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Letter to the Editor: How is Jan. 25 backpage satire?

By Melissa Marschall , Margaret Beier , Bridget Gorman , Mikki Hebl , Vivian Ho , Rachel Kimbro , Carrie Masiello , Maria Oden , Barbara Ostdiek , Annise Parker , Sandy Parsons , Rebecca Richards-Kortum , Libby Vann , Marcia Walker-McWilliams and Sarah Whiting     1/31/17 10:57pm

To the Editors:

The Thresher’s Backpage assures its readers that it’s satire, but let’s pause for a moment to consider what that means. Satire has historically been a powerful tool of the press: Writers and cartoonists have always relied upon exaggeration, humor and ridicule. Satire’s aim is actually pretty simple: It points forward, with a desire to change the world for the better, making us laugh in the process.

We, members of the “Posse of the Positive,” referenced in the terrific article by Yasna Haghdoost on the front page of the Thresher last week, share that ambition: We want to help point forward. We’re employing advocacy, but we encourage all forms of discourses, satire included.



But we’re flummoxed by the Backpage send-up of the Women’s March that was specifically targeted at Lisa Zollner, director of Student Judicial Programs. We’re all used to the Thresher’s tendency to a more crass form of satire than one would find in, say, Aristophanes or Mark Twain. And Rice administrators have been frequent targets of the Backpage. But even with these expectations, we’re scratching our heads as to how this backpage piece operates as satire. Forward? Nope. Better world? Nope. What a missed opportunity.

Margaret Beier, McMurtry College Master

Bridget Gorman, Will Rice College Master

Mikki Hebl, Chair of Psychology

Vivian Ho, Professor of Economics

Rachel Kimbro, Professor of Sociology

Melissa Marschall, Professor of Political Science

Carrie Masiello, Professor of Earth Science

Maria Oden, Professor in Practice of Engineering

Barbara Ostdiek, Associate Professor of Finance

Annise Parker, Former Mayor of Houston

Sandy Parsons, Assistant Teaching Professor of Psychology

Rebecca Richards-Kortum, Director of Rice 360

Libby Vann, Director of Programs Center for Civic Leadership

Marcia Walker-McWilliams, Associate Director, Programs for Center for Civic Leadership

Sarah Whiting, Dean and William Ward Watkin Professor of Architecture



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