We at The Koala hope this column will serve as a reminder to the Joel Galsters of the world that if you are an oblivious idiot, maybe you should consider whether 15 seconds of research and 10 seconds of thought might be appropriate before writing an opinion piece for a university newspaper.
We take issue with your characterization and selective quotation of our newspaper and its subject matter in Galster’s column (“A.S. Gears Up to Protest Fee Hike and One Offensive Koala,” Daily Nexus, March 5). The basic concern stems from your use of quotation marks to impugn our classification as a humor paper. We’d have thought that you might have figured out that perhaps not everything in our paper should be taken literally. Your reckless accusations against us amount to nothing less than the intentional misdirection of your audience, many of whom have never heard of The Koala and couldn’t follow your link because you didn’t bother to get our URL right.
We do not rely on sexism, racism and homophobia for our content; these are merely topics that we choose not to automatically eliminate from discussion in our paper. Humor is always about the unexpected and the uncomfortable, so it should not surprise anyone that a humor publication deals with topics widely considered taboo. Furthermore, we are not an opinion newspaper. To the extent that you insist that everything in our paper is reflective of who we are or what we believe or promote, you should try to read our next issue with an eye toward a better understanding of the word “sarcasm.”
Continuing in the vein of education via The Koala, a newspaper cannot commit slander, as you have accused us of having done. Slander is a crime committed through oral communication, not written. The written equivalent of slander is called “libel” and because we have never had a charge of libel or slander brought against us to our knowledge, it is your newspaper that is guilty of this offense, not ours.
You reference our school’s Principles of Community. We concede that our newspaper does not often handle things with “sensitivity,” and our “respect” is earned, not freely given. Fortunately, and contrary to your claim, the Principles of Community have no binding power over any student or organization at UCSD. If it did, it would be thrown out as completely unconstitutional. We happen to believe strongly in the value of our constitutional rights, so not only will we refuse to be held to any unconstitutional restrictions proposed by the Principles of Community, we will do everything legally within our means to defy this affront to the founding documents of our nation.
We think it’s a pretty lowball tactic to pull jokes from our newspaper, remove the punch lines, and then accuse us of sexism, racism and homophobia. Yes, we investigated the topic of date rape, looking for humor. That’s because we’re a humor paper. If you say that men don’t have at least some expectation of sexual reciprocation for buying dinner for a lady, you’ve clearly never been on a date. The Koala didn’t cause this to be true, yet you say that we shouldn’t make fun of it? We satirize these things.
You conclude with offering up a path for action for those who were very disturbed by your deceptive and idiotic presentation of our paper. Good for you. Maybe if you get us shut down, some hypersensitive individual will find something “very disturbing” in your newspaper and shut you down. Maybe then, it can happen to every newspaper and entirely dry up free expression in this country. Instead, we can have a bunch of balding, old white guys and their student-government lapdogs telling us what to think and write. Sounds great. That petition is at www.msa-ucsd.com/koala.html. Or you could pull the stick out of your ass, grab a beer and a joint, and enjoy the latest issue of The Koala at www.thekoala.org.
UCSB, we invite you to choose as you like.
Bryan Barton is the editor of The Koala.