Compostmodernist: Biting the hand that feeds

Dieter Huneryager

Because we’ve reached the halfway point of this term, I think it might be useful to review the front page headlines that have graced the front pages of this publication so far this term. Here they are in chronological order: “Vijay and Hainze win Watson Fellowship and Fulbright,” “Hulbert, Neitzel and Terzuolo win Fulbright Scholarships,” “Orr wins American Council of Education Fellowship,” and “Purdy ’38 Awarded Degree for Environmental Conservation Efforts.”
If I’m not mistaken, each of these stories was broken to the public on the Lawrence University homepage at least two weeks in advance of its Lawrentian publishing. This means that The Lawrentian has apparently ceased to be a news source and is gradually coming to resemble Parade Magazine more and more every week.
Here’s an example of how low the readership’s expectations are for the level of interest of an average Lawrentian: Two weeks ago, Will Muessig published a clever editorial comic about how Sig Ep’s Peace and Harmony party was, in fact, a cover-up for the pimps and ho’s party. A friend of mine, upon seeing this comic, was shocked and tickled that The Lawrentian had the chutzpah to admit that the SigEp party had nothing to do with peace and harmony. Is this newspaper so lame that the fact that it is willing to publish common knowledge about a quasi-controversial subject is shocking to the general readership?
I too have run into trouble with The Lawrentian’s editors for some of my incredibly shocking comments. The column I wrote last week almost wasn’t published because I repeatedly used the term “sucks,” because apparently we’re in middle school. Fortunately, that one somehow made it through, but not all of my articles have been so fortunate.
Three weeks earlier, an article I wrote for the April Fools edition of The Lawrentian was deemed too offensive for publication. The article was a column discussing whether or not Jill Beck was foxier than previous college presidents. At no point do I describe Beck’s or anyone else’s physical attributes, but the fact that I suggest that any Lawrence presidents could be judged by their appearance – mind you, this is in our annual satiric edition – censoring this is simply puritanical.
The problem of deliberate blandness is not limited to this publication. Every year, SOUP manages to hire the worst comedians possible to perform at Lawrence. Google the next comedian that comes to Lawrence and within the first three results, you’ll find a review gushing about how the comedian managed to be funny without resorting to cuss words.
We’re in college. Is there any Lawrentian who is still offended by the f-bomb? Last year’s string of comedians were the worst offenders. Instead of booking comedians who were funny and didn’t censor themselves, we got the following gimmicks: a woman with a guitar, a puppeteer, a Jewish rapper (his entire act was centered around that one tired premise) and a guy who had multiple sclerosis, which wouldn’t have been a problem if 80 percent of his jokes weren’t self-deprecating drivel.
Publishing four front-page headlines in a row is a safe bet, but wouldn’t The Lawrentian garner more than a glance from the average student if we put exciting news up there? Instead of telling us about yet another x-bright scholarship winner, why not lead with the pimps and ho’s scandal? Instead of the sports section, why not a section entirely devoted to whatever stupid crap the Yuais did the previous week? Can someone tell the Yuais that everyone realizes that they think of themselves as free-spirited even though we still know they’re just a bunch of attention w***** (harmonies?).
I digress, but I don’t understand how everyone involved with this publication cares enough to put one together every week knowing that it’s destined to be sterilized and boring. “Eff” that.