Throughout the pages of the 1912 Cornhusker, there is much evidence that Dana VanDusen knew that some of the material he and his staff were producing would not be pleasing to his classmates or the faculty of the university. Within the first few pages of the Cornhusker, there is a page entitled “Expected Criticisms” in which many complaints against the book are preemptively addressed in VanDusen’s sarcastic tone. One such preconceived complaint along with VanDusen’s reply goes as follows: “’Those slang descriptions and sketches are a disgrace to a college publication.’ If they get you mad, just think how we feel.” This instance shows that the staff of the Cornhusker felt as if it were their responsibility to reveal, through satire and sarcasm, truth about the life of the university within the pages of their book.
Another example of VanDusen’s knowledge that he might upset some of his readers comes in the form of an open letter to the publications board. In this letter, VanDusen points out the many reasons that editor of The Cornhusker should be a paid position. The letter begins by saying “Censure is the usual potion of those who loudly demand a reward for their own labors, however meritorious.” In this statement, VanDusen makes it plain that he expects to be censored, although perhaps not for the reasons he would actually be censored for later on. It seems that he thought his demand for future editors to be paid would be more upsetting to faculty and students than many of the cartoons that showed the university and its students in unflattering light. Click on the image for a transcription of the letter.
The very last page of the Cornhusker is a cartoon of Dana VanDusen and Harry Coffee being chased by an angry mob, saying “Well anyhow we done our damndest!” This is perhaps the best example that VanDusen predicted the anger of students and faculty. Click on the blacked-out image to see the uncensored version.