May 4 satire fails to amuse

Michelle Poje

I am a person who is easily amused.

It’s true that I can find humor in almost anything. I am the person who laughs heartily at bad jokes, who writes “LOL” after everything on instant messenger and actually means it.

But when I came across a “humorous” article from, an online satirical newspaper that never fails to get me going, I could barely even crack a half-hearted smile.

The article, which ran Thursday, was titled “Kent State Basketball Team Massacred By Ohio National Guard In Repeat of Classic 1970 Matchup.” The article used May 4 to write a funny article about the men’s basketball team being defeated in the NCAA tournament by the Ohio National Guard.

If you’re wondering how “May 4” and “funny” can be combined in one sentence, much less a satirical article, wonder no further. They can’t.

While reading this article, I tried to figure out what part was the most pathetic. Was it the fabricated quote from coach Jim Christian that reads, “.they were just taking shot after shot. They kept shooting all day long, and we just couldn’t defend against them out there.”

Or was it the alteration of the famous photo of a horrified witness kneeling before the dead body of Jeffrey Miller? The alteration replaces his body with that of an injured player and dresses her up with pom-poms and a cheerleading uniform.

I don’t know. What I do know is this article is a pitiful attempt at extracting humor from tragedy. I’m amazed The Onion would sink to such depths to gain a few undeserved laughs.

It reminds me of the editorial cartoon that ran in the Arizona Republic in 1997 after the Oklahoma City bombing. Cartoonist Steve Benson had redrawn the famous picture of the fireman carrying the body of a dead child from the wreckage. “Please no more killing.” the child pleads. “Oh, stop your whining,” the fireman retorts.

The disgust I felt over that cartoon was revisited with this article. It makes me wonder what our society has come to when people think it’s OK to turn tragedy into comedy. I’m just waiting for the day when I open up the newspaper and find a cartoon or editorial that pokes fun at Sept. 11.

Which brings me to another point. The Oklahoma City cartoon sparked protests across the nation. My guess is the same thing would happen if the target of the joke had been Sept. 11.

And yet, how much do you want to bet this satirical article about May 4 will be disregarded with barely a murmur? Will it be because only four people were killed as opposed to thousands? Or is it because, as someone once said to me: “May 4 happened a long time ago. People need to get over it.”

Tragedy is tragedy, no matter how many were killed or how long ago it was. People need to stop making light of serious issues, or twisting them into entertainment. I’d like to believe we’re all better than that.

The writers at The Onion should be ashamed of themselves for this disgusting display of disrespect. This is one former fan who is no longer amused.

Michelle Poje is a senior newspaper journalism major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].