Latest Chimes spoof causes campus stir
Edited satirical edition not printed

The annual publication of the spoof issue of Chimes, Calvin's student newspaper, is always met with a mixture of anticipation and angst.

The Bananer
Calvin College for Dummies
Covers from previous Chimes spoof issues

What format will the satirical look at the college and society take this year? At which persons and at what topics will the Chimes staff aim its sharpened pens?

Few know the answer to these questions until the spring launch of the latest attempt by the Chimes leadership. And ever since the famous (and, at the time, campus-shaking) 1971 spoof of the Christian Reformed Church's magazine, the Banner (the Chimesters dubbed it the Bananer), there's campus wonder about how the spoof issue will be received.

This May, the latest version of the Chimes spoof, Cliché, may have generated the most scrutiny and campus debate of any spoof issue since the Bananer.

Cliché was patterned after denominational devotional booklets that contain short meditations on a variety of subjects.

Due to some concern over the last few spoof issues, the college's faculty governance student life committee set up a review board of faculty, staff and students to work with the Chimes staff to guide the production process.

Although the review board members spent many hours in dialogue and negotiation with the Chimes staff, the end result was that about one-third of the content of this year's spoof was deemed suitable for publication.

Chimes decided not to print anything. But although Cliché was not published in hard text, some Chimes staffers contacted alumni and had them post the spoof on the Web. Word got out quickly that this year's send-up was online.

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Student Life Division Response

Alumni Responses

The ensuing debate involved flurries of e-mails, open forums on campus and spirited debate on the boundaries of satirical work in a Christian academic setting. This fall, the governance committee plans to take up the conversation again to examine the place and process for this journalistic tradition.