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A column gone satirical

Editor in Chief

Published: Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, February 15, 2012 12:02

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.

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Sun Feb 26 2012 15:37
How cute. You kids posting anonymous comments about a meaningless story think you're making a difference. Worried about your school's reputation because of this story? No one cares except you. Keep up the dead squirrel throwing btw, and all the other drunken shenanigans we in the Cities hear about regularly. It's sure nice to have a student newspaper to blame for the bad reputation your drunken behaviors earns your school.
Wed Feb 22 2012 16:15
Satire: the use of irony, sarcasm, ridicule, or the like, in exposing, denouncing, or deriding vice, folly, etc.

Now that the world knows the definition of what should be a part of everyday vocabulary I feel that I can continue. It's without much argument that this article should not have been put into print. However, to then classify the Racquet as a "joke" or "tabloid trash" is turning the satirical humor right back around on the student body themselves. Let's go back in history a bit, shall we? The Pentagon Papers, an allusive array of documents surrounding the Vietnam war that found their way onto the front pages of the New York Times. Supposedly confidential documents were plastered on the front page for anyone to read. Needless to say there was an uproar in the Johnson administration. Just last week, ESPN published on their website a headline that alluded to a racial slur referring to Jeremy Lin: "Chink in the armor." With realizing that this could be seen as a ridiculing remark towards Lin's Asian American culture, the writer was fired, and there was an uproar throughout society. This is what media does. They cause controversy and commotion throughout the masses. Sometimes this is put forth intentionally and sometimes not. Whatever the reason for the Racquet publishing this article it was a decision that they made as a team and published. If they had foreseen the impact it would have had on the campus community I'm more than positive that they would have refrained from publishing. But, mistakes happen. Let's all cut them some slack. We are all a part of this campus and should be fighting for each other not against one another.

Mon Feb 20 2012 15:06
Please keep writing articles like this. Rarely does anything happen in La Crosse or on the UWL campus that is remotely interesting. I'd rather laugh than read about leading candidates for the Provost position or terrible relationship advice.
Mon Feb 20 2012 15:03
Please keep writing articles like this. Rarely does anything happen in La Crosse or on the UWL campus that is remotely interesting. I'd rather laugh than read about leading candidates for the Provost position or terrible relationship advice.
Fri Feb 17 2012 17:46
"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." ....No one cares how you feel Kelli Ponce. I don't think anyone was afraid of bothering you or making you angry with their comments. But thank goodness you aren't.
Rik M.
Fri Feb 17 2012 13:25
The Reader is always wrong.
Thu Feb 16 2012 22:31
When I initially read the article that has caused all of this uproar, it was obvious it was satire and frankly, some of it was rather amusing. It generated discussion. There is absolutely no doubt about that. However, as stated in this response, the reaction was less than advantageous for the Racquet. Maybe it should have been an indication that satire such as this is better printed in newspapers such as The Onion, but not in a publication meant to represent a student body.

This school wants a quality newspaper, one that does make them think as you said, but not about drunk girls dancing on tables or the superbowl. The students of this school are underestimated by the Racquet staff if they believe this is the type of tabloid trash we want to read. Controversy may cause readership at times, but it's when the media is revealing an injustice or taking a stand against something, not publishing lightly discernible spoof.

People also have a right to voice their reaction to this article, no matter how misunderstood the intentions behind it were, and naming people that commented on it is not just derisive and tacky, but malicious and borderline libel. It may be doubtful the objective of the editor's article was to patronize the Racquet's principal audience, but it is certainly going to be the result.

Thu Feb 16 2012 21:32
Well, satire is a fine goal and is very attainable and when used correctly is quite humorous. Come on now can we at least say that satire works on TV better? when your writing something you can't see inflection, and it's pretty darn hard to tell inflection when reading things, id say just deliver on news, don't try and push past that, you guys arn't about entertaining, your just providing information. Nothing more nothing less.
Thu Feb 16 2012 16:02
First, if you guys are so proud of this article, why don't you put your names on it? This article also shows that the editor in chief is abusing her power. You would think that after so many students felt offended by this column, she would listen to her readers and make a change. But no, she uses her "power" to instead mock those who exercised their first amendment rights. She keeps talking about people being "professional". I guess she has a different definition of professional than the rest of us. She just proved, once again, that she doesn't deserve the respect of anyone on this campus. It's also a joke that she now claims that this article was meant to provoke thought among readers. Seeing that it's election year, I would feel that maybe covering an issue like that would provoke more intelligent thought among readers than a column that is basically a conversation that one would see while watching Jersey Shore. I think another fact that she is unaware of is that The Racquet is FREE. Do you really think you would have any readers if you charged any amount of money for it? No. Because it's a joke of a newspaper.
Wed Feb 15 2012 22:13
I am in complete shock that the editor and "multicultural woman in a leadership position" would respond to the student body in this way. You elitists might be upset that your readers did not enjoy your column; however, this is absolutely unprofessional and disrespectful. Employees of The Racquet should never speak to their readers in this manner. Instead of trying to improve the situation, you fire a hateful message to your readers. Do not talk about First Amendment rights. Each and every response to your column was a practice of freedom of speech, so this is hypocritical.
Richard C.
Wed Feb 15 2012 19:42
You make some good points, but getting defensive and bitter adds little to the professionalism you seem to want others to practice. Just because it was intended as satire does not discredit some of the claims made against it.Whether you feel it is warranted or not, the article offended some on this campus and writing this flippant response is poor form in replying to those concerns (though it is better than a double drop on the back page).

Students and faculty view this publication the way they do because it is the reputation The Racquet has earned in the last few years. Yes the staff works hard for little praise, but what have they done to earn praise? This paper regularly goes out with spelling a nd grammar mistakes, misleading headlines,and just plain wrong info. There needs to be a certain amount of accountability present and frankly those who run The Racquet should be held accountable for the shoddy product that often (not always) gets distributed to the student body.

Wed Feb 15 2012 17:37
This article is brilliant. Keep doin' what you're doing editors.

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