Letter to the Editor: TNR meant to entertain, not educate

I suppose it’s only fair that the Times New Roman (TNR) has been criticized in these pages for its contributions to RSA’s Sex Week magazine, “Stripped.” The specific target of criticism was an article called “Vaginas: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Enjoy Vaginas,” in a letter to the editor last week from Tara Doran, the treasurer of the NU Feminist Student Organization (“‘Stripped’ sexist, misses the point,” March 28). We expected RSA’s magazine would be controversial and we knew our two pages would not go without scrutiny.

We did our best to deliver two pages of comedy with a sexual theme. It’s not easy writing comedy about sex – there are so many jokes about the topic, it’s hard to be original. To make this comedy “balanced” – which I suppose could be taken to mean equally focusing on men and women, heterosexuals and homosexuals; hell, I guess you might as well throw in fetishists and the abstinent, too – is all but impossible.

Here’s our mission statement, taken from our constitution: “The TNR is a humor publication realized primarily in print form, but also in the form of website content and possibly further media per staff discretion.” I don’t see the word “balanced” in there anywhere.

Now, this isn’t to say we don’t try to write for all readers. We do. On the other side of the spread we compiled for “Stripped,” which you did not address, we included a list of “Ways to Please Your Man,” which was intended to be a parody of magazines like Cosmo. Sure, it didn’t talk about how to give cunnilingus. Perhaps if we’d had two more pages, we’d have gotten around to that.

Yes, as was pointed out, the owner of a vagina is always a female. I’ve noticed that, too. That particular phrase was written to be comedic. Refer again to “the TNR is a humor publication.” I’m sorry if you didn’t find it funny. We can’t guarantee you’ll laugh at everything we write. Our staff liked it, and several people have told me they found the article amusing as well.

The article’s humor, to me, is in the voice of the writer – he has a bizarre childlike innocence, as though he’s just discovered vaginas and doesn’t have a rational comprehension of them. His crudeness, I believe, is attributed to his peculiar na’vet

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