TCNJ students, Trenton Black Panthers, and members of Trenton and the surrounding communities protest a neo-Nazi rally at the Trenton Statehouse and the encompassing massive police force.
TCNJ students, Trenton Black Panthers, and members of Trenton and the surrounding communities protest a neo-Nazi rally at the Trenton Statehouse and the encompassing massive police force.
THE END OF AN ERA
“The rebirth of a great nation,” says an Al Jazeera reporter.
What happens next?
The Rise of Chris Christie, Governor Wrecking Ball
This profile was first published at TheNation.com
From National Review, which ran an August cover story designating him the “Scourge of Trenton,” to conservative bloggers electrified by his boisterous YouTube clips, just about every relevant Republican constituency has found something to be taken with in Chris Christie. Policy analysts in Washington appear just as enthralled by his critique of public pensions as are the familiar talk-radio personalities. “Ladies and gentlemen, is it wrong to love another man?” Rush Limbaugh asked one afternoon. “Because I love Chris Christie.”
In a feat of strategic jujitsu, Christie has managed to tread a tenuous ideological line between Beltway Republicans and the Tea Party, endorsing Mike Castle over Christine O’Donnell in the Delaware Republican senatorial primary. The calculation implied that although he clearly welcomes its support, Christie is not tethered to the Tea Party’s every whim; meanwhile, the Republican National Committee was happy to shuttle him around the country on behalf of various candidates this election cycle. Even among social conservatives, to whom Christie does not often pander, he has amassed impressive credentials: Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage, lauded “the victory of a pro-life, pro-marriage GOP governor in New Jersey” last year after Christie vowed to veto a same-sex marriage bill. This ubiquitous adoration suggests that should rumored presidential aspirations materialize, he may be able to unite the party’s balkanized base.
Regarding your quote from Christine O’Donnell on page 3, here is what the actual Constitution states:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
Notice it does not say “separation of church and state,” but rather that the state has no right to make a law regarding any religion, interfering with the free speech and practice of those in the religion – well it is pretty self-explanatory isn’t it, so I don’t know why I’m trying to spell it out for you.
In other words, Christine has every right to speak her beliefs, whether or not we agree with them. And it turns out she was right anyway, at least about this particular statement in the Constitution.
By DAN CARDINALE
I’m just going to come out and say it. Creationism is not science. If it were, it would be bad science. Not just incorrect, which it is, but bad science, right along side HIV and climate change denialism. To pretend otherwise is a gross misrepresentation of both science as a discipline and creationism.
To begin, let’s examine just what science is, and what a scientific theory is. Science is simply the process of using controlled experiments and observations to test hypotheses about the natural world. Put another way, as stated by Ken Miller during Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District (the “intelligent design” case), “science is finding natural explanations for natural phenomena.” Scientific theories must fulfill two criteria. They must have broad experimental support and they must make empirically testable positive predictions. In the approximately 150 year life of the theory, evolution biologists have made thousands of predictions, in fields as diverse as microbiology, genetics, molecular biology, ecology, paleontology, and biogeography, and these predictions have been overwhelmingly confirmed, providing extensive support to evolutionary theory.
Creationism, on the other hand, makes no empirically testable predictions, at least not those that would lend positive support for creationism should they be accurate. Rather, the predictions made by creationism are negative predictions aimed at what evolution cannot do, or where evidence is supposedly lacking. For example, consider the concept of irreducible complexity, used by creationists to attack evolution, which states that if there should exist a system or structure that fails to function if any one of its components should be removed or defective, then that system cannot have evolved, because the probability of all of the components assembling in their present configuration is prohibitively small. Let us suppose, for the sake of argument, that such a structure were to be discovered. Would this lend credence to creationism?
Before I answer that question, let me first examine the underlying premise, that irreducible complexity (IC) carries with it some degree of scientific weight. This premise is not just false, but absurd. There have been numerous systems identified as examples of IC. These include the bacterial flagellum, the eye, and mammalian blood clotting. By the “textbook” definition of IC, each of these systems qualifies, since they are essentially non-functional should any part be lost or significantly altered. Evidence of this fact is the long list of defects that cause hemophilia in humans. But does this mean that such systems can’t have evolved? Hardly. For every example of an IC system that requires every part, there exists a homologous system that functions just fine without one or several components. The flagella found in E. coli may require dozens of parts, but other species make due without the P ring, or the L ring. Dolphins lack several clotting factors critical in humans, but as a species do not suffer from chronic hemophilia. It isn’t even required that the intermediate or incomplete stages of a structure have the same purpose as the modern forms in order to be favored by natural selection, only that there is some benefit to having the intermediate stages. For example, birds’ feathers probably weren’t for flight originally. It’s more likely that early feathers were used for thermoregulation and were only adapted for their present use more recently.
But that didn’t answer the original question. Even should IC be a credible, testable concept with broad experimental support, and natural selection discredited, is creationism supported? The short answer is no, it isn’t. To use IC (or some other invented deficiency of evolution) as support for creationism establishing a false dichotomy, one that states that the only two options on the table are evolution by natural selection or special creation. Could there not be some other hypothetical evolutionary mechanism that could produce such a structure? Certainly; IC favors neither that nor creation over the other. In order for creationism to have actual support, there must be positive, experimental evidence in its favor, rather than merely against evolution by natural selection. Because it lacks such evidence, it cannot be considered even a remotely credible scientific theory.
Let us now examine the issue from a different angle. Creationism is not science, and has no positive support, but what of the supposed deficiencies in the theory of evolution? How can sexual reproduction have evolved? Complex structures such as the eye? Systems as layered and complex as blood clotting? In the interest of space and accessibility (assuming the reader is still awake), I’ll look at only the first example I’ve mentioned: sexual reproduction. The objection goes something like this: sexual reproduction requires two individuals of opposite sexes (or mating types), so they would have to have evolved independently and simultaneously, which is highly improbably, essentially statistically impossible. How did evolution “know” to develop sex?
I frame the question thusly since that is representative of the most common presentation when a counter-evolutionary argument is made, but to ask such a question is absurd. Evolution doesn’t “know” anything. Evolution is a process, not an entity. Even natural selection, the actual driving force of evolutionary change, isn’t forward looking; the traits of those organisms that have higher fitness (meaning reproductive success, not that they work out every day) will be present in higher proportions in the next generation.
Going back to the question itself, we have a case where a faulty assumption is implied. Reproduction is not either sexual or asexual, with no room for compromise. There are abundant examples of organisms that exhibit both sexual and asexual reproduction, from primitive bacteria up through multicellular animals, such as aphids. Which reproductive strategy a particular organism employs is often based on its environment: a relatively stable and nutrient rich environment will maintain purely asexual reproduction. Essentially, it’s a case of “it it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” where “fixing it” through sexual reproduction actually reduces the fitness of many individuals. However, in a dynamic environment with relatively scarce resources, propagating the same clone infinitely will have little benefit. Instead, the genetic diversity (and corresponding adaptability) created by sexual recombination is a winning strategy. Those organisms that employ both “know” when to utilize each simply through natural selection against those individuals that reproduce sexually too often or too infrequently, leaving only those that exercise the right combination. As a casual read through an evolutionary biology textbook or journal archive would reveal, this information is not a secret.
This brings me to my next objection to “scientific” creationism: its proponents and adherents, in order to support creationism, must (knowingly or ignorantly) selectively ignore swaths of data in order to find problems with evolutionary theory. Creationists pretend to be creation scientists while trampling all over the scientific method. They claim that evolution cannot account for this feature or that system, while ignoring stacks of research on that very subject (sometimes quite literally). This is symptomatic of the most unscientific feature of creationism: beginning not with a question, but with the conclusion, and tailoring the data to support it, either through omission (“there is no evidence that sex could evolve”) or misrepresentation (“Darwin said the eye couldn’t evolve”). This leads to objections to evolution based on the argument from personal incredulity: “there may be evidence for evolution, but it isn’t good enough for me.” While this may be personally persuasive, it carries no scientific weight.
When push comes to shove, creationism isn’t about science; it’s about faith. Philosophically, faith and science are in complete opposition to each other. The former is belief without evidence, or in many cases in the face of contrary evidence. The latter is the refusal to accept a proposition without supporting evidence. To draw this distinction is not close-minded. There have been countless experiments testing the veracity of evolutionary theory, each one a chance for the theory to fail. The fact that it hasn’t in a century and a half of examination is testament to its strength. In order to receive serious consideration in the scientific community, Creationism or any other theory must stand up to similarly rigorous investigation. The fact that Creationism has failed to do so is simply further evidence of its scientific vacuity. These are not merely two theories competing in the open forum of scientific investigation. Creationism violates each of the most basic components of the scientific method; evolution defines what a good scientific theory should be.
I will now diverge significantly from my previous discussion, and turn towards a considerably less straightforward subject: that of right and wrong. As a scientific theory, evolution neither takes nor implies a position on morality. For the purposes of scientific investigation, methodological naturalism (investigating natural causes of natural phenomena) is required, but this is separate and distinct from philosophical naturalism, the belief that nature is the entirety of that which exists. But can evolution by natural selection lead to a sense of morality?
Natural selection acts to increase the fitness of populations, and many species exhibit altruistic behavior, increasing the fitness of their respective populations, even if their personal fitness is adversely affected. This is especially the case when close relatives benefit. Is it such a mental leap of faith to posit that this inherent tendency, coupled with a brain intelligent enough to perceive the effects of one’s actions on the well being, both physical and emotional, of others, leads directly to an intrinsic sense of right and wrong? Are we to believe, that for all the depth and complexity of the human mind, it takes an outside force to impose some sort of order on our species, that we are not up to the task ourselves?
All available evidence tells us that evolution, not God, has created beautifully complex beings in humans. Our self-awareness is, as far as we can tell, unique among living things. We can perceive when we benefit others, and when we harm them, and thanks to our well-developed brains, we can go beyond perception. We can empathize, we can imagine. And we know that have to respect that. I don’t need God to tell me what’s right and wrong, nor does anyone else. We’ve learned it, collectively, over the lifetime of our species, and to put it back in evolutionary terms, those that learned the right lessons survived, while the populations that failed to do so died out. The development of an intellect sufficient to care for others because it’s right, and for no other reason, might be the crowning achievement of evolution.
By M. POLIZZO
SFB recently retreated to an off-campus location, as they do every spring, to determine the following year’s SAF (Student Activities Fund) budget. This is the time when each club and organization (including SFB) is given their fiscal horoscope: requests of each group are voted on item-by-item; allotments are allotted; the lines are drawn. Ideally, respective budgets are proportional to group size, spending history, and the benefits derived through said groups.
By ROBERT HICKMAN
The Student Finance Board (SFB) is the governing body that determines which campus organizations are granted funding for events. The money they allocate is drawn from the Student Activities Fee, a component of tuition that all students must pay. It was recently brought to my attention that SFB currently holds a surplus of funds exceeding $1 million – a curiously large sum to simply be sitting around untouched. So I decided to investigate.
A PERSPECTIVE POLL
Can you name the current governor of New Jersey? How about the Secretary of Defense? When it comes to some of this era’s most contentious social issues, where do you stand?
In an attempt to take a snapshot of political and social values among the College’s freshman class, The Perspective surveyed eighty-five random residents of Wolfe Hall in early March. Participants remained anonymous.
By ALEXANDRIA BACHERT
Whether or not you’re a fan, off-campus frat parties are an unmistakable part of the college experience. Indeed, many of us have taken that well-known trek to a sweaty, cluttered basement in search of some combination of jungle juice and promiscuity. But while the thumping beats and diluted alcohol may temporarily drown out any safety-related concerns, several people associated with Greek life, some of whom asked not to be named, have said that the massive parties they routinely host are major fire hazards.
BY R. BARBARA GITENSTEIN
THE FOLLOWING IS FROM DECEMBER:
After reading excerpts from his website, I can fully understand why there are members of our community who are offended by Tucker Max’s language and attitudes. But whatever my judgment, it would be inappropriate for me, as president, to overturn the decisions of SFB and CUB. It has long been our practice at TCNJ to allow CUB to use its funds, which are generated by student fees, to attract speakers of their choice to campus. My interceding in this decision would be an undermining of the governance system that we prize on this campus, a governance system that values students as real partners in leading the institution. The decision to invite Tucker Max is CUB’s alone and it would not have been censorship had they decided NOT to invite him, but it would be censorship for me to substitute my judgment for theirs and bar him from campus. It is, of course, perfectly acceptable, for those members of the community who are offended by Tucker Max’s attitudes and language to express their feelings, as long as that expression takes a constructive and non-violent form.”
R. BARBARA GITENSTEIN is the president of the College
BY R. BARBARA GITENSTEIN
THE FOLLOWING IS FROM DECEMBER:
“I am always supportive of our students’ right and responsibility to express their political opinions, regardless of the issue under discussion or the stance they may take. Specifically, in regard to the “Freedom of religion and Equality in Civil Marriage Act” (S1967/A2978), I believe the question to be considered by the legislature is one of equality and civil rights.”
R. BARBARA GITENSTEIN is the president of the College
BY PAUL SOON, TCNJ PROTESTANT BIBLE FELLOWSHIP OUTREACH COORDINATOR
Before the average reader reads the title and brands this article as some fairy tale written by some hick from the woods, please consider the appropriate background. Contrary to popular belief, all Creationists are not logically-impaired, reason-deprived, brainwashed zombies. We’re academics. So before you brand me as someone not familiar with the scientific method or empirical studies, keep in mind that I am actually a biology major. Or if you prefer to preclude Creationism as an antiquated philosophical system, please keep in mind that I am also a philosophy major. The point is not to flaunt credentials, but to illustrate the most important point about Creationism or naturalism (the idea that life arose out of only natural causes without divine intervention), that people in both camps are intelligent, analytical, but far too often perilously closed-minded. The most important thing is to approach both sides with an open-minded, scientific mindset, forsaking the burning urge to label our opponents. I write this piece partially as a student of biology, partially as a student of philosophy, partially as a theologian, but most importantly as a fellow TCNJ student.
So first of all, as an unashamed Creationist I do not pretend that evolution has no evidence, nor do I think that all who believe in evolution are close-minded God-haters. As a student of biology I am well acquainted with many of the arguments for evolution and admit they can be convincing. However, in my opinion they are not enough. Two broad camps exist in this debate: Evolution vs. Creationism. However, more broadly, the camps of Naturalism vs. God-believing are created. Above all my intellectual might, I believe in Creationism because I believe that the Word of God is true. This is where your adrenaline pumps up and the temptation to brand this article as the work of a Bible-thumper shoots up precipitously. So don’t worry – I’m a science student too. Above any science, above any philosophy, above any popular fad of mankind I believe that God holds the truth. Even before any scientific or philosophical argument, I confidently reject naturalism on the simple self-evident assumption that humanity is more than just chemicals. It is something sacred. Some might take exception to that statement, and I will accept arguments on one condition: That you are a strict vegan. Anyone who is not a strict vegan willingly accepts the assumption that our lives are worth more than any other quantitative life. If you believe in evolution you must reconcile the idea that humans are different than other life with the idea that, well, we’re no different from other life. If you believe in evolution you must accept that humans are nothing more than very advanced animals, nothing more than the most finely-tuned genetically regulated product of nature. You must accept that humanity has no intrinsic rights or value above that which is granted by evolution.
That proposition leads to some serious problems. One is the problem of the normativity of ethics. Normative ethics supposes that ethics has the power to deem whether acts are wrong or right. If ethics are not normative then it can be said that murder results in death, but it cannot be said that murder is wrong. I don’t know about you, but I believe that murder is intrinsically wrong. If you believe that humans are the products of evolution you must find a convincing entity that has the authority to administer right and wrong. We can do this with various philosophical theories but these can run into problems. Utilitarianism has no need for God. Yet philosophical theories of ethics that do not rely on God run into problems, such as “Why should we listen to your system of right and wrong?” Utilitarianism itself creates certain ethical dilemmas such as, it is okay to cheat on your boyfriend or girlfriend as long as they don’t find out, it doesn’t hurt your relationship, and total happiness is increased. Now I believe that most of you would believe cheating is inherently bad (what I mean is that if you found out that your significant other was cheating on you would feel deeply hurt and feel wronged.) Now as someone who would prefer not getting cheated on (as I am sure you are as well) I believe in a normative, objective system of ethics. Evolution has no rules save one. Survival of the fittest. Sounds altruistic to you, no? Actually I can think of few things less altruistic than survival of the fittest. It appears rather intuitive that evolution by survival of the fittest would preclude the existence of morality as we know it, a morality where sacrificing for others is praised and being selfish is denounced. So how then could a normative objective ethical theory evolve through evolution? I believe that an ethical theory that is the product of evolving from survival of the fittest to be a system most bereft of any morals at all. But some scientists have proposed a system where altruism may have been introduced through evolution. This is where I will finally turn to science.
Evolution is the selection of traits that give a population reproductive advantage. So if a new trait is introduced into a population of organisms it can be ether beneficial, neutral, or deleterious to the reproduction of the population. So if some organism exhibits a trait that gives them an advantage they survive, reproduce and pass on their traits. Evolutionists surmise that because altruism is beneficial to a population it was selected for and not against. Possible, perhaps. But how does this work? If one has a trait which causes them to be self-sacrificial (altruistic) it may be good for the population if they sacrifice their life for the good of the population, but how does that sacrificial individual pass on their traits if they are well, dead. Doesn’t work too good. The only way that altruistic traits could be selected for if evolution somehow knew that those traits were good and thoughtfully selected them. Any science teacher worth their salt will say that evolution doesn’t know anything, it has no mind! But I have several times sat through class hearing the teacher proclaim, “It’s remarkable, it’s as if evolution knew this would be beneficial!” This is one of my major gripes about evolution. There is considerable circumstantial evidence that organisms may have evolved from each other. However, scientists have no clue how it happened, just that it appears to have happened.
Take for example, sexual reproduction. Asexual reproduction is easy, clean, and pretty safe. You live so why not make more of you. Most bacteria utilize asexual reproduction. Sexual reproduction is a totally different beast. Sexual reproduction is risky (might not have mates!), costly (more energy used than asexual), and dangerous (deadly if you’re eaten!). Now we know that sexual reproduction is an essential component of evolution, in that it increases genetic variation. But how did sexual reproduction arise? As aforementioned, the world of sexual reproduction can be a scary thing! (I’m talking about microscopic organisms and the origin of sexual reproduction, not humans, although I’m sure it might also ring true to us geeks who are awkward with the opposite sex). In early organisms sexually reproduction should have been selected against. Yes, it’s useful for future explanations but who would know that? The only explanation is that somehow evolution knew that sexual reproduction would be useful in the future and made the sacrifices to create it. But evolution doesn’t know anything!
One more example, and this one isn’t just one I created. Creationists call it irreducible complexity. The basic premise is this: all organisms, even to the simplest cellular level, are extraordinarily complex. Without getting into the specifics (that’s the pain of biology majors), the idea is that things are so amazingly complex that if just one thing went wrong the entire organism might die. There is only one right way for biological complexes to work, but billions of wrong ways. Irreducible complexity states that in light of the aforementioned statements, it seems exceedingly unlikely and probably impossible for evolution to create such complex structures. Take for example the origin of life. “Simple” life is really, really, complex. For basic life, DNA, RNA, proteins, nucleotides, and thousands of enzymes are needed. Each protein is coded for by thousands of “letters” of DNA. If only four or five of those letters are incorrect, the protein would almost certainly be doomed. So how in the world could primordial soup somehow create such stunning complexity? Most likely it can’t. Evolution must have somehow known what complexity to make.
Evolution works best (or in my opinion at all) if it is directed by some all knowing being. If you believe in evolution you must exhibit remarkable faith in the possible explanations of how certain things evolve. Evolution must be a powerful force indeed if it can know how to direct organisms’ evolution and has the power and creativity to craft complex structures out of nothing. So if you believe that evolution is so powerful and so wise, then I think that it makes perfect sense for evolution to be your God. You must have faith that evolution is so knowledgeable as to create us.
By NICHOLAS A. PELULLO
“My name is Tucker Max, and I am an asshole.”
Tucker Max is an asshole. He is a self-proclaimed asshole, and seems to be proud of it. No one denies this. Currently, the merits of hosting a self-proclaimed asshole at an academic institution are under heavy debate. One side seems to think the asshole’s right to free speech gives the college justification to present him, the other claims that it is morally culpable to willingly endorse and financially support such an asshole. I, however, am not interested in a debate over how many assholes we can bring to TCNJ. Rather, I feel that an element of Tucker Max’s persona remains unaddressed, and is representative of a key dilemma in American culture: The Success of the Asshole in Western Society.
What is an asshole? If we accept Tucker Max’s definition, in his own words, from his own website:
“I get excessively drunk at inappropriate times, disregard social norms, indulge every whim, ignore the consequences of my actions, mock idiots and posers, sleep with more women than is safe or reasonable, and just generally act like a raging dickhead.”
An asshole, it would appear, is someone who has cast the foundations of Western virtue to the wind. Such a person, according to this definition, has lost all control over his or her physical desires, to the point that these desires are no longer checked by any higher mental capacity. This person has acquired a complete disregard for the effects of his or her actions on his or her fellow human beings. Truly an asshole, indeed.
However, regardless of whatever criticisms we may make of this particular asshole, there is one undeniable affirmation: he is ridiculously successful. Despite, or perhaps because of, his being “a raging dickhead,” Mr. Max has made himself a much-lauded figure in society. Why, one might ask, does someone who indulges to admittedly unhealthy excess and has no concern for other people garner such success?
The answer, I believe, lies in one key issue: pride.
Self-worth, or pride, is inherently attractive, both in terms of social and interpersonal relationships. It shows that the person who knows you best – you – recognizes and acknowledges that you are “worthy.”
Our society, however, has arbitrarily aligned “pride” with what is considered to be morally bad, and the opposite of pride – humility – with what is considered to be morally good. As a result of all this, people who want to be virtuous tend to strive toward the ideal of humility over pride, artificially devaluing themselves. People who do not wish to see themselves aligned to virtue (such as Mr. Max), on the other hand, are free to indulge in pride, and, as a result, possess a degree of self worth, albeit excessive.
Therein lies the success of all assholes. For all their faults, social forces have left them as one of the only groups possessing at least an appropriate amount of self worth, leaving the majority of non-assholes with an undue dearth of self-value.
The solution to the proliferation of assholes in Western culture, therefore, is for good people to reclaim “pride” as a moral virtue. When you get right down to it, it’s a matter of honesty. If you’re a good person, you should recognize that, if only to be truthful to yourself and the world. In fact, you should thrive on it. That’s right – thrive. Too long have I seen good people not value themselves appropriately, with sorry consequences for themselves and the good of the world around them. The success of this one asshole, which our college so willingly endorses, is not a random anomaly; instead, it represents a systematic failure of our society to properly value its members.
The onset of a new year is always bittersweet. We frantically search for meaning in the successes and failures of the last twelve months, grouping them together as somehow indicative of what it meant to live in 2009. We assume with a rather arbitrary degree of optimism that a fresh change in the Roman calendar will accompany a comparably fresh revelation of insight.
This issue, then, deals with the paradox of renewal: our profound strides forward and the implications thereof, combined with the ever-present forces of antiquity that still linger as society waits impatiently for more earnest modernization. From politics, to religion, to technology, to culture, we grapple with a grating conflux of yesterday and today. It is a tug-of-war — and at times, an all-out brawl. Within these pages, we try to make sense of it.
