The Observer is a student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame, Saint Mary's & Holy Cross. Learn about us.



Bookstore censorship unequally applied

Letter to the Editor | Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Bookstore Basketball tournament is about to begin, and I, for one, cannot wait. It’s my senior year and last chance to participate, so my friends and I plan to go all-out. It was a disappointment (and admittedly not a huge surprise) that our team name referencing our favorite brand of alcohol was censored. We all knew that was a distinct possibility, and while it sucks, I’m over it. When I heard the “Top 10 Team Names” announced at the captains’ meeting, I became concerned. Overall, there are upwards of 15 names that make light of the Chris Brown/Rihanna domestic violence dispute – one that was honored on the top 10 list. So I have to ask: Why can we not joke about alcohol, but we can joke about a very deadly, very serious social issue?

Domestic violence affects roughly one in four women and one in nine men and the effects are long-lasting and severe. More importantly, 16- to 24-year-old women are the most likely to be a victim of domestic violence. That’s us – the students who are participating in this very tournament. I agree the names are funny. Some are absolutely hilarious. The problem is that domestic violence is not – and never will be – funny. Why does the Bookstore Basketball Commission deem “We Will Beat you Down Like Chris Brown” and “Unlike Rihanna, We Get Our Hands Up on Defense” to be appropriate team names, when they take an active role in censoring names for other reasons?

I believe that laughing something off is the same as condoning it and domestic violence is not something that I can condone. Statistics show that four women die every day as a result of abuse. Unfortunately, there is not as much research on men who are abused, but it happens all too often. Domestic abuse is a very real problem in our society. It can (and does) happen to anyone, regardless of race, class, gender, religion or sexual orientation. The team names are funny, but I think it’s time we stop laughing about such a serious issue.

Lori Hoetger


off campus

March 27