Notre Dame University’s independent student newspaper, The Observer, ran this cartoon on Jan 13.
- What’s the easiest way to turn a fruit into a vegetable?
- No idea.
- A baseball bat.
The paper has apologized. The authors have apologized, too, though they mangle it by saying they put the joke in the mouth of the “tool” character to show they don’t really approve of what he’s saying. It’s irony, see? So let’s print a bunch of racial jokes, but with a KKK Wizard saying them, and that’ll be fun and ironic, too.
In a miracle of perfect timing, you should head on over to the Prop 8 Trial Tracker and read the Day 4 testimony of Dr. Ilan Meyer, an expert on stigmatization of gays and lesbians. I wish I could be there in person to hear it, but this paraphrase of Meyers’ testimony flooded me with recognition:
In a segment of society in which people who know that they are going to be discriminated against, first they have to guard their safety. A gay couple has to monitor their behavior, such as holding hands, because someone can throw something at them even on a safe street. You have to have a third eye monitoring the environment. It’s stressful.
I’ve got that third eye, and I can’t turn it off. I refuse to be cowed into treating my boyfriend like a “best bud” in public, but when we hold hands a chunk of my attention is distracted from him and focused on scanning the perimeter. This is in Los Angeles. And we’re both over 6’1″ and 180lbs — not easy targets. But that third eye is always roving.
This morning, though, I’m picturing a closeted Notre Dame freshman eating breakfast in a dorm cafeteria, listening to people laugh at this joke. Is he thinking:
“Oh, but it’s ironic, so it’s okay!”
“If I come out, they’re going to kill me.”
I remember being closeted. I know what I thought.