In Defense of Satire at A&M: Or a Perspective on Propaganda

In Defense of Satire at A&M:
Or a Perspective on Propaganda

 

The Mugdown exists to challenge the thinking of the Texas A&M community by delivering relevant satirical news.” —The Mugdown Mission Statement

We are both immensely proud and humbled by what we have created. We believe we have faithfully carried out our mission statement: exposing a reality at A&M which no one has been brave enough (or perhaps stupid enough) to release into the public sphere of dialogue.

Late Wednesday night, we carried out a project that has been in development for months—a collection of posters portraying propaganda for the Corps of Cadets which were arranged throughout campus. Hours went into crafting the images, deciding which pieces were fit to print and would best advance the intended message, and which order would maximize the message value.

This is not an apology.

We absolutely stand by what we have unleashed, and we fully believe that any subsequent offense has resulted from either a misunderstanding of the heart of the message or a willful ignorance to the unpleasant reality it presents.

Every article we write and every stunt we orchestrate is for the singular purpose of satire, which we have made clear in our mission statement above. The essence of satire is truth, or what we like to call, the heart of the message. This heart reflects reality and is found deeper than the instinctive reaction. There is strong correlation between the truth of the message and the response that the message garners. This idea has been indisputably witnessed with Thursday’s stunt and subsequent reaction.

The heart of this collection is in exposing a tension at the core of Texas A&M culture, namely, the implicit rivalry between the Corps of Cadets and the non-reg student body. We have witnessed firsthand this conflict during our time here at A&M, with such occurrences as the flag event at the Greek Bid Day a few years ago and the recent scandal involving the yell leader elections.

The purpose of this message was to present this reality to the public sphere of discussion. We hoped this would encourage open and free dialogue, and ultimately put this division to rest and bring the Aggie family closer together.

We believe we presented this reality in its most extreme form through the use of propaganda—which by its very nature is extreme. Our hope was that its satirical nature would be immediately obvious by those of the Texas A&M community. Unfortunately, this message has been mostly lost by those who have misinterpreted the intent and attributed malice to The Mugdown staff or others. Some have even gone as far as to say that we are not deserving of membership in the Aggie family.

Are we not Aggies for bringing to light a truth that others are unable or unwilling to admit? Are we not Aggies for promoting discussion on what we believe to be a very real and very troubling aspect of Texas A&M culture? Are we not Aggies because we desire a truly unified campus and not simply its illusion?

The posters were all designed to communicate various aspects of the same message, and were intended to be taken as a whole—which is why we placed them in close proximity to one another. Unfortunately, much of the substance of the message is lost when the pieces are taken individually, and this undoubtedly led to the misconceptions which have arisen in their wake.

Specifically, the poster that received the most backlash is the piece depicting Steven Lanz in opposition with the other yell leaders. This is intentionally the least subtle of the collection and is reasonably unsettling when taken out of context.

This past election was one of the most controversial events to hit our campus in a long time, and it hit a huge nerve in corps and non-reg communities alike. The mentality expressed in the poster, that Lanz is representative of an enemy that has infiltrated the sacred ranks of Yell Leader, is one that we truly believe exists in some circles—and is in direct opposition with the Aggie spirit. We believe that this poster hits so hard because of the truth it exposes, and bringing that truth out of the shadows is paramount to healing and growth in the Aggie community.

Is the reality depicted in the poster “bad bull?” Absolutely. Is the subtle tension between the corps and non-reg students a real and tangible part of the Texas A&M community? Without question. Does that make this piece of satire or its creators responsible for the truth it exposes, as uncomfortable as it may be? Absolutely not. If you were offended, if you were outraged, if you were appalled, upset, called for our expulsion, or went to your keyboards to demand justice, then it was because of the reality that these posters addressed—not the posters themselves.

This week, we held a mirror to the face of Aggieland and reflected a problem that we have shown to exist. The Corps is not the enemy. Greek life is not the enemy. Steven Lanz is not the enemy. And we at The Mugdown are certainly not the enemy. However, the enemy is indeed among us—among us and within us—and as long as we suppress public discourse and allow anti-Aggie sentiments to perpetuate, the enemy will continue to tear our family apart.

