Letter to the editor: Echo cartoon creates local controversy

The recent publication of Jason Promo’s Sept. 27 comic illustrating several characters dressed in hoods, a tree with a noose, and one character saying to the other, “Honey, this is the tree where we met” horrified me. It is not just unbearably offensive, but incomprehensible to me that something like this would even make it into print.

Josh Coudret’s (Echo Editor-in-Chief) justification that not all comics are intended to be funny rang hollow with me. He went on to explain the irony he saw between the characters’ sentimentality and the symbols. I understand the “graphic novel” concept, but the editors and artist might be well-served to read something like Art Spiegelman’s “Maus” for an example of an appropriate and mature way of using comics to deal with sensitive issues.

Not too many intelligent people question the hatefulness of the KKK, the tragedy of lynchings and the damage borne of racism and anti-Semitism. Therefore, the only kind of discussion I can see coming out of the publication of this comic is this: Is EMU a place I want to attend or send my child? Is it a campus warm, accepting and welcoming of students from all walks of life or is racism, sexism, anti-Semitism, etc. acceptable? I don’t think anyone would like the answers to those questions after viewing Mr. Promo’s comic earlier this week.

To me, this is neither funny nor ironic. As one colleague said, Eastern is supposed to be a supportive, diverse campus and the fact that this comic made it into production belies that supposition. Imagine two terrorists watching the twin towers fall and insert the same caption. Still appropriate for print? I think not. I’m all for free speech, but when something engenders hate and seems to make light of it, I think it’s irresponsible for a college paper to print it.


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