Tuesday, February 25, 2003

Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.

The Daily Gazette
Swarthmore College
Tuesday, February 25, 2003
Volume 7, Number 92

Write to us!: daily@swarthmore.edu
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1) McGruder speaks to packed house on Saturday night

2) Voices from College Ave: Student reactions to Aaron McGruder

3) World news roundup

4) Campus events


1) Robinson repeats as Player of the Year

2) Pearce earns Academic All-America honors

3) Upcoming contests


Today: Partly sunny with breezy winds. High near 32.
So we all know the College is doing its best to combat the “black ice”

Tonight: A few clouds and some wind. Low around 12.
And frankly, salt, sand, and vigilant observation all seem like good bets to

Tomorrow: Mostly cloudy. Highs in the low 30s.
But – and I can’t believe I need to bring this up – what about duct tape?
Heck, let’s just roll out a couple miles of the stuff across all the campus
paths, and bingo: No more black ice, no more pesky terrorists.


Lunch: Beef stew, cornbread, broccoli-mushroom stir-fry, spinach crepes,
corn, brussel sprouts, falafel bar, Jewish apple cake

Dinner: Fresh fish, couscous, creamy bow tie pasta-bake, lentil stew,
broccoli, vegetable blend, chicken patty bar, blondies


1) McGruder speaks to packed house on Saturday night

by Pei Pei Liu
Co-Managing Editor

Aaron McGruder, creator of the nationally syndicated comic strip “The
Boondocks,” spoke at Swat on Saturday evening to an overflowing house in
Lang Concert Hall. Scheduled to begin at 8:00 p.m., the talk started about
twenty minutes late as people continued to file in and seating grew scarce.
Eventually, audience members standing in the aisles were invited to sit on
the stage, forming a ring around the podium.

The energy in the crowd was evident as McGruder was given several rounds of
applause before he had even begun speaking. When he finally did take his
place at the podium, he stated firmly, “I am not a motivational
speaker…[or] a social or political leader.” He emphasized that he was an
artist and a comedian, whose job it was to tell jokes, not to tell people
how to live their lives. McGruder also urged the audience to call out
questions or comments as they arose, saying that he preferred to speak
without notes and interact with a live and engaged audience.

A native of Columbia, Maryland, McGruder attended the University of Maryland
and graduated with a degree in African-American Studies. “The Boondocks”
started on April 19, 1999 in over 100 papers nationwide–a huge debut for a
new strip. Currently, the strip is carried in over 260 papers, which
translates into roughly 20 million copies nationwide each day, with around
30 million on Sundays.

McGruder launched right into the implications of this extensive influence,
revolving the nearly two-hour long talk around his political views. He began
on the subject of post-September 11 America, after “everyone got stupid,”
and the Middle East tensions, which McGruder traced to the U.S.’s previous
support of Saddam Hussein’s weapons program in the interest of defeating
Iran, and the fact that “the C.I.A. created Osama bin Laden.” In response to
audience members’ protests that much of this information was concealed by
the mass media, McGruder said, “The information is out there…the New York
Times will tell you what you need to know; you just need to find it.”

McGruder also criticized the ineffeciency of the recent anti-war protests,
saying that the real protests should have taken place “when Bush stole the
election.” That, McGruder said, set the precedent for the current public
helplessness over the war with Iraq, because “America has lost control of
its government.” He then touched on a number of political subjects including
Al Gore, the Democrats, the Green Party, Ralph Nader, Colin Powell, Louis
Farrakhan, Jesse Jackson, and Al Sharpton (and his perm).

In particular, he called attention to the lack of leadership on the
political far left and criticized Gore’s failure to stay in the fight for
the presidency and to bring to light the disenfranchisement of thousands of
black voters in Florida. Gore and other political leaders like Jackson and
Sharpton, McGruder said, “took themselves out of the game. They didn’t play
to win.” He extended that argument to people interested in social change,
advising them to stay out of jail and “stay alive. Live till you’re
eighty-eight years old and work till you’re eighty-eight years old for
something you believe in. Play to win.”

As requested, McGruder also touched on the topic of affirmative action,
throwing the audience for a loop when he declared in a lengthy diatribe that
he would throw all white students and “white Puerto Ricans” out of college
to make room for students of color. He then backpedaled and said, “It’s a
joke: relax, people. I tell jokes for a living. It’s what I do,” though he
did not clarify precisely which of his comments were serious and which were
not, retaining the ambiguity and level of discomfort that he sustained
throughout his talk. He then weighed in briefly on historically black
colleges, though throughout the night he avoided any statements on the
Israel/Palestine conflict, saying, “I live and work in Hollywood…I will
not comment publicly on that.”

