An open letter to Wellesley College BoobTube
By RACHEL HARRIS ’14, Staff Columnist
Even on the best of days, Wellesley is a stressful place. As students, we not only cope with the daily struggles associated with schoolwork, jobs and athletics, but also the social pressures of acceptance and finding a niche on campus. I, and many other students, often look to humor as a form of social medicine in these tough times. Though there are many groups on campus dedicated to providing exactly this, I would like to draw attention to a student organization that has made me realize how unwelcome I am as a conservative on this campus. On behalf of the Wellesley College Republicans, I ask the members of Wellesley College BoobTube to reconsider the message they’re sending with their political satire, as well as the potential ramifications this message has on the wellbeing of many students.
I understand and respect BoobTube’s First Amendment right to satirize any subject of their pleasing. And yes, I have not neglected the disclaimer mentioned in the opening credits of every single one of their episodes that reminds me to consider their content “with an open heart.” But how can I feel considerate when the “documented Wellesley experience” has cast me off as “an unwelcomed guest” or a “politically-savvy weirdo”? In the three-year history of BoobTube, every single instance of political satire has been directed toward Republicans, and only Republicans. In the last episode alone, there were two segments dedicated to current political events, both of which consisted of lowbrow humor directed solely against the GOP.
Why was it such a surprise for BoobTube to find “real live young Republicans” at the Org Fair who wouldn’t be excited to find Rush Limbaugh on campus? And why wasn’t there an “Obama@Remix” video to go alongside last year’s extremely explicit, and to be honest, disturbing, “Romney@Remix” production? Even professional groups such as the cast of Saturday Night Live and South Park make an effort to lampoon key figures and movements from both ends of the political spectrum, including the Democratic Party. If these are the groups BoobTube wishes to emulate, they must realize the difference between true political satire—which utilizes wit and irony to prove a point—and the cruel ad hominem typecasting that they have passed off under the guise of humor.
I don’t mean to slap BoobTube on the wrist. I realize that ultimately they can do whatever they want, including completely ignoring my plea or even satirizing it in their next video. Regardless of what happens, I want to let the members of the Wellesley College community know that whatever portrayal you have witnessed of Republicans on campus, I can promise you, as a four-year member of Wellesley College Republicans and two-year e-board representative, that we have always been a club dedicated to respecting every member of this community, regardless of background or identity.
You may not know it, but members of our club agree with you on many social issues such as same-sex marriage, the right to choose and civil equality. We work insanely hard to show the campus that we are the new face the Republican Party has so desperately needed. All we ask is for the members of this community to look beyond the stereotypes with which we have been labeled. Perhaps for BoobTube, this can be accomplished in an effort to more equally lampoon both sides of the political fence.
Given some of the insults hurled at me in my year and half at Wellesley, and my communications with Wellesley students following my departure, “unwelcomed guest” and “politically-savvy weirdo” sound like compliments. Heck, how is “politically-savvy weirdo even an insult? It suggests knowledge, whereas I was often told of my “ignorance.”
Thank you Rachel for taking a stand and saying something honest about the political climate at Wellesley College. I agree that conservatives are under-represented on campus in a major way and are not getting the overall support that is shown for the democrats on campus. I believe that political commentary or humor should be poked at both sides of the fence and not solely at the GOP. There should be an arena for both political points of view, not just the campus majority. There are conservatives on campus at Wellesley who will not come forward and join the Republican Club because they don’t feel comfortable or fear being politically attacked by liberals on campus. I commend your efforts to stand up for what you believe is right and would encourage you and your club to continue to do so.