With widespread in-person activity slowly starting to return to campus, students and faculty alike are eager to get back to the familiar lacklustre routine that is life at UTM. For so many months, students have yearned for the small pleasures of the UTM campus. Who could forget the delight of being late to class because a flock of geese decided to sit in the middle of an intersection, or the heartwarming comfort and community that is the Davis Tim Hortons line?
Unfortunately, the upcoming colder weather and the Covid-19 Delta variant aren’t the only things to fear this school year. Experts and editors at The Medium have started to brace themselves for a resurgence of the satire articles that spread through the university campus during the 2019-2020 academic year.
Many fell victim to the initial wave of Satire which was published during Volume 46 of The Medium. Small and simple fictional stories had an adverse effect on some sections of the student body. An article about extensions to the Subway line misled students to believe the campus had gotten access to convenient public transportation resulting in a 50-minute backup right during the sandwich rush hour: lunchtime. In addition, U of T president Meric Gertler is reported to have never fully recovered from his weekly roastings. Like most enjoyable aspects of life, the Satire section faded away in the spring of 2020. With little campus activity to poke fun at, there was no opportunity for more people to be exposed to articles, and thus, the spread was stopped in its tracks.
After a peacefully unfunny year of issues at The Medium in Volume 47, staff at the student paper expected a continued streak of quiet factual pieces to be published every week. Now that in-person activities have begun to return to campus, the resurgence of satire is imminent. We spoke to Dr. Grimace, an expert in funny bones, about the expected wave and to see what readers can anticipate this school year.
“We can expect up to two articles a month in the Opinion section. The effect of these articles truly depends on the public’s awareness. When it comes to exposure to satire, there are some who will be unaffected and perhaps even enjoy the comedic commentary. On the other hand, people with no taste will have an adverse reaction and may even believe that the satire is real. It is critical that people maintain healthy reading habits. If the readers aren’t smart enough, they’ll start to be fooled.”
To understand the campus’s preparedness for this new satire, we spoke to several students about how they feel about satire.
We first spoke to Andrew Jones, a third-year student who we found approaching one of The Medium’s newspaper stands.
“Satire articles in The Medium? Uh, I guess I used to read them when I was in my first year,” Jones said while shoving a few issues into his backpack. “I didn’t really go out of my way. The thing is, I steal stacks of The Medium every week so I can have free newspapers for my emotional support cat to go to the bathroom on. I’ve been living in the townhouses on campus and I don’t want to be seen hauling kitty litter in. But issues of The Medium stuffed in the trash? No one would blink an eye at that. Now that I think about it, I did tend to place the satire pages face up so that Skimbleshanks could have some bathroom reading material. He’ll be thrilled to read it again; he has a bit of a refined palate.” Jones’ backpack let out a meow and a subtle whine. “Please ignore that.”
Of course, the looming threat of satire has left some with a funny feeling in their stomachs.
“I hated those articles,” barked Maria Graves, a fourth-year Geography major. “I can’t believe The Medium would stand for such gross misinformation.” Solely for the hate comments she left on Facebook posts featuring satire articles, Graves became one of the top ‘fans’ on The Medium’s Facebook page during the 2019-2020 academic year. “The fact that my school fees went towards publishing a Satire section makes me feel sick. My school fees should be used for essential utilities and services, like a gym that’s been closed for a year and a half, or more free Zoom origami classes. I’d rather pay for 30 more million-dollar rock statues before another half-baked joke on Meric Gertler.”
Whether it’s a contagious respiratory virus or some middling semi-funny content about university life, we encourage everyone at UTM to stay healthy and happy this school year. You may be wearing a mask, but you still deserve to smile!