I do not understand the hippopotamus cartoon (Oct. 15, p. 4). I think it is anti-Semitic, but I do not understand the point it makes. What bothers me is the justification Hatchet Editor in Chief Russ Rizzo printed for publishing the cartoon. I totally support First Amendment protections of speech and the press. I also support the use of a student newspaper for “campus dialogue.” However, whatever statement this cartoon makes about religion is not the same statement that the earlier one made about fraternities and hazing.
What dialogue do we have about the hippo being Jewish? Is there a question as to whether Jews are “big, fat and smelly?” The questions of whether off-campus fraternities are legitimate and whether hazing is acceptable are salient issues that students have a stake in and debate outside Hatchet letters column. I do not think students are chatting before class about whether the hippo is Jewish and if Jews have unfavorable characteristics.
I am sure the editor knew this cartoon was inflammatory, but I do not think Rizzo thought through the implications of his column.
The bottom line is that the cartoon is not about religion. It is about our mascot, and it includes a negative stereotype about Jews. I fail to see what positive dialogue this could promote other than people getting mad at Rizzo, the cartoonist and The Hatchet.
The writer, a freshman, is Hatchet
This article appeared in the October 22, 2001 issue of the Hatchet.