Un-PC Halloween Costumes Cut Both Ways

By November 3, 2006

The Ivygate blog today posted pictures from the annual Halloween party hosted by University of Pennsylvania President Amy Gutmann. Gutmann appears to have been some kind of a fairy godmother/Cinderella/princess, and is pictured posing next to a student dressed as a suicide bomber. 
 
 
Just as the Sigma Chi frat boys at Johns Hopkins are being painted as lynch-happy racists, Gutmann had better prepare herself for accusations that she scoffs at suicide bombing, that she doesn’t support the troops, that she thinks 9/11 was no big deal.
 
But I think that other university presidents could learn a lot from Gutmann’s nonchalance about this photo (she seems so happy!). Wouldn’t Sigma Chi be better off if JHU President William Brody was able to laugh off potentially offensive Halloween costumes? Am I the only one who thinks that these costumes, just like this one, are funny exactly because they’re so unsavory?
 
Lest Halloween parties become the next frontier for the campus sensitivity police, people need to recognize that Halloween is a good time for satire, and that sometimes a costume is just a costume.