CLARIFICATION re: “A Modern Modest Proposal”


The Martlet ran a story in its Humour section on March 14 (Volume 65, Issue 27) titled, “A Modern Modest Proposal: How to liberate the destitute and drug-addicted from their plight and for their potential to fuel the local economy.” We received a number of complaints from readers about the article, many of which are published on page 8.

The Martlet wishes to clarify that this piece was intended as satire — hence its inclusion in the Humour section. The Martlet in no way condones the killing of any person or group of persons for any purpose. The piece was modelled after Jonathan Swift’s 1729 essay, “A Modest Proposal,” in which Swift satirically suggested the Irish eat their own children — an outrageous proposal meant to elicit aversion in readers while spurring them to reflect on poverty and social ills.

The Martlet apologizes to any readers who were led to believe, because of this piece’s inclusion under the “Humour” banner, that its intent was to elicit a laugh. It was not. The piece was written as absurd satire, and its intent was to prompt discussion about callous and hateful attitudes towards homeless and street-involved persons.

The Martlet also recognizes that intent is not always clearly conveyed in execution. After hearing concerns from community members, the Martlet has removed the piece from its website and will, with future satire pieces, ensure editors achieve a greater degree of clarity when honing the writer’s message, particularly when it pertains to already marginalized groups.

The Martlet will continue to publish satire as we believe that, when done right, it can be a successful tool in a publication’s arsenal. In this spirit, we have published a satirical feature in this issue.

The Martlet thanks its readers for their feedback. Without it, we cannot gauge how well we are doing or what needs to be improved.