Thanks and Gig ‘Em,

The Mugdown

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Best Friends Accidentally Walk under Century Tree Together, Now Gay

In a strange twist of fate, two Texas A&M students became gay today after walking, and then eventually prancing, under the century tree together. The students, Marcus Gladden and Tanner Elliott, have been friends since high school, and they say the event was an accident.

“We were pretty late to a fish camp counselor meeting, so we were just hurrying and not really paying attention to where we were going,” Elliott explained. “By the time we realized what had happened, it was too late. We went into the tree with an appropriate 18 inches of buffer space between us, but we came out holding hands.”

“This isn’t exactly the way I saw my romantic life ending up. Marcus is a great guy, but he’s just never really been my type,” Gladden said, “But what are you going to do? We have these rules for a reason and we have to respect that.”

The two friends were already planning to get an apartment together next semester and are now even more excited to do so. However, they maintain that they are both just hapless pawns in the unforgiving chess game of Aggie traditions. Gladden said he’s just happy they didn’t accidentally step on the MSC grass and have to commit seppuku.

Elliott said he is planning on breaking the news to his parents later this week but that he is confident they’ll take it well, as he comes from a very traditional aggie family with a deep respect for Texas A&M’s culture.

“My parents always raised me to be a red-ass, and I know they’ll understand when I explain that this red-ass will now be squeezing into much tighter pants,” Elliott said, but he went on to admit that he is scared to tell his now ex-girlfriend about her new title.

When asked how their new sexual identities will affect their lives in the future, Elliott revealed that he is now planning on picking up a theatre minor. Additionally, Gladden said he will continue to work out at the Rec in tight tank tops.

-CPP

This article was written by a fan. If you or anyone you know may be interested in contributing a post or idea to the site, feel free to share it with us or ask us questions at themugdown@gmail.com!

Fish Camp Counselors begin Shift towards “Exclusive Uniqueness”

“Be yourself – as long as you dye your hair and get piercings to fit in”

For many Aggies around College Station, it is the most exciting part of the spring semester: new Fish Camp camps. Though times are becoming increasingly tough for applicants, the lucky few thousand who do get funneled into the rainbow tutu world of snapbacks and powerpoints are getting into the swing of their schedules being rocked by an intense load of hangouts, DP’s, Groupme explosions, and denim infused photoshoots.

As new counselors are being selected, it is also a time for freshmen to reflect on their experience last summer, and how it has affected their college experience so far.

“Fish camp changed my life,” freshman biology major Anne Williams said, “Coming into college, I loved my hair and my face, but Fish Camp helped me realize that four piercings and rainbow hair makes me so much more unique, and I love that I get to add to the growing diversity of this campus.”

“The feeling of belonging definitely changed my experience for the better,” said David Ericsson, a freshman history major, “I thought I had mastered inside jokes in middle school, but Fish Camp introduced me to a whole new world of exclusiveness of such depth that even I have a hard time following what my fellow counselors are saying.”

Fish Camp has been a favorite tradition at Texas A&M for thousands of students every year, and as the culture of Texas A&M changes, Fish Camp has no trouble keeping up.

Former Counselor and now Co-Chair Evelynn Perry said that she has seen tremendous growth in the Fish Camp trends over the years, from the increase in facial piercings to the expansion from highlights to full blown hair dye.

When asked if maybe there was concern that incoming freshmen might actually feel excluded by the intensity of Fish Camp, particularly the new piercings and colorings, counselors seemed a bit perplexed by the question. The philosophy behind altering one’s appearance and only being a Myers-Briggs ENFP personality type is designed to make everyone feel comfortable and included in a judgement free zone.

Though there have been whispers of possibly accepting introverts in coming years, Fish Camp will remain a rainbow of screaming and unintelligible chanting to any passerby. Fortunately, statistics lead us to be confident that at least 10 percent of freshmen will be comfortable in their skin at Lakeview this summer.

-Panda Expressions

First Year Language Student becomes Master Linguist

On Monday of this week, sophomore-by-hours student Alec Reagan Douglas unraveled the secret that has plagued linguists for centuries: the pronunciation of the language Latin.

Douglas started out this semester in French 101, but soon found it to be beneath him. While attending the first class he quickly conquered the basics, and after casually skimming through the textbook, he easily learned all that he could learn from that language as a whole.

