While many large municipalities can support only one daily newspapers, The University of Wisconsin-Madison itself supports two different student dailies, the Daily Cardinal and the Badger Herald. One of the papers started in protest of the other's not being radical enough in its coverage of the Vietnam War, or something like that. Anyway, I've hardly ever looked at either of them because, well, I never found it particularly interesting to read student newspapers when I was a student, so why would I start now?
However, a visitor left one of the papers in my office today, while the other was on the floor in the hallway outside my office. Seems that both papers did April Fools' pages today, and so I thought I would check out what they came up with. You would think, given that they have to play the role of serious journalists the rest of year, they would revel and triumph in the opportunity to cut loose.
The Daily Cardinal was, in fact, funny. "Drunken Spanish presentation leaves class horrified, impressed" with a photo of a slovenly looking undergrad pointing at a whiteboard with a giant scrawled ¡Hola! That's funny. "Confused student group forgets the point of protest" with a photo of people holding up signs that say "Kerry 4 Prez", "Don't Taze Pigs" and "Poop". Reasonably funny. A front story about the mayor offering to hold one of Madison's rowdier block parties at his home. Funny enough. "Spot on the Rug Just Keeps Getting Bigger." A little too self-consciously Onionish, but not bad.
But, dear God, is the Badger Herald's April Fools effort lame. Presumably, if I read the actual Badger Herald, if I would find it more unintentionally amusing than the extent to which this issue amuses. Unfortunately, as far as I can tell, the Badger Herald doesn't have any online link to any of the April Fools content, so I can't give you a portal so you can witnessing all its failed-funniness for yourself.
About a third of the first page is given to this inexplicable cartoon of two looks-like-chicken birds dressed in pimp and prostitute attire with the caption "Big pimping". Yeah, side-splitting, I know. In line with standard mock-newspaper fare, they offer a set of joke horoscopes, which may be lazy humor would at least seem reasonably hard to mess up. However, look:
In other parts, I'm not sure if the people writing this just thought, "You know, all we have to do is vomit up some stuff that's politically incorrect, and everybody'll think we're hilarious!" You'd think, for example, that being less than one year removed from a TA strike, something funny could be wrought from the longstanding battle between the TA union and the University. Instead, this is the best they can do: