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:
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.