Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Riling the Edgerton community

Last week I ran a photo collage of some Edgerton Halloween parties. There was a sexy teachers, flight attendant, a slightly inebriated bumble bee, a vampire king and queen, demons, nun, fairies, Ironman, witches, the list goes on and on. When my page and a half of photos was complete, I had a collection of some very interesting characters. I could not run the photo of the man dressed as a Hooters chick with fake boobs hanging out, but I did get a go ahead on the following photo:

But alas, there was no blowback, no problems with Matt King playing willing sacrifice to devil's minion Cassie Nottestad and her vampire queen mother, Terri Nottestad. Surprisingly, it was the picture of the Lakeview Campground Halloween contest winners that irked the locals.

The accompanying caption: Edgerton resident Ken Kueng, dressed as a terrorist, won for scariest costume at Lakeview Campground, while the crowd could not decide whether Kristen Ransom (teacher) of Evansville or Stephanie Jacobson (stewardess) of Janesville was the sexiest, resulting in a tie.

Here are the results:

"It was fun seeing all the Halloween pictures in the paper, all except one! I feel publishing the picture of the terrorist as a winner of a costume contest was in poor taste in light of all the recent shootings and bombings throughout the world. Halloween is about having fun, this was a little too realistic and offensive to me. Thank you for listening and I do really enjoy reading the paper every week." - Disappointed Reader, Cindy Johnson

The second letter writer was a little more agitated.

"I would like to express my sincere concern about the Halloween section of the most recently published Reporter. A man (who won a costume contest) was pictured in a turban, long beard, holding a gun and the display read "Terrorist." By publishing this picture, it solidifies the idea that negative stereotypes about a certain culture are okay. I was disgusted to see that the town that I grew up in was openly promoting negative images of a certain group. Who knows what kind of implications this picture might have on some members of our community. Please think before you publish something so distasteful and wrong." - Bethany Wedvick

I must admit, I personally get bothered when people treat all people from the Middle East like they are terrorists. At the same time, I cannot deny that since 9/11, our society has been programmed to do just that. My own cousin a couple years ago admitted to wanting to get off an airplane after seeing someone of Middle Eastern descent, and I was outraged.

When I ran this photo, my intention was to show the Halloween costume winners, not to make a political statement.
And while it was a little frustrating to hear that people were bothered by the picture, I am also a little proud that something I did infuriated not one, but two people so much they felt the need to write a Letter to the Editor. More than three years in Sun Prairie working for The Star, and I that never happened.

And like I told my boss: "Instead of complaining about the terrorist winning most scary, they should be relieved the man in assless chaps did not win for most sexy OR scary." Thankfully she chuckled.

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