A recent issue of the C-Ville Weekly included a paragraph from “The Rant” that read as follows:
To all you black motherf#$%ers running up here to the Charlottesville restaurants looking for free food, we wouldn’t be known as a restaurant, we would be know as a food bank. So, from now on when you bring your black ass into a restaurant in Charlottesville and want free food, carry your asses to a food bank. Thank you.
This was received poorly, as Marcella Robertson reported for NBC-29 yesterday. Protesters gathered in front of the newspaper’s Downtown Mall office, resulting in editor Giles Morris reading a prepared statement of apology to them. The paper also ran an apology in the current week’s issue. (I would link to the original piece or the apology on C-Ville Weekly’s site, but I cannot find either.)
Unfortunately, the paper’s response is to simply keep a tighter rein on the section (“rants that are sexist, racist, or in any way espouse points of view motivated by hate will not run in the paper”), rather than to finally axe the execrable embarrassment that is “The Rant.” If they don’t publish any comments “motivated by hate,” there would be virtually nothing left. The very purpose of it is to provide a public forum for people to say things that they would never say with their name attached to it, comments that would never otherwise be printed in the paper. It’s been some years since “The Rant” was added to the weekly, and it has cheapened the publication markedly ever since. (Most tellingly, they’re happy to print nasty remarks about individuals, but they censor the names of businesses that are criticized. Businesses advertise in the newspaper, of course, while individuals do not.) Morris would be smart to go beyond sanitizing “The Rant,” and just kill it. The newspaper and Charlottesville would be better for it.