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The Observer apologizes for anti-gay cartoon

The Observer, an independent college paper serving the Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s campuses has issued an apology for allowing an anti-gay cartoon run in their Wednesday’s paper. The three panel cartoon depicts two charcters in conversation saying, “What is the easiest way to turn a fruit into a vegetable?” “No idea.” “A baseball bat.”

The editors of The Observer would like to publicly apologize for the publication of “The Mobile Party” in the Jan. 13 edition. The burden of responsibility ultimately lies on us for allowing it to go to print.

There is no excuse that can be given and nothing that can be said to reverse the damage that has already been done by this egregious error in judgment.

The Observer, though an independent newspaper, is representative of the community of the University of Notre Dame and the values it so cherishes: family, understanding, service, respect and love.

Allowing this cruel and hateful comic a place on our pages disgraced those values and severely hurt members of our Notre Dame family – our classmates, our friends. For this, we sincerely apologize.

Community Comments

#1 Charles Brubaker
January/15/2010
@ 10:05 am

Knowing that GLBT people in real life does risk being hurt/killed due to a hate crime…yeah, I can see why they wern’t particularly fond of that cartoon.

#2 Beth Cravens
January/15/2010
@ 10:20 am

So why did they let it go to print? Did the editors even see the cartoon before it went? I can’t believe it took 3 people to draw that piece of crap.

#3 Tom Wood
January/15/2010
@ 10:34 am

I wonder if these controversy events are orchestrated on purpose to generate publicity.

#4 Stephen Beals
January/15/2010
@ 11:17 am

That would’ve been offensive and dumb to me when I was seven years old. The only reason to give it any attention at all is to have something obvious to point at when discussing the reality of hate crimes.

#5 Scott Metzger
January/15/2010
@ 11:23 am

Aside from being offensive and stupid, that gag is soooo plagiarized from a 1982 copy of Truly Tasteless Jokes. It just reeks of it.

#6 Ted Rall
January/15/2010
@ 11:24 am

It took three people to draw that?

#7 Stephen Beals
January/15/2010
@ 11:26 am

Yes! Truly Tasteless Jokes. Seventh Grade. Andrew Scheid. He would never shut up with those. I honestly hated the joke back then. Or Andrew. Probably both.

#8 Tom Wood
January/15/2010
@ 11:45 am

The fact that three (and probably more) people are involved makes me think it’s an intentional setup for some publicity. The plan gets cooked up during a late night beerfest, everybody gets their name on it, and they all have plausible deniability.

#9 Jules Rivera
January/15/2010
@ 12:03 pm

Wow, a badly drawn joke ripped off from a book from 1982 and all ear marks of a publicity stunt? Way to go, prestigious college paper. Way to go.

#10 August J. Pollak
January/15/2010
@ 12:51 pm

I have to say, I hate it when people start suggesting every gesture of total incompetence by someone is a “publicity stunt.” That gives far more credit to these guys than they ever deserve.

Some crappy cartoonists did a crappy job making a crappy strip, and an even crappier editor did an even crappier job in monitoring what goes into his or her own paper. “Publicity stunt” implies creativity and insight, of which none of the people involved here deserve assumption of. It’s like a security guard sleeping on the job claiming it’s a “publicity stunt” that someone walked in and robbed a bank.

Stop saying everything’s a publicity stunt. Occam’s Razor exists in a world populated by idiots.

#11 Dave Stephens
January/15/2010
@ 2:08 pm

How Notably Lame that Ol’ Notre Dame
Presented a profane and hateful cartoon
Offered as humor but actually cruder
Than fart noises made with a half-wet balloon…

#12 Eric Millikin
January/15/2010
@ 3:41 pm

RE: Plagiarism

Do a google search for: “turn a fruit into a vegetable” -notre

You’ll get ten pages full of AIDS and Siegfried and Roy jokes, none of which have to do with this comic.

Also, read the paper’s apology completely. They seem to think joking about beating a gay dude into a vegetative state with a baseball bat is roughly equivalent to the same “language of hate” as Harry Reid saying Obama has light skin.

#13 Steve Skelton
January/15/2010
@ 4:24 pm

Google “Matthew Shepard” while you are at it.

