Feb 242002

I’ll be the first to admit The Collegian has been good to me. That’s why it’s so difficult to say that, quite frequently, I’m embarrassed that I appear in this newspaper. A primary source of my humiliation-by-association is the “Our View” pseudo-column which typically stinks up every opinion page.

While it is true that “Our View”-type columns regularly appear in “grownup” newspapers, rarely do the real ones stridently assert notions that are widely held by the populace to be intellectually backward. This fact doesn’t seem to stop The Collegian’s editorial board from boldly leaping, time and time again, into uncharted regions of stupidity.

Whether they’re extolling the virtues of John Walker Lindh or informing all males that they suffer from some kind of innate inner-rapist, “Our View” repeatedly demonstrates a delusional extremism which is (thankfully) not representative of the majority of the student body. Furthermore, the editorial board frequently produces columns which evidence a foolhardy opposition against the student body /_” their primary readership.

Take, for example, last Friday’s revolting serenade sung to Kay Rios and the oxymoronic “Parking Services.” If The Collegian Editorial Board’s intention was to come off sounding like pretentious, butt-slobbering sycophants, then allow me to be the first to congratulate them.

Students who feel cheated by Parking Services are, in the simplistic judgment of The Collegian’s brilliant editorial staff, “paranoid.” Any person who raises a valid concern about the parking situation is merely hurling “insult after insult.” Toward the end of the piece, the editorial board snidely talks down to the student body, giving them “a few helpful reminders” of simple facts – as if the campus readership were comprised of kindergartners.

I’d bet serious money that nine out of 10 students on this campus believe that paying $70 dollars for a frequently non-existent parking space is a complete rip-off. I’d also bet that nine out of 10 students feel that parking lot designations are Byzantine at best, particularly when certain rows have a bizarre tendency to abruptly shift from a ‘Z’ zone into something else entirely. And I’ll bet that nine out of 10 students were completely baffled by the contempt spewed at them from last Friday’s “Our View.”

The most pitifully charming aspect of each “Our View” pseudo-column is the way the editors act as if they’re some kind of student authority which “rules” through systematic nagging, pretentious shaming, or downright weeping about what is perceived to be widespread “apathy.” The irony (and hypocrisy) is that it’s the editorial board that is truly apathetic.

If the parking situation is something that the student body cares strongly about, why the condescension from “Our View?” Why the insinuation that parking frustration is somehow unfashionable or passe? Could it be that the editorial board’s trendy pet causes simply aren’t selling well in the marketplace of public ideas? Could the barely-veiled contempt for the student body be a way of bitterly lashing out at the campus instead of owning up to the fact that their ideas frequently suck?

I don’t know. I can tell you this: I have no role in the “Our View” junk factory. Last Friday’s ill-conceived installment insulted my intelligence just as much as it probably insulted yours. It’d be nice if the editors could spend more time evaluating the content and logical ramifications of their work, but they’re likely too wrapped up in vainglorious delusion. If only they realized they have no reason to be narcissistic.

Regardless, for my sake, please forgive them. They know not what they do.

Jon Watkins is a senior majoring in English.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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