Blue Book parody’s reference to genocide depicted alarming apathy

To the Editor:

We are writing to express our disappointment at the Yale Record’s Blue Book issue and, in particular, the course titled, “Blah Blah Blah Genocide Blah Blah Blah.”

Thus far, criticism of the Record’s Blue Book issue has focused on its inappropriate racial humor. Although the Record’s racial content was anything but funny, racial humor ­— if clever and careful — has the potential to dispel stereotypes and be funny. Genocide, however, is a subject off limits to humor. There is no way to make mass killings funny. The Record’s course description seems to mock the advocacy of anti-genocide activists, and, even worse, outrageously makes light of the most heinous of human rights abuses.

The course description reads: “Blah blah examination of something-or-other mass murder something something something. Blah blah blah blah blah, impending crisis blah blah human cost blah blah blah blah blah blah. Mob mentality yadda yadda yadda, yak yak yak yak Kosovo, Rwanda, and Darfur.”

We really wonder what was going through the Record writer’s mind while writing this description. What is it about genocide that this writer thought could be made funny? Is it funny that hundreds of thousands of Darfurians have died blah blah blah blah thousands of women have been raped while they try to collect firewood blah blah blah blah violence has prevented aid groups from providing refugees with food blah blah blah yak yak? There is nothing funny about genocide. And the Record does a disservice to the people of Darfur by making light of their crisis. As the genocide in Darfur worsens, we hope that students will respond with action, not blahs and yaks.

Mark Beyersdorf ’08

Hanna Sufrin ’08

Betny Townsend ’08

Sept. 27, 2006

The writers are co-coordinators of Students Taking Action Now: Darfur.

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