#14 Paul Fell
January/15/2010
@ 4:41 pm

Do you suppose the three authors of that crappy cartoon are Notre Dame students? If they are, their parents are idiots to be paying that outrageous tuition if that’s the best those boobs could come up with. And to think it took THREE of them to produce this lame effort.

#15 Garey Mckee
January/15/2010
@ 4:55 pm

Well Paul, there’s one to hold the pen still. One to move the paper around. The last one to umm hmmmm…I don’t know, take the crappy picture of the newspaper?

#16 Michael Kandalaft
January/15/2010
@ 5:44 pm

I am appalled by this disgusting show of intolerance, disrespect, and utter ignorance. It is a tragedy that such bigotry still exists. Slandering, making fun, or suggesting violence regarding anyone who may be somehow different simply reveals what inferior, empty excuses for human beings they themselves really are. I am surprised that expulsion has not been warranted. mk

#17 Jamie Smith
January/15/2010
@ 10:47 pm

The backlash is ironic given the source: when no lesser authority than the Pope himself has already set the bar repeatedly warning about the evil threat homosexuals pose to mankind â?? probably interpreted as if not marching orders then at least tacit institutional encouragement of this sort of bigotry.
Maybe the next classic Mobile Party strip will be â??How do you stop a Catholic priest from molesting?â? â?¦ though I doubt the Observer would ever stoop so low as to pick on religion.
Meanwhile, the cartoonists have issued an apology, claiming it was a misinterpretation of how they were in fact parodying the prevalent mindset of intolerance of gays on campus, as in the character in question was depicted as a literal tool.
Fail.

#18 Mike Peterson
January/16/2010
@ 6:45 pm

Now, if it had been offensive to Muslims, it would have been a bold stroke for free expression …

#19 David Stroup
January/17/2010
@ 12:23 am

I’ve seen controversies like this over student-drawn comics before (well, the last time it was a high school paper, and these geniuses aren’t just in college they’re in — never mind). This may well have been a case of Sarcasm Fail, if you will. i.e., “let’s make a bold and shocking anti-homophobia statement by depicting people who say homophobic things as drunken slobs/tools.” That was the case at the high school paper — the young cartoonist honestly thought he was making a probing political statement by depicting a slovenly, beer-swilling, obviously offensive “minuteman” saying racist things about undocumented immigrants.

Or, maybe, these guys were just jerks. I can see that someone at that age might read one or two Red Meat or Maakies strips and think they they can be “edgy” and “alternative” by showing their characters saying something offensive. “Look at me, I’m drawing underground comix!”

#20 Stephen Beals
January/17/2010
@ 2:07 am

That’s an interesting observation, David. It does look like Sarcasm Fail now that I’ve taken a moment to study the, uh, artwork.

I think you would have to be a Jedi Master of sarcasm to pull that one off, but since college gave me my fill of sarcasm for at least ten years I going to try and think that’s what they were going for.

#21 Joe Rank
January/18/2010
@ 6:36 pm

The “character” making the offensive joke is an “old saw”.

Yeah, Sarcasm Failure.

#22 Senka
January/18/2010
@ 8:09 pm

David,

I think you might have a good point. I ran into a similar thing with my college strip. It wasn’t anywhere near this controversial (or stupid), but most readers did think the point of the strip was the opposite of its intention.

#23 Bryan Senka
January/18/2010
@ 8:11 pm

^^Sorry, forgot to post my first name. ^^

#24 Dave Brousseau
January/18/2010
@ 11:29 pm

According to a blog by the cartoonists, the original punchline was “AIDS,” but the paper preferred “not to make light of fatal diseases.” (The blog post has since been removed.) Which means someone actually thought about this before allowing such hateful, homophobic and violent language to be published.

The cartoonists are entitled to whatever opinions they have (even if their opinion is only that this would make a good publicity stunt, although I suspect it goes deeper than that), but the editors should be fired.

#25 Dave Brousseau
January/18/2010
@ 11:33 pm

And I’m glad to see others pointing out that it took three people to produce this crap. It reminds me of “Sawdust,” a strip-within-the-strip in “Dick Tracy.” It was nothing more than a few panels, each with several dots and a word balloon or two, and it was signed by five guys.

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