Fans of the comic were able to get a few questions in at the end about the
process of actually drawing the strip, andMcGruder mentioned practical
issues like which characters are harder to draw and decisions about whether
to focus on character development and narrative or just use the strip to
give voice to salient issues. Explaining that he has always approached his
job with the attitude that he may lose everything the next day, McGruder
said he wanted to “go out with a bang” and never wanted to “not have said
something when something needed to be said.”

McGruder then stayed for nearly two hours after the lecture to sign books,
take pictures, and continue conversations with students and audience
members. Anna Perng ’03, who along with Rebecca Amdemariam ’03 was
responsible for bringing McGruder to campus, said that he enjoyed the event.
“He was really impressed with the energy of the crowd, and he had a great

Perng was also pleased with how the event unfolded. “I think he rocked
everyone’s world,” she said. “There are a lot of students talking right now,
so I’m generally happy about that. Rebecca and I think Aaron’s ability to
blur that line and make people *think* about what they were just laughing
about is part of what makes him brilliant. You cannot safely laugh at
everything…I think people were upset that he wasn’t about to hand over his
opinions on a platter, and that they had to second guess themselves
throughout Aaron’s talk.”

“We think that kind of presentation creates an honest dialogue among members
of this community,” Perng added. “That’s why we worked so hard to bring him
here. It wasn’t to massage people’s consciences. He definitely shook things

Read the Gazette’s coverage of the process of bringing Aaron McGruder to



2) Voices from College Ave: Student reactions to Aaron McGruder

Compiled by Evelyn Khoo, Greg Leiserson, Megan Mills, Jeremy Schifeling, and
Christine Shin

So just what DID people think about Aaron McGruder? The Gazette sent
reporters out to sample some student reactions.

Andrew Abdalian ’06: “He spoke about issues–some of them very
sensitive–with a directness that engaged the listener. At times satirical,
at other times brutally honest, McGruder always succeeded in making his
point clear.”

Tanya Aydelott ’05: “I was really glad he came because a lot of what he said
are things people here profess to believe in but don’t uphold in day to day
interaction. A lot of what he said was very extreme but I think that a lot
of it needed to be said–this campus is full of fence-sitters, I’m one
myself, and we need something really extreme to push people in a direction.”

Todd Gillette ’03: “I was definitely entertained by the talk. McGruder was
witty and clever, as one might expect of a good cartoonist. I don’t know
that I was outraged, as nothing he said was anything worse than what I’ve
heard here on campus. I did strongly disagree with several things he said,
though I on the other hand I agreed quite readily with others (such as
comments about the Democratic leadership and about protesters). I also was
not too fond of his use of the word “evil,” and I find it hard to believe
that he doesn’t think Louis Farrakhan is racist. All in all the event was
fun, though, fun enough to be worth the money spent.”

Woot Lervisit ’04: “He was very funny. I laughed my ass off.”

Amy Long ’04: “I appreciated McGruder’s sincerity and straightforwardness,
though it seemed at points like people weren’t listening critically enough
to his views. They seemed to forget that he’s an entertainer, not a social
leader. I thought he needed to suggest more plausible solutions…he had a
certain responsibility to justify his views, especially when speaking in
front of such a large crowd. I liked that he opened up the floor for
comments and questions, though it made the lecture somewhat disconnected and
rambling. His honesty and charisma were nonetheless refreshing.”

Akira Madono ’06: “He’s very good in that he manages to piss everyone off,
which is cool. It left everybody thinking…He argues for change in the
world, but says he’s not going to do anything, he’s an entertainer. He’s a
leader in entertainment, which is not the same as a leader in the
conventional sense at all.”

Victoria Swisher ’06: “I thought he was very witty and provocative. Although
I didn’t agree with everything he said, I definitely enjoyed hearing him
speak about his views on politics and popular culture. I really enjoyed
hearing what he had to say about the lack of left leadership in America.”

Joanne Zhung ’04: “I think that he was interestingly, purposefully
provoking. He is smart and funny but tragically wants to be famous and


3) World news roundup

* North Korea fired a short-range missile on Monday that traveled 60
kilometers before falling into the Sea of Japan. The only comment from North
Korean sources so far has been that the test was made for “security”
reasons, but nothing further was revealed. With dignitaries from around the
world gathering in the South Korean capital of Seoul for the inauguration of
the new president, some have suggested the test was performed to show that
North Korea does have real capacity to hurt the countries currently opposing
its efforts to acquire nuclear weapons.

