January 15, 2010
What in the hell is going on in South Bend. I thought it was barryland. This is on the level of the NY cops and the dead chimp but it won’t get near the scrutiny. Most alarming – the people responsible for this are college seniors a couple of months away from graduating who grew up when HIV/AIDS was not limited to male “fruits”.
The independent student newspaper at Notre Dame The Observer published this “comic strip” in their Wednesday edition. I don’t know the storyline of the sawman character or what the bottles are in their hands.
Meaning of the characters:
We tried to address it in our comics — using the tool characters to emphasize a mindset that we simply find ridiculous. In our last comic, we had the human character, our voice of reason, not understand the joke because of its absurd nature. Reasons however, are not excuses.
Maybe they should re-think the use of “tool” characters.
Jan 13 “The Mobile Party”
COLIN HOFMAN, JAY WADE, LAUREN ROSEMEYER
What’s the easiest way to turn a fruit into a vegetable?
A baseball bat.
But it doesn’t end there. “Baseball bat” wasn’t the original third panel comment – “AIDS” was. Seems that was distasteful so they replaced it with “baseball bat” making it an active crime of hate rather than a stigmatized incurable disease the “fruit” is responsible for himself.
What’s the chance this is even going to be a blip on the national media screen?
This type of advocacy of anti-LGBT violence must stop. It isn’t funny. What’s more, it promotes hate crimes, which are all too prevalent in society today.
The cartoonist had posted on his blog – though it’s since been removed – his original version of the cartoon. In the original version, it shows that the punchline read, “AIDS” instead of “A baseball bat.” The paper, he reported, preferred “not to make light of fatal diseases.”
The Observer made a dangerously misguided decision that promoting violence was somehow superior to making fun of HIV/AIDS. Both versions of the cartoon were abhorrent.
GLAAD contacted The Observer immediately upon seeing this cartoon. The Editor in Chief Jenn Metz relayed a tearful and what appeared to be heartfelt apology by phone. She explained that she was not present when the decision to run this cartoon was made, and that she was incredibly upset that others on staff had made that decision.
Metz plans to run what she describes as a “full retraction and apology,” in Friday’s edition of The Observer. GLAAD will watch for that retraction and apology. Additionally, GLAAD asked Metz to ensure that the staff responsible for running this cartoon – both the cartoonist and editor who decided it was fit for print – be reprimanded.
GLAAD has also reached out to the office of the President of Notre Dame University, and called upon that office to issue a statement condemning violence and this cartoon that promotes violence. We await response from the University on how they plan to address this type of violent dialogue from continuing to be advanced on campus.