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Editorial Cartoon: Peace in Gaza
Editorial Cartoon: Peace in Gaza
Published April 19, 2024

Satirical comments about Madison made me famous

In my last purely sarcastic column, “University Homecoming moving to Madison,” I briefly commented on how Minnesotans could show Wisconsinites a good time during the Madison Halloween festivities. Boy, did that get me into a lot of trouble. At least three other newspapers, 20 first-time readers of my column, a University official and one Madison television station related those satirical statements to events that actually took place in Madison.

The good news is that people actually read this junk. The bad news is that a few people didn’t realize that what they read was just a joke, so I became kind of a scapegoat for Minnesota’s rowdiness in Madison. Luckily, I didn’t – and still don’t – care. I find people’s ignorance on the subject utterly hilarious.

During an interview I had with the Badger Herald’s Chris Werner, I was led to believe that Minnesotans represented 90 percent of the people arrested or cited Halloween weekend. When asked for comment, I obviously decided to take the politically incorrect, humor columnist approach. “This means that Minnesota people are more hard core in general,” I said. That got me into some trouble, but as I mentioned, I don’t care about that. However, I do care that Minnesotans were wrongly and hastily blamed for the riots by Madison City Council President and Alderman Mike Verveer and by Gopher-bashing “witnesses” mentioned in newspapers. The real facts are mentioned in Koran Addo’s Nov. 4 article “Minnesotans blamed for Madison riot.”

Preliminary reports show that 334 people were cited total. Only 27 percent of these people were from Minnesota, which, quite frankly, makes sense. Anybody could guess that, because of reciprocity, a large percentage of people who attend Wisconsin are from Minnesota (and vice versa). That alone should account for the percentage of Minnesotans arrested or cited. Furthermore, the University is one of the largest schools in the Midwest, so more of its students went to Madison based on sheer proportionality.

I understand it might have looked like an unusually high number of Minnesotans were troublemakers because they had to be taken to the police station for ticketing, etc. But still, people should have got the facts straight before blame was cast on our precious University.

One article I read went so far as to include claims that people were chanting the “Minnesota Rouser.” One, this is stupid (I love that argument), and two, I know people who were there who never heard any Minnesota songs.

Either way, Madison should quit its whining and move on. When all was said and done, the damages were pretty minor. Although this is no excuse for that behavior, I believe it is a sign that things will get better for Madison Halloweens of the future. People shouldn’t focus on the rioting, but rather, the crazy costumes, the drunken foolishness, the beautiful city of Madison and the rioting – er, I mean, the Halloween spirit.

Mat Koehler is a columnist. He welcomes comments at [email protected]

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