass rapes in Bosnia etc.?

    ”...it’s ridiculous how casually and innocently you say something so offensive.” Pot calling kettle…

    “Nobody thinks anal rape is funny.” ...then why was “analrapists” in the Daily?

    My sensitivities…I have spoken to various people who found the “analrapists” thing offensive. So, not just my sensitivities.
       —David Boyle    Dec. 10 '05 - 12:01AM    #
  64. Context is exactly what you’re missing. Making some kind of offensive joke at the Holocaust Museum would no doubt be more offensive because it is considered a special place deserving a respect. How exactly does a college newspaper compare?

    I have, in fact, heard of the mass rapes in Bosnia and various other places. I have also read your post which did not mention Bosnia or mass rape as a reason for why this was tasteless. If the speaker being touted in the newspaper was someone who was in some way connected with rape, whether personally or through some organization or through some mass action like Bosnia, you would have a much stronger point. As it is, genocide is not synonymous with mass rape.

    If you’re going to invoke the grade school “pot calling the kettle black” comment, at least tell me what you’re referring to.

    As far as this: ”“Nobody thinks anal rape is funny.” ...then why was “analrapists” in the Daily?” This is hopeless, because what you’re asking me to do is explain a joke that you find offensive and that you don’t understand. Put in proper context in the episode it came from, the joke was essentially that a guy was trying to sound very impressive but unwittingly created this obviously worrying “analrapist” title without realizing it. It was also pronounced more like “uh-NALL-ruh-pist” which made it a little more subtle. The Daily’s main lapse in judgment in this whole thing was simply in thinking that the joke was all that funny out of context.

    I never said that no one could possibly agree with you. I understand perfectly well why the joke would offend people. My point is that you aren’t complaining about it because other people find it offensive, you’re complaining about it because you find it offensive. The fact that some people agree with you doesn’t prove that you are automatically right and that anyone who disagrees is automatically wrong. It simply means that you’re not alone in your view of the situation.
       —Kurt    Dec. 10 '05 - 12:18AM    #
  65. Whateva.

    Peace out homie.
       —David Boyle    Dec. 10 '05 - 11:29PM    #