As a graduate of the University of Virginia, it's been awfully fun watching the current student body show just how awesome they are. It's really great, for instance, to be known as the place where undergrads manufacture fraudulent accusations of gang rape that are then published in a national magazine before being shown to be totally false. That's pretty awesome. Additionally, it's great to know that the school is a hotbed of humorless scolds who don't understand the concept of satire and think that the proper response to something they don't like is to generate an outrage mob and demand people be fired.
Some background: At UVA, as at many schools, the student newspaper publishes a humorous satire issue on April First. April Fool's Day! Results are varied, of course, but it's all in good fun.
Not this year, though.
Oh no. Not this year.
This year, everyone decided to get super-duper butthurt over two of the satirical pieces. They felt ALL the feels.
For instance, the fact that the Cavalier Daily would run a satirical piece mocking a fraternity for throwing a "Rosa Parks Party" is horribly no good very bad outrageous. How dare they make fun of a minority! Oh, sure, they claim that they were making fun of a fraternity that threw a "Bombs Over Baghdad" party. Their "intentions" don't matter, though. And don't even get me started on their effort to mock the dickhead state ABC agents who tackled and bloodied an (underaged) student trying to get into a bar. Look, I don't think satire necessarily needs to "punch up," as the left does, but these two pieces were obviously, transparently, TOTALLY CLEARLY punching up: against a "racist" fraternity and an abhorrent state agency that virtually every kid on grounds, regardless of their race, hates.
But what the Cavalier Daily didn't take into account was the fact that today's students simply don't understand how satire works or whom it is targeted against. So there was much semi-literate angst on social media:
Keep it classy @cavalierdaily…..smh guess when the camera go off the fake sadness and outrage does too…your disgusting…
— Bae Van Exel (@RLJ1738) April 1, 2015
.@cavalierdaily Hahaha, genocide and the dispossession of an entire culture of people! LOLZ! Hahaha, violence against people of color! LOLZ!
— Jocelyn Sears (@MsSnarkist) April 1, 2015
When I first read the Cav Daily‘s apology—which I saw before I had heard about the social media mob that had been rounded up—I hoped it was actually a parody. It sure read like a rather humorous indictment of stupid people getting outraged about something they didn't understand!
We are embarrassed that our empathy for these immensely serious issues was undermined by this piece. We had no intentions of victimizing another underrepresented community in the process.
We also apologize for the article satirizing themed fraternity parties. Our intention was not to perpetuate stereotypes, but to highlight the offensive nature of these themed parties in the past. Again, our readers were hurt by this piece, and that makes its publication inexcusable.
But no. It's not satire. Hurting the feelings of easily offended people who don't grok satire is, in fact, something that they consider to be inexcusable.
There are now calls on Twitter and elsewhere for the managing board of the Cavalier Daily to resign for daring to run pieces of satire that some people didn't like. Honestly, they probably should. If they can't stand up to a few agitated folks who are feeling all the feels, they have no business being journalists.