Monday, November 07, 2005

Dear Rumpus: Eat Me!

We realize it may seem like a giant waste of time to post about the latest issue of the Rumpus, Yale's tabloid magazine. But it seems a disservice not to demonstrate a little outrage at its cover story, "The worst treat you'll ever eat," a one page rant on cunnilingus. If the cover image was enough to dissuade you from reading more, we understand - but here's a highlight: the description of the vagina as "the same orifice a girl uses to shoot out blood-lubed human eggs," which produces "the most horrible taste in the history of the world." As if we didn't have enough misogynistic pseudoscience in the Yale press already (see below).

What's more disturbing, however, is Dean Trachtenberg's defense of the Rumpus. According to an article in the YDN, a few disgruntled students decided to be proactive by throwing out stacks of Rumpus issues (and, no, sadly, it wasn't us). Trachtenberg argued it was a violation of free speech to toss this trash. She seems to forget the fact that the right to free speech does not include hate speech. Or perhaps she sees nothing wrong with calling women "sexually frigid," labeling Jews as inherently bad in bed, and supporting lesbian relationships only because they're fun for men to watch. At least not wrong enough to infringe on the rights of the responsible and professional Rumpus editors.


Allyson said...

that, she says, was a violation of free speech?! just wait until (hopefully) RSVP is no longer reading anonymous testimonials for survivors at take back the night. talk about silencing the wrong party.

Anonymous said...

alright so can we all take a deep breath for a moment and remember that the rumpus is a magazine published in the spirit of mel brooks, namely that it makes fun of everyone and everything. if we put political correctness aside for a second many would acknowledge that the premise of the article is in fact true: many people dont like licking out vaginas. so what? granted its an opinion but it is a prevalent and valid opinion.
Moreover the article referred to is NOT ,as this blog suggests, a hate crime in print. it is not motivated by feelings of hostility against any identifiable group of people within society. it is done in jest and a slight sense of humor is needed when reading it. may i suggest that those who lack such a quality not pick up the rumpus or other tongue in cheek publications in the future.

Nick said...

She seems to forget the fact that the right to free speech does not include hate speech.

I was under the impression that there was no definitive decision on this at any level...did I miss something? Seriously, please correct me if I'm wrong.

Anyway, I think that regardless of the tabloid's content, the theft and disposal of Rumpus issues was reprehensible. If the content is counter to Yale's principles, then Yale should do one of two things: refuse to provide Yale funding to the Rumpus, or condemn the message but choose not to deny the funding.

I didn't know about what had happened with Take back the Night, and I think that in that case the administration's actions were incredibly inappropriate. But I don't think that history justifies a parallel action against a group I tend to completely disagree with. As far as I'm concerned, especially with the extent to which the administration is noncooperative with some of the progressive ideas we're presenting here, any claim that it's appropriate for the administration to be more heavy-handed in its jurisdiction of the content that groups on campus can express is potentially dangerous. Suggesting that Dean Trachtenberg should NOT have defended the Rumpus implicitly but inherently suggests that her actions at TBTN were well within her appropriate actions. Unless of course you're suggesting that Dean Trachtenberg should only be more heavy handed whenever you disagree with an organization's message.

Nick said...

As far as the funding/not funding (which I threw out and then didn't follow up), I think that refusing funding but allowing the message is a balanced way to express that Yale does not agree with an organization but will not interfere with its rights to free speech. I'm not completely convinced about this, but I'd tentatively argue that this would be the appropriate response to organizations such as this.

Maggie said...

I'm so glad to hear that other people were upset by this piece - I thought it was just me. It's funny how women often internalize these problems. I remember skimming the article and thinking, "wow, am I really that disgusting?" It never occurred to me that this might be a problem with the writers, not with me. Perhaps this is just personal insecurity, but I do think girls tend to accept negative, distorted portrayals of the female body and then worry about their own appearance. I'm not really sure how I feel about the trashing of Rumpus publications, but I do think that humor is not always a valid justification for offensive material.

Anonymous said...

Whether or not you agree with an opinion, or a piece of humor, to trash the Rumpus is a juvenile act, one that is neither productive nor effective. Personally, the article seems to recognise the necessity of reciprocity; the only guy who refuses to do cunnilingus is portrayed as a cursing fool. If you all wanted to complain about Rumpus, stop worrying about this piece of humor and "proactively" tackle the 50 Most Beautiful People Issue.

Anonymous said...

"I think that refusing funding but allowing the message is a balanced way to express that Yale does not agree with an organization but will not interfere with its rights to free speech."

For the record, Yale picking and choosing which publications to fund MOST CERTAINLY would interfere with the right to free speech by providing monetary incentives for students to hold certain opinions. In addition to being against the stated mission of the Undergraduate Regulations (which is very clear that the mission of the University is to promote free speech), such action might also be unconstitutional, given that Yale receives hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funding every year.

Anonymous said...

Firstly, Rumpus is an independent publication and does not receive any University funding. Secondly, get a sense of humor. The article mainly makes fun of Yale guys for being so inept at cunnilingus, so who should be left feeling insecure?

Anonymous said...

Questionable post. I've always found the Rumpus to be funny in part because its dorkified editors have probably never engaged in cunnilingus, let alone a simple hand job (HJ).

I say forget the Rumpus, they're a useless target for your genderspeak.

James Kirchick said...

Throwing newspapers into a trashcan = "proactive."

George Orwell must be rolling in his grave.

Jeff Hess said...

Shalom Y'all,

I'm not sure where you got the idea that Free Speech doesn't include Hate Speech, but the First Amendment does, in fact, protect what has become known as Hate Speech in recent years.

It is the most objectionable speech that is of need of the greatest protection. The Skokie, Ill. Nazi march being one of the most obvious examples.



John W. Moussach said...

As a founder of Rumpus (not THE Rumpus, just Rumpus. I don't know how the name got adulterated), be aware that the rag was always intended to provoke. Thanks for going for the bait.

The 50 Most Beautiful issue was entirely a social experiment- an experiment that has taken on a life of its own. We never thought people would take it seriously enough to view it as a status symbol or immortalize it in a silly book or sue the editors over not being accepted to the first fifty.

Dancing Crow said...

Why do immature jerks always get into the most visible forums.

I think it would be funny if their parents were gotten together to view how "sophisticated" their children have become. As to rape, hear this, I am a father with a female child, just imagine the fun I would have with the testicles of a male child I caught trying it on with my child. I guess these clowns (men of yale) must have been hatched from eggs out of an incubator in the barn. I cannot imagine one of them trying this type of crap around their own mothers, then again maybe they do tell similar jokes about their own mother.

Hey jerks! you wouldn't exist without the tacit approval of some poor woman somewhere.