Talkin' satire and the spoof issue

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

April 4, 2007 Ed Cartoon

It has come to our attention that some of the Western community is disappointed or even furious with last Friday’s Spoof Issue. Debate is occurring on some campus message boards and a protest is supposedly happening Thursday in the University Community Centre atrium at 1:30 p.m.

Some of these students, who belong to campus minority groups, feel they were negatively portrayed or were outright attacked in the Spoof Issue. Our response? Get over yourself.

Ninety per cent of satire will offend somebody. For the most part, jokes inherently involve making fun of something. Indeed, there’s a time and place for jokes. We believe The Gazette Spoof Issue is one of them.

The only thing more absurd than the Spoof Issue itself is the notion it was some convoluted scheme to indoctrinate Western with our heterosexual, misogynist, homophobic, racist, zombie-hating ideology.

Were we homophobic when publishing a story documenting different students’ sexual orientations and the stigmas they face in the university environment (Feb. 14, 2007)? Were we racist when covering Black History Month (Feb. 9, 2007)? Did we impede religious freedom when reporting on Islam Awareness Day (Feb. 7, 2007)? Were we sexist when tackling female professors’ struggles to shatter the glass ceiling (March 8, 2007)?

As is often the case in this extremely PC era, there’s a knee-jerk reaction to the first sign of something “negative.” It doesn’t matter how out of context the supposedly detrimental pieces are from the paper’s mission; it’s easier to strike quickly while charged with emotion than to thoughtfully consider the circumstances. Who cares what The Gazette publishes in 99 of its issues " it’s the one that looks like it should be sold in grocery store checkout lines that really matters, right?

Of course, even if our work is entirely in jest, critics say, we’re promoting a negative message for Western to blindly gobble up. But please don’t insult our readers’ intelligence.

Our readers will notice, for example, that there were social commentaries or criticisms of Western culture beneath some of the barbs tossed on Friday’s pages. Conversely, they’re smart enough to realize that, in many cases, there’s simply no point besides the absolute absurdity of the situation (if the zombie gracing the front page didn’t tip you off, perhaps the swarm of bees exploding from former University Students’ Council presidential candidate Josh Safer’s mouth did).

We’ve yet to receive a single letter to the editor bashing Friday’s Spoof Issue. Maybe, as it’s been written on a message board, most Western students “have become so jaded in terms of both The Gazette and the administration’s lack of action that few students are willing to even come forward to speak up against this any longer.”

Or maybe it’s just that most of Western’s religions, women, homosexuals, babies, god-like dictators, cyclists, student politicians, police, librarians, help groups, administration, squirrels, geese and zombies know a joke when they see one.

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