Friday, November 19, 2004

Jesus, Wednesday night sucked. Printer problems. Too little content: this week it was caused by my not being organized (as always) and by an important article being given away to another section that needed it more. And there were controversies. An editorial which almost but not quite everyone recognized as satire at first glance. (More about that later.) And a comic strip which was making fun of people with anorexia (or was it bulimia?) which didn't get run--and the "censorship" of that pissed Ben off so much that he resigned as editor. We finally got out of there around 8:20 a.m. And just to add that special something, I decided to work on a couple assignments between then and class, so I skipped sleeping. Naturally, I was in bed by 6:30 Thursday night, and even that was pushing it.

Today's gone pretty well, though. I did 2.34 miles in 25 minutes on a treadmill at the gym. I know compared to some people it's not great, but I think that's the best I've done since January. I watched some TV, went to class and walked to the comic book store and CVS. Then not long after I got back from that, Eric knocked on my door (pounded as if he was trying to wake up Kenny) and invited me to go bowling with him, Katye, Katrina, Mike, Pam, Lindsay, and Shelley. So I said yes, it sounded like fun. I started off strong but got progressively worse. But oh well, who cares - I only really get competitive around my family, for some strange reason.

After that we went to Jay's Diner for dinner. Good stuff.

Ben Heaton wrote an Editorial Observer. On its surface it was complaining about interracial marriage, but it was meant to be a clear satire of the arguments against gay marriage. How? I mean, after all, it's never explicitly stated, right? Well, I'm looking at it now, and here are some reasons:
  1. The title "Marriage debate not new one" ties it into the marriage debate going on right now in this country.
  2. The first two paragraphs (all right, except for the last six words of them) never say a word about interracial marriage. But they are framed in the language of the contemporary debate: using the phrases "activist judges" and "religious and cultural values," referring to a constitutional amendment, and even taking an example from a TV show of this century. I did exactly the same thing in my editorial a few weeks ago - talked about something in vague but leading terms before (in Ben's case, supposedly) switching to the opposite topic.
  3. Of the six premises Ben presents "for" an amendment banning interracial marriage, five of them are taken directly from the gay marriage debate and have little or nothing to do with the decades-old interracial marriage debate. The best of these, because it's so completely ridiculous that you'd have to be fucking batshit crazy to actually believe in it, is the nature comparison: "Biologically speaking, interracial coupling is unnatural. It does not occur in other species - you will never see a black Labrador and a German shepherd having sex, for instance." But even besides that one, his article is almost entirely a bunch of gay marriage criticisms word for word with the word "gay" replaced with "interracial."
  4. It refers positively to Plessy vs. Ferguson, which is famous for being one of the handful of Supreme Court cases that have now been repudiated.
  5. You know that joke, "God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve?" It's more casual and flip than many, but it's just one reason out of hundreds given for why homosexuality is wrong and/or unnatural. I've heard or seen it dozens of times, and I'll bet most Americans have seen it at least once. Well, the last line of Ben's editorial is, "God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and some black woman."
  6. How the bloody fuck could anyone imagine that Ben Heaton, only published before now for making fun of a rich authority figure, in 2004, at the University of Rochester, would write anything at all actually opposed to interracial marriage?
And yet despite all that, I've heard two groups talking about it just randomly, around campus, as I was sitting in CLARC. (Which I think is a first for a CT article.) And both groups were convinced he really was attacking interracial marriage until I corrected them. I realize two is a small sample, but since Chad's e-mail saying we'd have to talk about it at the weekly meeting, I feel that's a conclusion we can jump to.

I don't know a lot about H.L. Mencken (apparently he was some kind of elitist/racist?), but he was an author so cynical that he made me look like Smoochy the Rhino. A quote of his comes to mind: "No one in this world, so far as I know...has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people." All of us except for Michael He were sure that people would get the message, but it seems that Michael was right. Well, next time I'll be sure to give people less credit for intelligence.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Oh Smoochy, how I love thee.

We were once told that the CT was to be written for sixth graders. While I disagree with the logic, the reasoning holds true in this case. The campus isn't used to seeing satire in the CT and so when it is presented, they don't see it. Attempts at satire magazines at UR continuously fall flat. And, as much as I even sometimes doubt it, the CT does have a reputation as being a reliable news source of some form. Meaning, people automatically take what is written seriously.

Personally, I think its a beautiful piece of satire... people just aren't used to seeing a sophisticated writing device used in the opinion section.