Did satire go too far this time?
Editorial | Even?The Medium deserves the right to free speech
Tsk, tsk, tsk. You dropped the ball on this one, Medium.
The University’s supposedly hardcore, give-no-shits satirical paper did the journalistic unthinkable yesterday and issued a public apology for an article that seems to have offended the greek community on campus.
Many copies of the offensive newspaper issue mysteriously vanished from student centers and buildings, and The Medium took down the article from their website. But don’t worry — we got a great screenshot of it first.
The article, titled “Alpha Chi Omega to Shut Down; ‘We don’t want to be like you ugly bitches’ Potential Pledges say” insensitively covered the sorority’s oncoming closure, depicting it as an animal farm with a “pledge class consist[ing] of a measly three wildebeests and an elephant.” The article also goes on to describe the sorority sisters as fat, ugly and animal-like.
In one reported quote, The Medium even depicted a pledge from a Latin sorority as speaking in a stereotypically trashy way.
There is no doubt about it — the article was incredibly distasteful, derogatory and sexist. It was published on the same day as The Daily Targum’s front-page story of a University alumna dealing with her daughter’s bulimia-related death. It was also published during National Eating Disorders Week, which is meant to draw awareness to a sensitive issue in our body-obsessed and image-centric society. Some of us may have been pissed when we first read The Medium article, but we all became pissed when we watched how The Medium dealt with the controversy.
Sure, the article was false journalistic trash, but how is that different from any other article that The Medium has ever written? It’s a satirical newspaper — that’s what it’s supposed to do. Offend people. And if it is going to decide to apologize for offending this one particular group of people, then it should plan to apologize for every other organization and individual that the publication has publicly humiliated.
This comes on the heels of The Onion — seemingly The Medium’s role model — publicly apologizing for a tweet it made that called 9-year-old actress Quvenzhané Wallis a “cunt.” Amid the controversy, they buckled and deleted the offensive statement. On Feb. 26 we published a commentary from our former news editor that called on people to “take a joke,” and suggested that the reactions to the tweet got out of hand.
Interestingly enough, on their Facebook page, The Medium commended our publication on the opinion and even “appreciate[d] the gratuitous use of the ‘c-word’ in any form of print media.” Yet for a publication that so fervently advocates for a liberal exercise of the right to freedom of speech, The Medium hypocritically ate its words just because they offended the greek community.
We couldn’t think of another time that we’ve seen our fraternities and sororities so fervently unite and get up in arms over an issue like this before. It seems to have come more with the intent of proudly defending fellow greeks rather than for condemning the inexcusable sexism portrayed in the satirical newspaper. And, why isn’t anyone getting angry about the clearly racist portrayal of another sorority that was mentioned in the article?
Members of the greek community are not superior to anyone in our University by default. The Medium is meant to indiscriminately offend — trust us, we’ve borne the brunt of it. If one of us has to take it, we all have to take it. No one is supposed to get special treatment, and The Medium totally punked out under the slightest pressure of intimidation. Frankly, we’re disappointed.
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