Controversial Comics at UConn

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Students at the University of Connecticut are really angry about two comic strips that appeared in the school paper recently. According to an article in the Hartford Courant:

The “Victory Lap” cartoon done by Zack Wussow carried the message, “Forget sugar and spice and everything nice. Try crabs, scabs and everything viral. That’s what girls are really made of.”

The other comic, titled, “Milksteak and Jellybeans,” and done by Alex Dellin, showed a male tossing a diamond ring into a bedroom, while a girl, tongue hanging out, chases after it. The cartoon implied that the diamond ring — or maybe the promise of marriage — had persuaded the girl to have sex.

Many students, predictably, were disgusted. One student wrote that: “Your writers’ flagrant disrespect of women and approval of the rape culture that we live in has given me reasonable belief to discredit your entire operation.”

Eh, yup. You’re right. That’s totally offensive. UConn student John Kennedy, the editor-in-chief of the campus paper, The Daily Campus, responded to students:

Both comics were intended as satire, though they failed in that regard. If a work intended for satire upholds what it meant to subvert, it has failed as satire. Clearly, both comics did just that.

It’s within the First Amendment rights of the authors of the comics to publish whatever they please. The comics section is part of the opinion section of our newspaper, so it doesn’t represent the newspaper’s feelings as a whole.

That really isn’t an apology at all. It’s somewhat obviously within the First Amendment rights of Wussow and Dellin to create whatever comics they what. It is likewise entirely within the First Amendment rights of Kennedy to refuse to publish comics he deems inappropriate.

But apparently the paper aims to fix something. The Daily Campus staff will soon be attending “a workshop about violence against women and how to prevent it.”

This solution is ridiculous. The problem isn’t that Daily Campus staff—which presumably includes several women—are violent or even indifferent to violence against women; the trouble is that they have bad taste and publish comics that aren’t funny. [Image via]

UPDATE: Gawker has one of the comic strips here.

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer