THE UNIVERSE WE CALL HOME?

In this week’s Signal (link), Managing Editor Bobby Olivier delivers what may or may not be a rebuke to the criticism of his newspaper that can be found in The Perspective’s inaugural issue.

Frankly, our staff is genuinely confused about the message Olivier is attempting to convey. His editorial begins with the flippant suggestion that the College should no longer construct buildings that will not be utilized by its current generation of students. It then goes on to list farcical ideas for new construction projects from which students could presumably receive instant gratification.

His message would be all well and good—if it made any sense. What argument is Olivier attempting to counteract? Who has suggested that the College should not be constructing new buildings, a suggestion he appears to be satirizing? No doubt, sarcasm can be a valuable vehicle through which to deconstruct fallacious arguments; anyone who seriously contends that the College should withdraw funding for all its “future-oriented” construction projects deserves to be derided. But whatever point Olivier is trying to make becomes lost in the fray of a bizarrely incoherent diatribe.

It is not particularly noteworthy for a Signal editorial to be poorly written and puzzling—this we have sadly become accustomed to. But Olivier takes an unusual step by hurling an unveiled barb at our infantile magazine, calling on students to “hit up the frivolous observatory” that he facetiously claims the non-forward looking among us would have built, “and discover which alternate universe The Perspective’s editors call home.”

Say what?

The Perspective editorial board has poured over Olivier’s rant, trying earnestly to decode whatever criticism of our publication might lie beneath its unintelligible prose. But we have thus far been unsuccessful. The Perspective values input from its readership – critical or otherwise – and is perfectly willing to engage with The Signal if it so chooses. But Olivier’s underhanded denigration, the motivation behind which is indecipherable, leaves no room for a response on our part. Even so, if you think you can figure out what Bobby meant, email us, or better yet email The Signal—they may be interested to know that their editorial is utterly incoherent.

—— —– —– —–

ON THAT NOTE…

In their September 30 editorial, The Signal praised student protesters for confronting the born-again preachers who invaded our campus two weeks ago. They wrote:

“The point of this editorial is not to disagree with what the demonstrators were saying, but to commend the student protesters…”

The Signal was right to applaud the protesters, whose impromptu display of solidarity was both invigorating and cause for accolade. But their bizarre refusal to condemn the preachers’ hateful and deranged rhetoric was nothing less than shameful.

The entire campus community banded together in opposition to the abominable message that was on display: Republicans joined Democrats, libertarians joined socialists, and faculty joined students to stand against the rabidly offensive preachers. There is no cause easier to rally around than such unabashed bigotry and vitriol.

Yet The Signal, a publication that is supposed to be the voice of the College, could not muster the courage to denounce the words of the hate-mongers, which included “Women should stay in the home,” “Gay people should kill themselves,” and “Obama will have us all in concentration camps.” Their rhetoric was akin to that which might be spewed by Nazis or the KKK; it was the lowest of the low, and at times seemed like fodder for a comedy routine. Indeed, it is difficult to imagine how an unequivocal denunciation could have even been up for debate. But at least we now see The Signal’s true colors—and its silence amounts to nothing less than cowardice.

Rest assured that The Perspective will never hesitate to condemn what deserves condemnation, and will never fall victim to The Signal’s self-imposed and artificial standards of neutrality.

Comments

28 Comments so far. Leave a comment below.
  1. I think that The Signal merely follows in the footsteps of the icons of contemporary American journalism, such as the New York Times. “Neutrality” is a sham in a world that is unequal, in my opinion.

    The Australian-born journalist John Pilger makes a withering critique of the supposed “neutrality” of contemporary mainstream journalism: http://tinyurl.com/18r (This is a great speech that Pilger gave at the Socialism 2007 Conference in Chicago.)

    Every aspiring journalist ought to listen to Pilger speak.

  2. Donald,

    And the award for biggest thesaurus goes to…

  3. Anonymous,

    Real mature guys… this kid makes a little joke and you flip your shit. You guys wrote a whole article saying the signal was soft, then they make fun of you a little and you throw a fit. Not reading the Perspective anymore…

  4. Anonymous2,

    why did you guys delete my comment? so much for against censorship

    • Although we strive to make this an open forum for open discussion, we will not tolerate inflammatory remarks whose sole purpose is to offend and hurt others.

      With that said, we will never delete thoughtful and appropriate comments; but yours, unfortunately, was in its essence malicious.

  5. Richard Succer,

    You must make a distinction between what constitutes a news article, characterized strictly by a report of the objective facts, and an editorial, where the focus is interpretation. I think this magazine would be described as the latter. That is not a bad thing, I am just pointing out that in the case of a news article, being objective is possible.

    • Mr. Succer:

      I completely agree with you. There’s a huge difference between hard news stories and magazine features. From our inception, we’ve never claimed to be (or even considered being) an objective general news publication.

      Hard news is certainly important and essential in providing definitive facts from reliable sources about current and on-going situations. Nevertheless, it is my belief that even the most neutral journalists can never truly be completely unbiased and objective.

      And as you can hopefully tell, we’re providing a canvas for individuals – from his campus and from far distances – to share their own “editorials” about topics they feel passionately about.

      Thanks for reading and providing us with thoughtful feedback. Personally, I am tremendously grateful for your interest in our new publication.

      All the best,
      Ron

  6. Anonymous,

    If you do not tolerate things that hurt other people, then why did you write this thing, bashing the kid for making a joke?

    • We were not “bashing” Olivier for the sake of it. His joke clearly had some underlying sentiment attached to it — but we were unable to decipher what it was. His inability to articulate a clear message is indicative of a larger problem with The Signal and its standards for writing.

      • Bobby Olivier,

        Perspective editorial staff,

        I wrote this as a joke. I assumed you guys could handle it. There are no “underlying implications” we do not want a war with you at the Signal. I made jokes about other things too. Your above response was unnecessary and in bad taste.

        We are two different organizations that serve two different purposes. You are entitled to your views on the signal, we are entitled to ours. I understand that one of your goals is to stir up discussions, but this is not the way to do it. Let this die or libel will become an issue, there are inaccuracies in the above response which potentially tarnish The Signal and myself. I will not respond to any more comments about this.

        Thank you.

        Bobby

  7. Anonymous,

    Although Bobby’s editorial was a bit tough to decipher, he didn’t try to hide behind large words. Seriously, I feel like some of the sentences in The Perspective are written to fit a meter–a meter that calls for excessive amounts of many-syllable words.

      • My sincerest apologies go out to all those struggling to make sense of some of our rhetoric.

        Being a former ESL student myself – I am not being facetious – I really do understand how frustrating it is to come across unfamiliar words repeatedly during a short reading.

        Anyway, I would only urge you to learn some of these “many-syllable” words just in the same way that I currently learn them from my fellow editors. A couple of great references are http://dictionary.com and your computer’s built-in dictionary. Reading words in context always helps as well.

        Anyway, I must admit that I am pretty proud of our high standard of writing here at The Perspective. I know we’ve only just started, but I think we’ve set a great model for the quality of work we want to put out and publish.

        Great luck,
        Ron

        P.S.
        I just want to make it clear: I’m really not being sarcastic. This comment, unlike some of the others I’ve left, is completely genuine and serious.

  8. N/A,

    From your “About” section:
    “Of course, you could just tell us what you think; please send in your opinions often. We want people to write anything, of any length, from any viewpoint. Let us foster a free and vibrant exchange of ideas, without ideological pre-requisites or petty bureaucratic requirements.”

    Is that so? It seems that your only goal is ironically to make sure that yours is the ONLY perspective.

    Your ostentatious (vainglorious, pompous, grandiose, showy) vocabulary (lexicon, terminology, jargon, phraseology) and your 2 year old temper tantrum tendencies leave me no room for a response (which is why I responded). Have a nice day (and good luck apologizing for your inconsistencies).

    • “It seems that your only goal is ironically to make sure that yours is the ONLY perspective.”

      I fully understand that this is your profound impression of our magazine. With that said, I can guarantee to you – with absolute sincerity and as managing editor – that it is my foremost objective to showcase viewpoints of people from both sides of any aisle, and from all ideological backgrounds.

      I hope you understand that our publication is still in its early stages, and as a member of the editorial board, I am still actively seeking new and diverse voices to feature in our magazine.

      I hope you decide to write in and have yours heard.

      Peaches,
      Ron

      • N/A,

        Ron,

        Thanks for the explanation. I’m looking forward to hearing from those “new and diverse voices” you’re searching for!

        Best of luck.

  9. Anonymous,

    As a journalism student who has taken media law, this can be construed as libel. You guys are walking on thin ice, choose your next steps wisely, I have a feeling the Signal has a much stronger sense of the possible actions they can take than you guys do.

  10. CONTRA>,

    Can’t believe nobody said this yet, but…
    Godwin’s.

    Also, a new newspaper starting out by feeding trolls, deleting comments on its “free speech” platform, and outing anonymous commenters through IP identification while hiding behind a murky “Editorial Board” account is a pretty bumpy beginning. Also, I agree with the motion to tone down the thesaurus usage.

    That being said, I do hope to send a few things to the various TCNJ publications this year, so don’t hate me for this comment :3

    • CONTRA,

      I refuse to believe we’ve been feeding trolls; we took another publication’s editorial as a jab, and decided to respond with the resources we have. For now, while printing monthly issues, we must utilize this site to spread our message.

      Every publication has a policy regarding appropriate comments and community interaction on its site:

      The WSJ’s “Community Rules” (http://online.wsj.com/community/faq) state, “You must demonstrate appropriate respect for other Members… You must not personally attack any other Member.”

      NYTimes.com’s Terms of Service (http://www.nytimes.com/ref/membercenter/help/agree.html) asserts, “Be courteous. You agree that you will not threaten or verbally abuse other Members, use defamatory language, or deliberately disrupt discussions with… meaningless messages or ‘spam.'”

      Our deletion of the malicious comment posted was certainly warranted.

      But I must add that I do agree with two of your points. We should always avoid outing anonymous commentary. I, myself, am completely in favor of allowing thoughtful opinions from those who refuse attribution. I also agree that comments should no longer be left using the Editorial Board account. As a board, we’ve decided to make it a policy that that account will only be used to publish editorials, and not comments.

      Thanks for your feedback and we look forward to publishing your work.

      Best,
      Ron

      • CONTRA>,

        While I agree, there ought to be some ability to censor physical threats, spam, or personal attacks directed at other posters to the website, but neither of those publications has a policy of censoring attacks directed at the publication itself, or even at non-members. Furthermore, you might consider that the simple disappearance of a post is much more likely to incite anger than an edit to said post removing the offending content with a note describing the offending content from the editing administrator/moderator.

        Also, I’m glad to see you agreeing with two of my points, but for some reason this comment is still present, even though it clearly violates one of those principles you said you stand behind. I don’t advocate censoring it, unless of course the original author is interested in retracting it.

        Finally, taking an editorial comment as a “jab” at your group and responding with a full article is pretty much the definition of feeding the trolls. However, since the Perspective kind of started it, I guess that’s just your thing. 😀

      • CONTRA>,

        ahem, sorry, but the phrase “this comment” in my above post is not referring to my own comment, but is in fact a hyperlink, despite the appearance of it being no such thing.

    • As Ron said, from now on the editors will comment by name — thanks for pointing that out. I chose to “out” Bobby by his I.P. address because he was using the anonymity of the Internet to artificially imply that his charge of libel — a serious charge indeed — had wider support. That’s an abuse of the system, and I felt justified in making his actions known. Anonymous comments are not inherently bad — just this particular use of them.

  11. Beth,

    Hey guys, let’s be really negative and argumentative about everything! Let’s start a whole magazine for that purpose! Yeah man, we’re so anti-establishment and awesome! We’re so much cooler than everyone else with our hip alternative ideas! We’re not all the same, nope!

    The Perspective should focus on constructive ideas, not merely on what the three people who write for it hate. You’re so concerned with The Signal’s alleged hatred for you when they probably don’t even give a shit.

    Another suggestion: interviewing your buddies and calling it an article won’t endear this publication to anybody.

    • Hey Beth, I’m glad you’re diggin’ what we’re doing!

      Please, would you be so kind as to help us focus? Can you please send in some constructive ideas and your own thoughts? That’d be great. Thanks.

      With warm endearment,
      Ron

    • Glenn Eisenberg,

      What article in the first issue is argumentative besides the Signal critique? (which is necessary in establishing ourselves as an undeniably different publication)

      Unless you’re claiming that articles about political happenings are, inherently, argumentative, which you could make the case for. However, that’s the nature of the publication and, in my opinion, immensely constructive and necessary in having any sort of meaningful political dialogue. Political “arguments” are “constructive.” There’s no contradiction there.

      And we actually aren’t “so concerned” about the Signal stuff. Most of us don’t really care much. However, we do feel that, as the only other publication on campus (besides the alumni magazine and stuff like that), it’s our role to call the Signal out if it’s not meeting a standard that the campus deserves. I hope that they will do this for us, so that we might improve our publication.

  12. anon alum,

    I am an alumnus of TCNJ and I came across this. It is sickening how arrogant and distasteful this is. You will never be able to rise to your potential if you step on others in the process. This IS borderline libel. Your so-called “high standard” is just a label that you slapped on to wordy and unnecessarily flashy language. There is absolutely no way you are a journalism student at TCNJ. I can tell that just from reading this. If you are, you need to pay more attention in class. I can applaud you for making an effort to start a new publication, but you are going about it in the completely wrong way. The Signal is a publication for every student–the ones who want short, sweet, and to-the-point stories about campus happenings and what have you. Your publication seems to be written for grumpy 70-year-olds.

    What’s the #1 rule of writing? Remember who you are writing for. Don’t attack The Signal when it’s pretty clear that you are trying to reach an entirely different student population… aka yourselves and your arrogant, big-talking buddies.

    • High-horsed journalism critic,

      I’m glad you’re enjoying our publication. Thanks for reading our stuff!

      I have but one question: Can you explain how this could possibly be construed as libel? I think it may be wise of you to consider coming back to school and learning the meaning of the word; and you never know, we might even have a class together.

      Libel is a serious accusation, pal. I’m sure you understand.

      Best,
      Ron

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