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The Scarlet & Black

Letter: Response to Writer’s Digress

First of all, thanks to Jim Malewitz, Editor-in-Chief of Writer’s Digress, for contacting us directly regarding our letter in the S&B last week. We really appreciate the openness of this back-and-forth and we value being part of a community that can respectfully engage in this kind of honest dialogue.

We received feedback that our initial letter left people curious as to the specifics of our grievances. We would like to take the opportunity to specify some of the comments with which we took issue, and allegedly “so grossly misconceived.”

We would like to begin by discussing some of our “misinterpretations” from the advice column on page 10. As a male with presumably some amount of privilege, “Koob$” was oppressive in his choice to make light of sexual assault, objectification of women, and women as inherently materialistic. While we can concede that the publication as a whole seeks to present a space in which one can be intentionally pejorative, the objectification of women as merely a collection of orifices as well as the graphic nature of “Koob$’” advice oversteps a boundary. When talking about fucking every hole, the joke is not that Koob$ is so misogynistic, but rather the idea of objectifying women in this manner becomes something to joke about. We don’t think it’s funny, and it makes us incredibly uncomfortable.

Looking to the article on Forrest Gump, we resent the assumptions presented about the sexuality of people with cognitive disabilities, as well the capabilities in general of people with mental disabilities. Additionally, we found the use of Jenny to draw a connection between drug use, “gold digging,” and deviant female sexuality to be extremely problematic. While we appreciate the chronological flaws pointed out by the author of this section, we do not recognize a necessary inclusion of this ableist and classist material.

We would also like to highlight the problematic tone of the jokes section. We appreciate the comedic effect of modeling this page after those of Reader’s Digest, but we are incredibly disappointed and unamused by this particular selection of jokes. In this one page section, Writer’s Digress makes light of learning disabilities, physical disabilities, and pedophilia.

We feel that it is about time that we agree to disagree. We recognize that we all have different ideas of what constitutes appropriate language use and effective satire, and while it is important that we be able to express our discomfort, we leave Writer’s Digress to make their own judgment calls. Thanks again to Writer’s Digress for participating in this healthy debate, and although this will end our hostile takeover of the Opinion section, we hope that the writers and editors of Writer’s Digress will make a concerted effort to self-evaluate in the future.

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