December 10, 2013

FIRST AUBURN, NOW THIS: James Taranto: What’s the Matter With Alabama? A student editor grovels after another cartoon kerfuffle.

For the University of Alabama’s football team, the Nov. 30 season finale against intrastate archrival Auburn ended almost as disastrously as ObamaCare began (and as it has continued). After leading 21-14 at the half, the Crimson Tide gave up a touchdown to the Tigers in the third quarter. Each team scored again during the fourth, leaving the score tied, 28-28, with seconds remaining in regulation.

Alabama was driving, but it looked as though the clock had run out. It turned out, however, that Alabama’s T.J. Yeldon had managed to get out of bounds with a single tick left. Rather than take a knee and go to overtime, Alabama decided to try a long field goal–which missed and was returned for 109 yards and a touchdown by Auburn’s Chris Davis. Final score: Auburn 34, Alabama 28.

Auburn went on to play in this past weekend’s Southeastern Conference championship, in which the Tigers defeated the Tigers, 59-42–possibly the most confusing pigskin matchup since the 1976 Grey Cup.

This isn’t a sports column, but there’s a reason we opened with a nine-day-old play-by-play. Back in Tuscaloosa, the Alabama loss led to a kerfuffle last week involving the student newspaper, the perplexingly named Crimson White. Its cartoonist drew a strip, published Thursday, depicting the final play under the title “This Is What Happens in OBAMA’S AMERICA.” The last two words were in massive letters, drawn in horror-movie style, with what was supposed to look like blood dripping from them.

Later that day, editor Mazie Bryant posted “A Statement From the Editor-in-Chief” in which she explained that “the cartoon was meant as satire . . . as a lighthearted look at some of the more absurd explanations given for Alabama’s collapse at the end of the Iron Bowl game against Auburn last Saturday.”

Only in Obama’s America could something so obvious have eluded anyone. “Unfortunately,” Bryant noted, the cartoon “has been perceived by many readers as having racist intentions.”

That’s because — and I want to be clear here — those readers are idiots. Naturally, some of them were also college administrators. But as Taranto goes on to demonstrate, not all college administrators are idiots. Which, these days, seems like news. . . .