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Comic misunderstood

Letter to the Editor | Monday, September 17, 2007

I am writing this as a response to the Sept. 17 Letter to the Editor written by Meghan Lueck (‘Deuces Manor’ in poor taste). Being one of the creative minds behind ‘Deuces Manor,’ I was baffled by some of the points that she brought up in her examination of last Wednesday’s comic. I feel that there may have been a misunderstanding more than anything because Meghan seemed to think that we were singling out overweight college girls who may like to eat ice cream during lunch. This however was not the intention of our comic at all.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with our comic, we have run what we call a line-up once a week since the start of the semester. We lay out a question, show five people, and the readers are supposed to guess who they believe answers the question. The first week, we did “Which dining hall card swiper enjoys her job?” Four unhappy ladies were shown, and the fifth was smiling. Our intention was that people would guess the smiling lady. However, our answer read “None of them.” Two weeks ago, our line-up question was “Can you find the Notre Dame athlete?” Following this, four elderly men were pictured, as well as Lupe Fiasco (one of the performers at ‘The Show’). We assumed readers would pick out the young, handsome Fiasco, but one of the elderly men was actually Paul Hornung.

So, for the first two weeks, we set up a scenario that let people quickly jump to their own conclusions, but our “answer” was probably not what they expected. What we did last week followed the exact same formula: we pictured five girls, one of whom was overweight. We did not say anything at all about the overweight girl; we simply let people form their own opinion. However, the answer was “All of them.” To me this shows that young ladies of any shape or form can eat ice cream whenever they want. There was not meant to be any implication whatsoever about body image at Notre Dame. We did not mean to poke fun at any eating disorders or any reasons for eating disorders, and I personally do not believe we did.

None of us, my co-writers included, sit in the dining hall watching who goes to eat ice cream, mostly because we do not care. We have never judged anyone based on their eating habits; all the comic strip was meant to do was follow the same formula as the previous weeks. Yes, we did create scenarios wherein stereotypical conclusions were meant to be formed inside our reader’s head, but the fact that our answers are different from these stereotypes shows that we do not actually want to reinforce any of them. The first two people who talked to me about last Wednesday’s comic had seen it but had missed the answer in the bottom corner. They had initially told me they thought it was cruel because they thought we were singling out the overweight girl; however, they both changed their opinion once I had informed them of the comic in its entirety.

When we first started writing this comic strip, we expected to receive Viewpoint articles – all the comic strips here seem to. However, I never expected to see one focused on the topic of body image at Notre Dame that we never had any implication of making.

The author is a Deuces Manor cartoonist and graphics designer for The Observer.

Matt Hudson

senior

off campus

Sept. 17