At Notre Dame, a Comic Strip Gone Awry

Offensive comic strip in student newspaper draws criticism.

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Notre Dame's student newspaper is in some hot water. And the Observer has a not-so-humorous comic strip to blame for it.

The comic strip, called The Mobile Party, featured a saw with eyes, feet, and hands telling a human a joke. The saw says, "What's the easiest way to turn a fruit into a vegetable?" The answer: "a baseball bat." The original version of the comic strip had the same two characters, only the saw's punch line—if you can call it that—was "AIDS" instead of a baseball bat. The newspaper editors rejected the first version but published the second. (Visit College Media Matters for a view of the strip and its original version.)

It's pretty obvious why the strip might offend people. And the Observer is trying to do some damage control. An editorial published on Friday apologized.

"The burden of responsibility ultimately lies on us for allowing it to go to print," the editors write. "There is no excuse that can be given and nothing that can be said to reverse the damage that has already been done by this egregious error in judgment."

The paper's assistant managing editor resigned on Monday, announcing her move in an open letter to the Notre Dame community.

"As assistant managing editor, I have failed in my duties to protect the quality and uphold the standards of the Observer," Kara King writes in the letter.

The comic strip's writers, a trio of seniors at Notre Dame, wrote a letter to the editor that gave the reasoning behind the strip and apologized.

"We want to apologize for the offensive, distasteful, and completely humorless joke that was made and acknowledge the grave error in its production," the comic strip authors wrote. "We cannot begin to express how apologetic we are for everyone who has been hurt by our comic and its implied message."

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