Rutger's version of The Onion, The Medium, found itself embroiled in a little scandal today which I'm struggling to really give a crap about, because at a certain point your College Kid Offense Meter needs a power-down, you know? How many trees have been killed because of freshmen's outraged editorials? How much grass needs to be stomped from all the protests?
Anyway, much like The Onion chose to recently apologize for making a c-word joke, The Medium chose to pull an article that ran in this week's paper which disparaged the school's Alpha Chi Omega sorority. The story was a bunch of fat jokes.
And... the requisite apology, from The Medium's Facebook group:
On behalf of the entire staff of The Medium, we would like to apologize for an article that was published in this week’s paper regarding Alpha Chi Omega sorority. Since our paper is satirical in nature and no stranger to controversy, it is rare that we apologize for our content. However, it is the feeling of this editorial board that the article in question merits an apology. It was written in a cruel, debasing manner that does not reflect the values or goals of our organization. Our aim is to create humorous content which will entertain the University community; the article that ran this week was cruel and relied on cheap jokes in lieu of humor. By publishing the article, we made a poor judgment to experiment with a style of humor that had entertained our audience years ago. The reaction we received was humbling, and represented a community of readers that stood in solidarity for the sisters of Alpha Chi Omega. We are humbled by the response, and apologize to those offended and for any damage the piece might have caused.
The main issue here—yet again—is that the story in question wasn't that funny. (This is the case most times someone protests a comedian/comedy website.)
You're not joking when you simply call someone who's fat "fat." You're making an observation. Where The Medium got it wrong and where the Onion (usually) gets it right is that the Medium didn't add that extra level of absurdity the Onion does. The extra layer is crucial. That's how you make satire.
For instance... One of The Onion's stories today is essentially about how the Huffington Post has a tendancy to just regurgitate other news outlets' stories. But their satiric take doesn't have the headline "Copycat Huffington Post Calls It Quits After Ripping Off 1 Billionth Article" or something obvious of that nature. Instead they took that widely held notion about the Huffington Post, extended it to an absurd extreme, and came up with "Arianna Huffington Unveils New 'Huffington Man' Aggregated From 84 Different Humans." Viola, satire.
So everyone at Rutgers, just cool it. The Medium botched a joke. Satire is realllllly tough to pull off, and I gotta imagine it's even tougher to pull off when you're on a brutally PC college campus.
(Although I will say this: That "pussy, asshole, bellybutton" line made me laugh out loud.)