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Kaleidoscope a valuable addition

Letter to the Editor | Sunday, February 18, 2007

Vu Nguyen’s criticism of the comic strip Kaleidoscope McDaniels (“Kaleidoscope McDaniels proves its poor taste,” Feb. 16) is unwarranted. It is true that the comic does dance along the border between decency and obscenity, but it also takes on issues that we must confront ourselves. One example of this is the very memorable comic that featured University founder Father Edward Sorin shotgunning a Natural Light. That comic showed the irony that Notre Dame is riddled with. Here we have arguably the most famous Catholic university in the world, yet there is an unending search for debauchery on the weekends.Another example is the Eating Disorders Conference comic Nguyen mentioned. To be perfectly honest, the reality of the importance of such a conference was not apparent to me until I read the comic which made fun of Notre Dame’s perceptions of eating disorders. Our inability to laugh at the imperfections we are riddled with is a reflection on our inability to correct these imperfections. For example, the constant comparison of girls to gremlins reflects the dominant opinion of many Notre Dame men who feel that Notre Dame women do not fit society’s norms for beauty. As most of us will admit, society’s “norm” for beauty is an exaggeration and is not representative of reality anyway. The comic’s portrayal,then, challenges the men to alter their perceptions of women here.It is true that sometimes the portrayals are ridiculous, such as Nguyen’s reference to the comic featuring University president Father John Jenkins smoking marijuana. What makes this comic funny, though, is not that Jenkins is portrayed as being a pothead, but that this is very unlike Jenkins. Personally, I find Liam Moran’s sarcasm and satire a refreshing escape from the surrealistic life that Notre Dame is famous for. Kaleidoscope McDaniels is a valuable addition to The Observer. We spend so much time worrying about the image of the University and the student body, but most of us are not willing to make a change. We want the world to see us as a pristine and wholly moral institution. So every now and then, we need a humorous reminder that the world and even Notre Dame are not perfect places.

Levi CheckettsfreshmanStanford HallFeb. 17