“I mean, learning another language isn’t hard,” Douglas said, “I’m already speaking to French women.”

Douglas soon discovered he possessed a special gift. After renting out Rosetta Stone for several languages, Douglas quickly learned Spanish, German, Russian, Mandarin, Korean, Navajo, Swahili, Canadian, and Aboriginal.

The language department, after hearing about how Douglas successfully talked to the student workers at the front desk of the Evans Library in the Farsi he had learned that morning, challenged the 19-year-old to unlock the lost pronunciations of Latin.

“I just tried to think, ‘How would [the Romans] say it’,” said Douglas, “and I simply spoke. It was easy.”

Douglas never intended such vast accomplishments, but he isn’t particularly surprised that he has done so. Next week, Douglas will be unraveling the greatest language mystery of all time: deciphering ancient Egyptian.

-Samurai Sully

Students Pose as Family: Receive Aid from Big Event

In a stroke of lazy and entitled brilliance, two seniors registered as a family in order to get free labor from The Big Event this year. The students, economics major Clay Morton and history major Stephen Shields, pretended to be an elderly couple who needed help with household chores. Both enrolled in law school this next semester, Morton and Shields took advantage of poor wording on the sign-up form to argue that they are in fact “seniors” and “citizens”.

“Our house has been pretty rank the past few months since Stephen is lazy and refuses to do the dishes or take out the trash,” said Morton. “I’m the responsible one, so I figured I should do the mature thing and get someone else to do it.”

“Don’t listen to anything that Clay tells you,” Shields yelled in response, “It was his turn to do the dishes and he knows it. I did them the last two times!”

The group sent by Big Event was shocked upon arriving at their job site to discover they would be working for two senior students instead of the senior citizens they had expected. Luckily, Shields informed us, The Big Event group was made up of Corps fish, so they just instinctively did everything the upperclassmen told them to do.

“What else were we supposed to do, think for ourselves? We’re not damn t-sips,” said Neil Balder, freshman general studies major and one of the members of The Big Event group.

Morton and Shields said they were very satisfied with the group’s job performance. The Big Event group did the dishes, swept the floors, took out the trash, and did basically everything else your mom used to do for you. Balder said he thought the group was able to be so effective because of the tools that Big Event Staff provided to them: two broken rakes, and a paint tray with no paint or brushes.

“It feels good to just get out into the community and help people who really need it. It’s hard work but we’re making a difference out here,” said Balder, who then mumbled something about embodying core values. Balder went on to say he can’t wait to brag to all of his high school friends about how he volunteers and is superior in every way.

-CPP

This article was written by a fan. If you or anyone you know may be interested in contributing a post or idea to the site, feel free to share it with us or ask us questions at themugdown@gmail.com!

Student Complains after Completing The Big Obligation

With the completion of The Big Obligation 2015, students returned to class sunburnt and anxious for their well-earned afternoon nap. While The Big Obligation may have made the weekend feel shorter, most students are coming away from Saturday with satisfaction, certain that they made a difference in the Bryan/College Station area.

However, one student was less than thrilled with his Big Obligation experience.

“I can’t believe how disorganized it was,” said Mark Portum, junior civil engineering major. “I sat in traffic for hours. Then there weren’t any more ladders when I got to the front of the tool line. On top of that my group got split up!”

He expressed that he felt guilted into participating this year. In years past, it was a fun thing he did with his organizations. But this year, Portum felt that he was just going through the motions.

“I almost didn’t sign up, but when I told my friends, they looked at me like I was some kind of freak,” said Portum.

Upon his arrival to his work site, the middle-aged couple asked them to weed their garden and unclog the gutters. This offended Portum and his fellow engineers, as they felt their mental capacities could be better used for more in-depth jobs, such as painting or building a swing set.

“These people even forgot to order us lunch. So we’re slaving away on their gutters, and they don’t even have the decency to remember to provide food,” Portum said. “I do the Big Obligation to do a good thing. But this year I just realized how little my efforts are appreciated.”

He resolved that this would be his final year, and no guilt-trips of selfless service or fashionable t-shirts will sway him into signing up again after having such a poor experience this year.

-Lone Star Lady

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