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Stereotypes reflect lack of research

Observer Viewpoint | Thursday, January 22, 2004

Boy, Joey Falco, that sure was a clever article. It is amazing how people like you can invoke certain crude stereotypes to show that other people, like George Bush, are the real bigots. Same goes for using something so mean-spirited to imply that someone else is really the mean one. You and your friends will look through his record until your glasses fall off and never find anything at all to support that dumb joke about the indentured Mexican servant. No need to let that stop you, though. Republicans are racists, everyone knows that – why let facts and logic get in the way, when you have your own cheap and ready prejudices to protect you from having to think or make a serious argument? All the support Bush got from Hispanics while governor must have been because they were under threat – no way could it be that a Republican could actually consider them dirty brown-skins equal to us true Americans.

Likewise with the “former Enron executives” line – so what if many of them are already in jail or on their way to jail? Clear-thinking and enlightened folk like Mr. Falco and his cartoon-fan friends know for an absolute fact, proved on MTV, that all Republicans are rich, evil plutocrats -either that or homophobic, racist, misogynist, Taliban, skinhead, Nazi, fascist, gun-loving, fundamentalist Jesus-freaks; or both, like Dubya – and no amount of evidence to the contrary will shake that firm, heroic conviction. Putting those crooks in prison must have been just a publicity stunt. Most likely they are actually in Iraq right now, drinking fine gin and whipping those smelly, bearded towel-headed inferiors who exist to drill more oil for the divine Emperor Dubya.

I think it would be a great help to the Notre Dame community for some wise person like Mr. Falco to come up with a definitive list of which stereotypes are acceptable, and which are not. I cannot imagine, after all, seeing in print a parody of a speech by some black figure, playing on ghetto slang and caricatures, nor would I want to see one. Yet it seems alright to make fun of conservatives, Texans and southerners in general. So here is a start – mocking Texans good (especially if they are not liberals), mocking blacks bad. What we need is a giant of the mind, a Mr. Falco, to finish it.

Finally, I hope the cowardice and dishonesty of the sort of satire used by Mr. Falco is not lost on his readers. This is a technique used to great effect by Al Franken, for instance. Write a straightforward article and make serious accusations, and people can refute you; you could even get found out to be a liar. Couch even viler and more baseless accusations in a semi-humorous way, though, and you can say you were just joking, and that those who take offense need to lighten up. This saves you from having to back up your malicious insinuations and cheap shots. Keep reading “The Onion,” Mr. Falco. Dealing with actual facts is hard work.

Paul Duncan

Class of 2001

Stamford, Conn.

Jan. 21