WUndergound celebrates 50th issue with full color
Washington University’s most colorful publication is celebrating its fiftieth issue by transitioning to a full-color paper.
WUnderground, self-described as “Wash U’s Premier [only] Satirical Newspaper” and notable for its frequent references to penises and poop, has more than doubled its circulation in the past few years, but not without ruffling some feathers in the process.
Last year, the group received flack for an Underpass ad featuring scantily-clad—and unintentionally faceless—women and for a word-on-the-street-style section in which George Washington responded to the new campus tobacco ban by asking, “Then what will the slaves grow?”
More recently, it ran an article about the Mars Rover discovering life on the Fontbonne University campus, though notably not “intelligent life,” that some readers from outside the University unfamiliar with the publication found offensive. It also started the joke-Facebook page “Wash. U. Backhanded Compliments” about fake University students.
“We never set out trying to offend people. I feel like sometimes that’s a misconception,” senior and Editor-in-Chief Jeff Leibovich said. “We’re trying to be funny, so when people get upset, that’s a bad thing from our point of view.”
The issue may not technically be the paper’s fiftieth publication, but the group’s editors chose not to count its 2006 “Best Of” issue or coloring book.
This semester, they began distributing papers to several businesses on the Delmar Loop.
In the coming months, they plan to amend the publication’s masthead and website and print more frequently—once every three or four weeks.
“WUnderground used to be very underground, not many people knew about it,” senior and President David Drucker said. “But now we’ve become much more visible…so visible that freshmen are ripping off our jokes and posting them as a Facebook status.”
Freshman and WUnderground writer Juliet Zirn joined WUnderground to be able to use a more conversational, sarcastic style than she was able to use for her high school newspaper.
“It’s just a really good time,” Zirn said. “We just shoot out jokes, and we’re all laughing at each other, and no one takes themselves too seriously. And I think [joining was] one of the best decisions I have made thus far.”
Many students said they enjoy the paper that provides the University with a local version of The Onion.
“I think it’s really funny,” sophomore Eden Lewis said. “Some of [the articles] are borderline inappropriate, but it’s funny. And I think everyone knows that it’s all in good humor, so it’s fine.”
“It’s fun to read for the same reason you might read the comics or whatever, but I don’t think I would prefer it over, like, a normal paper,” Lewis added.
“I honestly only see it when I’m walking around the DUC and I’ll read a couple headlines. Most of the time, it gives me a good laugh,” senior Ross Passo said.
With additional reporting by Sadie Smeck.