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|Observer Publishes Edgy Article About Girl Who Davens Maariv|
|Written by Eli Lebowicz|
|Sunday, 11 December 2011|
Nowhere But Here.
Last week, The Observer, Stern College’s non-satirical news source, published an article that did more than just raise a few waxed eyebrows across the YU community.
The article entitled “Overzealous Girl Davens Maariv” sparked tremendous controversy across the Jewish world, leading many to debate whether or not it was appropriate for a YU newspaper to discuss the topic of Maariv so publicly. One side adamantly voiced the opinion that, although one Stern girl may decide to daven Maariv, she by no means represents the norm of the student body. The other side affirmed that women davening Maariv is not that big of a deal, and although the piece in question was weird and bizarre, it wasn’t really offensive.
Then there was a group of people in the middle who weren’t really sure what the hell was going on, most just wondering why the writer had called her cousin afterwards. One student stumbled upon the article by accident. He said, “I was just trying to find the website that tells you about free food.”
The Observer has never cowered from toeing the lines of controversy. Some previous pieces that were met with outrage include: “Segula of Eating Shwarma to Find Bashert Doesn’t Seem to Be Working,” “Brookdale Lounge Bathroom Voted Most Convenient in the City,” and “Stern Girl Unsure how to Spend Summer: Taking LSAT or Getting Engaged.” Despite the uproar their articles created, The Observer defended its writers and their right to write about whatever topics they choose, no matter how arbitrary they may be.
The Observer isn’t the only YU publication that has recently defended its edgy material. Just a few weeks ago, The Associate—previously demoted from The Executive and slated for demotion yet again to The Intern—published an angry, but still inadvertently humorous piece bashing The Quipster, the fortieth YU newspaper. The over-the-top rant, which set a record for most times a thesaurus had been consulted in one article, was filled with ridiculous claims, like fascist dictator Adolf Hitler loving Mountain Dew, and the registrar at YU being awesome. It was written in response to a Quipster article discussing how Syms School of Business (SSB) would be renamed Business School, or BS for short. The Associate article was outraged that this clever article recounted every BS aspect of YU except the BS newspaper itself. The Quipster apologized for the oversight, but made a case that they simply forgot the paper existed. The Editor-in-Chief of The Associate then released a university-wide email swelling with pride at her obsoleteness, stating that the paper’s articles will remain unedited and authentic, no matter how many spelling errors or Nazi references are in them.
This whole journalistic tumult has put YU in a position as awkward as a horrible shidduch date. The university maintains that it wants its students to be able to voice their opinions, but, as one official put it, “Maariv can’t just be discussed so explicitly and provocatively. We tried, through different PR means, to distract people from the controversy. Why do you think we released the Maccabeats from the dungeon in Muss hall where we usually keep them?”
This has been a hectic week around Yeshiva University. One administrator said, “YU is a model of Modern Orthodoxy. It serves as a beacon of hope… oh crap.”