20 Years Later, College Newspaper Alums Still Have Hard-On For April Fool’s Issue

Is the April Fool's edition of a college newspaper more offensive to women, or people who value originality and genuine comedy?

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An interesting discussion broke out on the Facebook group for alumni of the Massachusetts Daily Collegian, the student newspaper at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst Monday morning. For decades, the newspaper has put out an April Fool’s edition and, for at least the past 20 years, it has been called The Morning Wood:

“As a member of the staff that first released the edition under that title I want to hereby suggest that it be retired after this year,” Ryan Benharris posted in the closed group (screen shots of the discussion were sent to Mayor Curley). “It’s 2019. It’s way past the time to move on from an old-boys culture in college newspapers. Over the years, female staffers have pointed out that the title is unnecessarily sexist and promotes a culture of sexual harassment in the workplace and on college campuses. I’m hereby calling for the Collegian to move on and put that title out of its misery.”

Benharris got a lot of praise from subsequent commenters on the discussion because it’s 2019 and people don’t understand that comedy at one point meant pushing and sometimes even crossing the line. At one point, the title of the April Fool’s edition would be more offensive to people who appreciate comedy than it was to women: the name is stale, and wasn’t even really funny when it was first used 20 years ago.

But Benharris, by virtue of having a penis, also got some shit. Apparently having a penis means you can’t admit that decisions you made when you were 20 years younger may have been bad decisions:

“Jesus Christ I was objecting to the name when it was first offered. You are so late to this party. It’s sexist and gross and should never have been approved in the beginning but the dicks in the newsroom outnumbered the women so locker room talk won the argument and has been grandfathered in every year since,” Catherine Turner wrote in response to Benharris. “It was shitty then and nobody cared and now you’ve all woken up in the era of #metoo, pussy grabber in chief, and growing up and having daughters. Fuck your sentiment. You were part of the problem then and have been ever since. Too little too late.”

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