* The United States, the UK and Spain introduced a resolution stating that
Saddam Hussein has failed to comply with the requirements placed on him by
the most recent UN resolution in a closed session of the Security Council on
Monday. It does not include any specific deadlines to avert future military
action. On the same day Germany, France and Russia delivered a memorandum to
the Council saying that military action should be only a last resort and
that all possible attempts should be made to disarm Iraq through continued
inspections. It is not expected that a vote will be made on the resolution
before the next report to the Council by chief weapons inspector Hans Blix,
scheduled for March 7.

* Rebels in the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, stated in
an email message on Monday that three US Defense Department contractors
captured on February 13 after their plane crashed in southern Colombia were
being considered prisoners of war and would not be released until an
exchange of prisoners was negotiated with the Colombian government. The FARC
holds many Colombian prisoners, including political figures, which it wants
to exchange for rebels currently being held by the government. It has also
demanded that the government withdraw troops from some regions before the
swap could be made.


4) Campus events

Developmental Biology Candidate Search
Kirby Lecture Hall – Martin, 4:15 p.m.

German Film Series
Kohlberg 328, 7:00 p.m.

Aikido Practice
Lamb-Miller Field House, 7:00 p.m.

Tango Dance Lessons
Upper Tarble, 9:00 p.m.

Good Schools PA Meeting
Parrish Parlors – West, 10:00 p.m.

Student Council Meeting
CRC – Parrish 2nd, 10:30 p.m.

Want to make music by presenting personal favorites to your friends at a new
informal concert series, ‘Music in Bond’?  Sign on with Judy Lord, Music and
Dance Department, to perform for friends at an informal presentation of
music you love–new or old, classical, pop, soul or jazz–in Bond hall on an
afternoon in March or April.

The new series has the support of the Music Department.  Informality is the
key to this new program–making music by friends to friends, in an easy and
friendly atmosphere. Sign on with Judy Lord today.



1) Robinson repeats as Player of the Year

Katie Robinson ’04 made Centennial Conference history yet again yesterday
when she was named Conference Player of the Year, becoming the first woman
in the league’s annals to earn the award two years in a row.

The honor, bestowed by the Conference’s 11 women’s hoops coaches, was no
surprise as Robinson leads the league in scoring (18.2 ppg), steals (4.39
spg), and free-throw percentage (87.5%).  In addition, the versatile
Robinson also ranks in the top 20 in the Conference in assists and rebounds,
and set Conference records for steals in a game and a career this season.

Robinson, who was also named to the All-Conference first team for the second
straight year, will now try to lead the Garnet to a playoff victory against
Johns Hopkins tomorrow evening.  Swat takes the court against the top-ranked
Blue Jays at 7:00 p.m. in Baltimore Wednesday.


2) Pearce earns Academic All-America honors

David Pearce ’03 was recently selected to the 2003 Verizon Academic
All-America College Division District II men’s basketball team.  The award
comes at the end of a basketball career that has been one of the best in
Swat’s history: Pearce is ninth in  career scoring, fifth in steals, and
eighth in three-pointers.

In addition, Pearce’s 3.52 GPA has earned him Centennial Conference Academic
Honor Roll nods three times.

With the District selection, Pearce now qualifies for the national Academic
All-America team, to be named on March 6th.


3) Upcoming contests

Badminton at Bryn Mawr, 7:00 p.m.

Women’s basketball at Johns Hopkins (CC Semifinals), 7:00 p.m.
Men’s lacrosse hosts Manhattanville, 7:30 p.m.



“Skiing combines outdoor fun with knocking down trees with your face.”
–Dave Barry

Interested in reporting or writing for the Gazette?
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Contact the staff at gazette@swarthmore.edu

Managing Editors: Pei Pei Liu
Jeremy Schifeling
News Editor: Alexis Reedy
Living & Arts Editor: Evelyn Khoo
Compilation Editors Charlie Buffie
Greg Leiserson
Megan Mills
News Reporters: Charlie Buffie
Jennifer Canton
Wendy Cheung
Mary Harrison
Sanggee Kim
Greg Leiserson
Megan Mills
Aude Scheuer
Siyuan Xie
Roxanne Yaghoubi
Sports Writers: Jenna Adelberg
Saurav Dhital
Sarah Hilding
Holice Kil
Photographers: David Bing
Liz Bada
Miriam Perez
Casey Reed
Christine Shin
Webmaster: Jeremy Schifeling
World News: Greg Leiserson
Campus Sports: Jeremy Schifeling

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