On Thursday, November 5, Ewing Township Police executed a search warrant at the house occupied by Sigma Pi — a TCNJ fraternity.
According to Lieutenant Gerald Jacobs, police seized electronic equipment related to a potential computer-related crime. Jacobs did not describe the nature of the confiscated equipment, but a source familiar with the situation told The Perspective that several laptops were taken from the house, located at 1694 Pennington Road.
Upon request for comment, Sigma Pi President Carlos Rosano, who spoke on behalf of the organization said, “The issue that you are referring to is one of a personal nature related specifically to an individual that this organization has disassociated from. We cannot comment further out of respect for that individual as this is an ongoing investigation.”
No arrests have been made as of press time.
After being dormant for nearly two years, TCNJ’s chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union is being restored. Perspective executive editor Glenn Eisenberg, with the assistance of the ACLU-NJ, has begun organizing meetings for ACLU-TCNJ. The club has had several meetings and has established the long-term goal of getting an overbearing TCNJ policy or New Jersey law changed. The club meets Fridays at 3:30 on the second floor of the Student Center above the Rathskeller.
From its outset, The Perspective never sought to engage in an arbitrary tit-for-tat with The Signal. The two publications have different aims, different journalistic standards, and different target audiences. Our relationship can be one of coexistence and supplementation, not incessant quarreling. That being said, we will not hesitate to criticize The Signal if, in our opinion, it has failed to provide the wider campus community with quality content and reporting. In last month’s inaugural issue, The Perspective called attention to the flaws that we found to be pervasive at the publication.
By JILLIAN STARK
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – the environmental ethos that has been etched into our minds since elementary school. More recently, these words or other derivatives have been appearing on t-shirts, cosmetics, and even coffee cups. But how much thought is actually given to the actions that they purport to suggest? Does the mass production of “environmentally-friendly” t-shirts realistically help to reduce over-consumption? Are cosmetic companies actually putting reusable shampoo bottles on the market? Is 10% of that Starbucks cup really post-consumer recycled material?
As New Jersey’s gubernatorial contest draws to a long-anticipated close, there are lessons to be learned from what has been another nauseating campaign season. We are not terribly surprised that the two major candidates, Jon Corzine and Chris Christie, have been relentless with their asinine attack ads and trivial barb-throwing. But we are surprised at how low they have stooped, and the extent to which they have disillusioned the New Jersey electorate.
By JACK MECCIA
$209 per person – it’s the current student activity fee. The figure that, every semester, funds undergraduate entertainment and extracurriculars. If the number is aggregated, there’s certainly a hefty sum of money to allocate and manage. Sure, it costs $209 on average to pay for all these expenditures, but let’s make things interesting by examining another aspect of that number’s meaning; namely, the benefit. Weigh this consideration in a practical sense: if you had the choice, would you pay $209 (excluding ticket prices, etc.) for the overall value the student activity fee provides?
I suspect that, in many cases, the response will be yes. For the typical student, clubs and school-funded activities are probably worth it. Understand, however, that whether or not you would give that $209 to the Student Finance Board is an entirely separate question. There’s a compelling alternative here that needs to be explored.
By KYLE TOMALIN
So what made you pick those glasses?
This may sound ironic, but I got them out of irony. I also want to look as punchable as I can – and I think I’m succeeding.
I think you’re failing. People seem to like you. Why do you go by Nat and not Natalie?
I’m not sure. That’s how it’s always been.
Can you give a funnier answer than that?
Nat sounds manlier.
So you’re intentionally manly?
Ever since I asked for GI Joes and bacon for Christmas when I was five. True story.
To make things even, does your boyfriend try to keep it girly?
My boyfriend IS the girly one. We balance each other out.
Boxers or briefs?
His boxers are the manliest thing about him. Then again, I’ve known some pretty manly men who wore briefs.
I was asking about you.
Boxers. Boxers with bacon on them.
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.”
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.