Post Classifieds

A column gone satirical

By Kelli Ponce
On February 14, 2012

Print media is intended to elicit the human mind to think, to make you uncomfortable so that you think about the perspectives of others. What a world it would be if we all talked, looked, and thought exactly the same way. What kind of world would we have? The Racquet recently published an article that created a bit of turmoil, some backlash and  angered some. But, I bet many thought or talked about it. We made you think, like the adult you have become or are about to become, as you embark on your life's adventure. So, here it is; the answer to the question you all have been feverishly anticipating only to refute behind your computer screens, but at least you have taken a position.

Let me begin by addressing some said issues. Give yourself a pat on the back. Thank you all for helping us reach our goal of generating discussions among the UW-La Crosse community about this column—unfortunately the energy was used negatively toward The Racquet. Lucky for you, I prefer dialogue over a fist fight...

As many of you may remember, friends and past colleagues of mine wrote articles about getting your girlfriend to watch sports, quite sexist if you ask me; but it was run regardless. And, was it accepted by the UW-L community? No, it was not. Newspapers were flying off the stands as student senators used their gavels with delicate pith to discuss the disposition of semicolons. We could use you in the newsroom, by the way. I'm talking about the era that launched the "Let's Boycott the Student Newspaper" campaign. To many, The Racquet was seen as a sexist, insulting, boring, dull and discouraging university newspaper. Students picked up the paper either because they worked for The Racquet or because we threatened to end our friendship with them. I wanted to change that; I wanted people to want to read the university newspaper.

We are the voice of the campus community, yet we account for less than one-fourth of that community. I wanted to provoke students to speak up about issues that enraged or excited them. Well, this article finally did it. I'm just saddened that the community hasn't understood the satire within the column and has turned their backs to such a useful source. As Sarah Wilcox said, "I am grossly offended by literally every single sentence in this article," or better yet, "The Racquet is an embarrassment to our university, in general," said Chris Degnan. These two comments are insignificant as compared to the aspersion received on our web site. "I have taken it upon myself to write a letter to Joe Gow," said Jon Terry. Thanks, Jon; however, I had already called Chancellor Gow who prefers not to get involved and prefers not to censor what the media covers. Perhaps students should refer to First Amendment Rights regarding freedom of speech and freedom of the press.

Despite the fact that these comments all explicate the passion and disarray amongst the student body, I am not bothered or angry with any single person. I knew a response similar to this would present itself, but the situation was taken to another level when blatant animosity was expressed entirely toward The Racquet as a whole. Even professors exhibited this unprofessional behavior, and I need not mention names as I am sure you know who you are! Paying disrespect to The Racquet editors during class lectures, well, I guess we made you think as well.

To answer your question Bailey Derks, no we weren't asleep—but we did take a nap after staying in the office until 2 a.m. and getting up at 8 a.m. the next morning to make the deadline. You don't know what happens behind the doors of our newsroom. This is probably because you have no idea where our office is located thanks to the sign, or lack thereof. We, your classmates, spend countless hours in a small room working on deadline just to bring you the happenings of the community. No, our office is not the one with the leather couches or broad windows. That office belongs to the senate.

As a student newspaper, The Racquet editors wanted to include something humorous that would reach a broader spectrum of students. If students or faculty have an opinion on this article, I highly encourage letters to the editor. Just as this article was written for students, by students, we would also publish the viewpoint of other students because we pride ourselves on making the student body inclusive and representative of all voices that want to be heard. Each article and column may be appealing to different students, and we understand that not everyone has the same viewpoint or opinion, but we are fortunate enough to be able to exercise our freedom of speech and freedom of the press. Oh, and if you are really expecting something to be done about this article, Nicolette Begeman, you should make it happen. I think your comment on our web site was five words more than our minimum requirement for LTE's, so you should not have any problems qualifying for publication.

I would like to thank the majority of those who commented for not being ashamed to voice how you felt through the web site. But, for those of you who were apprehensive about identifying yourself, I am disappointed. One anonymous comment said, "Ironically, the author of this article is the editor-in-chief herself, Kelli Ponce." Hey I'm-going-to-hope-my-computer-doesn't-reveal-my-identity, thanks for spelling my name correctly; most people think it's K-e-l-l-y. I am not the author of this "stereotypical, sexist and poorly written" article, as said by Nicolette Begeman. This anonymous idealist believes I am capable of such wit, which I can appreciate. The names of the columnists are irrelevant, but who knows, maybe next week we'll reveal a byline or two, you'll just have to keep reading. And, no, you didn't need to re-read that sentence; I said "names," as in plural--multiple, female columnists created this satirical snack for y'all surprise, surprise.

So, what purpose did this serve other than having an effect on the campus climate? I think one of our web site's anonymous comments explains it well. "It pokes fun at gender stereotypes by taking them to an extreme level with similar humor as the movie ‘Mean Girls,' which raises the issue of high school cliques in a humorous and satirical manner. If anything, it actually defends feminism because it is clear that the females on the UW-L campus are nothing like the stereotyped college girl." I'm fully aware that stereotypes exist. Hell, I'm a multicultural woman in a leadership position; you don't think I struggle with stereotypes on a daily basis?

The purpose of a newspaper is to create an atmosphere for people to think, to look at things from a different perspective. As students, we don't value or take advantage of what the student newspaper has to offer. The Racquet is a resource for students interested in community issues, events and viewpoints. A newspaper read by the entire campus community is an ideal opportunity for students to have an influence to revolutionize the social ignominy.     

We are at a point in our lives when people actually have an interest in what we have to say, as a collective generation. Soon, when we're all "supposed to be grown up", no one's going to give us the time of day; the newspaper plays a vital role in advocating students to voice different opinions. Perhaps you want to consider this the next time you get wind of a "Let's Boycott The Racquet" campaign!

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