Tucson made national headlines again last week—and once again, it wasn't for a great reason.
In case you missed it, the Arizona Daily Wildcat ran a more-than-slightly homophobic comic last week, causing an uproar that hasn't been seen since the Wildcat ran a syndicated comic that referred to Barack Obama as a "nigger" immediately following his election in 2008.
University of Arizona student D.C. Parsons' joke in his comic, "etc." last week made reference to a man telling his young son that if he ever came out as gay, he'd shoot the boy, roll the body into a carpet, and fling it into the river. In the next panel, the son called the act a "fruit roll-up," and the last panel showed the pair laughing over the joke. (You can read more in this week's Media Watch.)
It was dumb; it was offensive; and worse than that, it just wasn't funny. Calling it a misguided attempt at satire would be a bit too kind.
The outrage has been palpable, with a number of people calling for Parsons to be fired, which he was; and for Wildcat editor-in-chief Kristina Bui to resign, which she hasn't. And she shouldn't.
I get the outrage. She screwed up, and she's acknowledged as such. But the Internet's culture of stirring up uninhibited rage over a mistake made by what is, at best, a semi-professional news outlet is, at the very least, tiring.
As Tucson Weekly editor Jimmy Boegle put it, the Wildcat is a tool for students to learn the ins and outs of what may be their future profession. Thankfully, the Wildcat appears to have a person who recognizes that at its helm.
In Bui's published take on the matter, she wrote that "the mistake of printing the comic strip belongs to me, and it will continue to be something I regret—but I cannot take it back. What I can do is learn from it, and hope other Daily Wildcat editors learn from it, too. Inhibiting free speech detracts from that learning experience."
Well said, Kristina. Good luck.
On The Range, we watched as a man fell from space; asked ourselves whether or not Arizona is a swing state; noted the wackiness of Vernon Parker's anti-Kyrsten Sinema ad; got excited about Tucson's first Indian Food Truck; let everyone know about the upcoming Tucson Coffee Crawl; said a few things about that Daily Wildcat comic; posted a recap of last week's Barber/McSally debate; reminded folks to sign up for the Great Cover-Up; watched a Mitt Romney look-alike dance to the beat of "Gangnam Style"; previewed a few local Halloween parties; covered the toss-up race between Ann Kirkpatrick and Jonathan Paton; and much, much more!
On We Got Cactus, we featured the debut of a new comic, "The Modeens"; previewed Ernie Menehune's new CD; watched old footage of musical legends; listened to some Latin-tinged hip-hop; hyped the forthcoming album from the rockers in Clutch; noted the brilliance of Rap Genius; asked KFMA's Fook a few questions; let you know about Lauryn Hill's upcoming show at the Rialto; and more!
"Having no exposure other than name recognition, I eagerly awaited the debate between Carmona and Flake. What a disappointment! The primary issue of this election is the economy/deficit/debt. I fault KUAT (Channel 6) for not asking any questions on these issues. ... The debate seemed more like (a) free TV ad for Carmona to bash Flake. Anything else was typical talking points any competent high school student could do. What a waste of my time."
Pima County Sheriff candidate Mark Napier has started to make his presence felt around these parts. His entry in Oct. 18's Mailbag aside, Napier has been active in our online comments recently, making note of his belief that this race is a matter of public safety over politics; that his campaign has been a clean one; and that he has no desire for the Pima County Sheriff's Department to be anything like that of Maricopa County. You can find his response to readers in the comments on "Change vs. Stability" (Currents, Oct. 18).