Before I start talking about opinions, I want to disclose to all my readers that I, indeed, am what is called an “opinion-monger,” a “shaper of public sentiment,” a “mouthpiece of the cultural empire.” It’s my unpaid and undervalued job to tell you what to think (drunk people are cool), what to do (pillage Branford College), and who to have sex with (me).
But recently, I have noticed other “opinion-mongers” — or columnists, whatever — use their powers for petty evil and self-aggrandizement. This is, first of all, morally repugnant to me. The printed word is a sacred thing. It beautifies, it glorifies; what is smelly BS in the mind of the writer can become pure gold through the alchemy of the press. But these new “columnists” are despoiling Gutenberg’s great heritage — in throwing their crap around so haphazardly, they have dirtied the process itself.
Nowadays, every time that I open to the Opinions page of any campus publication, it’s individualism this, feminism that, gay marriage this, Hashemi that. What is all this garbage? Who the fuck is Hashemi, and why the fuck do we care about whether he got into Yale or not? What happened to all the party reviews, UFO sightings, and celebrity profiles?
But what’s worse, these “columnists” are as hard to stamp out as a viral infection. In epidemiology, these guys would be known as the “super-spreaders.” Every time one of them churns out a column, they infect a hundred people. These 100 people go out and have conversational sex with 100 other people, and the process goes on and on until everyone is infected with the stupid-disease.
However, just small doses of these guys should be enough to vaccinate you for the rest of your life. Let’s look at an example. In his Oct. 25, 2005 column, “The ignoble indifference of the individualist,” Peter Johnston ’09 wrote, “In their interpretation of America’s founding doctrine, individualists substitute a destructive philosophy of unmitigated choice in place of the truly American …” okay okay, that’s enough.
Well, I have to admit, Mr. Johnston, your earnestness makes me laugh. Reading your column is like biting into a bar of 90% chocolate: so rich, and yet oh so, so bitter.
Still, I have to give you credit. You got into Yale. To worm your way past the rest of the columnists, you must have been devious, cunning, ruthless and, given your probable lack of sense, also ridiculously good-looking. But I’m on to you. People, in general, are on to you.
But worry not Mr. Johnston, you are not the only transgressor of such bad taste and ape-like simplicity on campus. I am ashamed to admit this, but many — if not most — of these rabid and freakish columnists come from the freshman class. Too many of them are in DS, and too few of them seem to have any common sense.
Compared to the class of ’08, we’re like the physically deficient and slightly retarded little half-brother who was abandoned in the dumpster. Mother Yale had been acting a bit slutty and didn’t really want us, but she was too stoned to make the trek to the hospital.
But there is cause for hope. Unlike that poor dumpster baby, we’re big boys now, and if we want to change our diapers, we can do it ourselves. Here are some starters:
One: Verbal vomit only works in high school. You now live in a community where almost everybody is a champion BSer. Even if your previous English teachers couldn’t tell the difference between ostensibly grandiloquent prolixity and actual writing, most of your current readers can.
Two: “The Real World” is not a legitimate cultural reference. Why? It just isn’t. For that matter, neither is “The O.C.,” “Sex in the City,” or “Girls Gone Wild” (hint hint, Herald).
Three: Apathy, apathy, apathy. No one cares. Look at the juniors and seniors. None of them care. But I can’t work up the will to bother with pushing this too much, so if you can amass even one iota of cold cynicism and sardonic wit, that’s probably enough.
But something still gnaws at my heart. Bulldog Days is fast approaching, and soon a new class will rise from the waves and menace over the horizon. The cycle will repeat, over and over again. Something needs to be done. We need a task force or something that will tell the pre-frosh that no one cares about their opinions and that they should just shut up. Or, of course, we could just never admit a freshman class again. Zero per cent acceptance rate: take that, Harvard.