Satire piece not bullying

HANNAH CARR-MURPHY, Opinion Columnist

I have a shocking revelation to make: Hambone Carmichael is a pseudonym for Hannah Carr-Murphy. I was the one who wrote the satire article about UNI College Republicans and UNI Right to Life (RTL) wanting to help female students make decisions.

Obviously, there are several people who are upset about this, as there have been two letters to the editor so far, the latest in last Thursday’s Northern Iowan.

I would like to take a moment to respond to any and all students who found this piece objectionable.

First, I am not a journalist, nor has anyone hired me to be one. I am an opinion writer, which is why the page in the French Fry that the piece in question appeared on was called “Liberal Complaining.”

Second, for “unsatisfied and bitter opinionist,” I wish you had truly submitted your application to be an opinion writer for the NI.

Nick, our executive editor, actually goes out of his way to provide a range of views in the newspaper, and it’s always harder for him to find conservative writers on our campus.

Which brings me to my favorite instance of irony ever, that a conservative might get a job by being a “diversity hire.”

Speaking of literary devices like irony, I think it’s time we had a good explanation of satire.

The simplest definition I could find was from, which calls satire: “a technique employed by writers to expose and criticize foolishness and corruption of an individual or a society by using humor, irony, exaggeration or ridicule.”

I appreciate people sharing that they felt shocked, hurt or not amused by my clearly marked satire article, but I am unmoved by these complaints.

What moves me to respond to their LTE’s is their opinion that I am bullying them, their misunderstanding of my motives, and their “hope that [I] understand the weight of [my]  ‘satire’ words.”

As listed above in the simple definition of satire, writers often use humor, exaggeration or ridicule for the purpose of exposing foolishness.

So, no, I’m not looking to make friends with the right-leaning when I write satire about them. I’m looking to exaggerate real traits or beliefs they may have (i.e. that the government has a right to make decisions on behalf of women about their own health) in order to reveal how foolish I believe them to be. Some call this bullying, while others call it social commentary.

And for unsatisfied and bitter, who said they expect quality from the NI and did not regard my writing to be quality: the fact that anyone is still writing about my satire piece three weeks later means it was good satire.

As for not understanding the weight of my words, I assure you, I have considered them far more carefully than the many male Republican legislators who have spouted falsehoods about women’s health in the past several years.

Another part of the definition of satire says “a writer in a satire uses fictional characters, which stand for real people, to expose and condemn their corruption.”

So, despite both letter-writers being extremely offended by my so-called false quotations, I was well in keeping with techniques of satire to create fictional characters and exaggerate their features in order to continue making my point.

In short, I did not quote specific members of UNI RTL or UNI College Republicans, because I used no names and because I was writing satire, which is a type of fiction.

As a final note, “unsatisfied and bitter opinionist” – when I had a disagreement with UNI RTL in the fall semester, one of their major contentions was that I had painted them as a religious organization when they are clearly not (despite the fact that their biggest partner organization Alternatives is extremely Christian).

So, I’m confused about what you could be referring to when you talk about my “bullying of certain politically and religiously based student orgs.”

Perhaps the right hand knows not what the left hand is doing?