Rice University’s Student Newspaper — Since 1916

Friday, December 09, 2022 — Houston, TX

Backpage is satire, not journalism

By Thresher Editorial Board     9/27/22 10:47pm

Every week, the Thresher’s Backpage staff spend their Monday nights in a corner of our office coming up with a satirical take on the week’s news. Their goal is simple: to bring some levity to what might otherwise be a dreary week of problem sets, essays and exams. Their works of comedy also serve as a delightful ending to much of our more serious journalistic content; and for this reason, the Backpage is a consistent favorite for many of our readers.

But despite the Backpage being a central part of every issue, we’ve realized that it’s important to clarify that, with its own group of staff members, the Backpage is a separate section from the rest of the Thresher. While we demand unbiased, thorough reporting in our other sections, the Backpage is not journalism, and we do not treat it as such. The quips and banter poking fun at current campus affairs are made with the sole purpose of entertaining, not informing the Rice community. That’s what the rest of the paper is for. 

We understand that the Backpage content sometimes offends people. Satire does offend. We strive to ensure that the Backpage does not stereotype or capitalize on marginalized communities. But other than keeping common-sense decency, we encourage the Backpage staff to come up with ingenious jokes, practice their free speech and, most importantly, to have as much fun as possible while doing their jobs. The Backpage has relentlessly mocked both Rice University administration and the undergraduate student population for years. It is also not uncommon to see the Backpage content seemingly “contradict” itself, as they’ve made fun of the frequency of COVID testing and the lack of COVID testing at Rice in almost consecutive weeks. The Backpage is not written with a fixed agenda in mind, as comedy often isn’t.

In today’s world, it can sometimes be hard to tell just where the jokes end and earnest beliefs begin. Therein lies the beauty of the Backpage — it’s a joke! All of their content, every single week, cannot be taken out of context or misconstrued. We should celebrate the fact that such a space exists.

We hope, moving forward, that our readership will not conflate our satire section with the totality of our paper’s content. However, if you really want to voice your complaints, refer to the disclaimer at the bottom of the page and email dilfhunter69@rice.edu.

Editor’s Note: Thresher editorials are collectively written by the members of the Thresher’s editorial board. Current members include Ben Baker-Katz, Morgan Gage, Bonnie Zhao, Hajera Naveed, Nayeli Shad, Riya Misra, Michelle Gachelin, Daniel Schrager, Prayag Gordy and Brandon Chen.

More from The Rice Thresher

OPINION 11/29/22 11:00pm
Is using Fizz worth sacrificing our Culture of Care?

The social media app Fizz made its way to our campus earlier this semester, offering an anonymous discussion platform for exchanging messages and memes amongst Rice students. In recent weeks, antisemitic and racist posts were made by members of our community on this app. It is entirely hateful and dangerously intolerant. 

OPINION 11/29/22 10:54pm
International issues deserve our attention, too

Anyone who walked through the academic quad on Monday encountered the statue of William Marsh Rice visibly covered by sheets of A4 paper that read “习近平下台,” which roughly translates to “Resign Xi Jinping.” Other signs read “No emperor in a republic” and “Not my president.” These signs are part of larger protests happening in mainland China — that are being echoed by Chinese people across the world — in response to nearly three years of aggressive COVID lockdowns across the country. 

OPINION 11/15/22 10:21pm
Where we must agree: the politics of humanness

The words “free speech” will likely elicit groans from Thresher readers. Over the last three years, there have been three articles in the Opinion section bemoaning the need for a “classically liberal” political discourse at Rice. Unfortunately, between their self-righteousness and needless wordiness, they read more like whiny lectures than conversation starters. However, despite their condescension, their existence does suggest something unsettling about not just our campus politics, but politics at large. As the electorates of democracies around the world have become more sharply divided, the way we speak to each other, not just across the aisle but to our similarly minded partisans, has become more accusatory, exclusionary and violent. Put simply: we do not want to talk to each other, and understandably so. It is exhausting, and, more than that, we just don’t seem to know how to.


Please note All comments are eligible for publication by The Rice Thresher.