A satirist’s swan song


Hear ye, hear ye. It’s time for the last Collegian issue of the year, which means it’s time to scribble out my retirement column. Shh, listen — can you hear the administration whooping for joy?

But first, thank you for reading our newspaper.  It’s refreshing to be surrounded by thousands of people who are invested in what their campus has to say. The Community of Care exists, truly, and it’s why we’re able to print these inky sheets of paper each week.

Despite the characteristic satire and tongue-in-cheek tone (which is the only way to get people to read, anyway), there is so much to love about this school and this community: most notably, that this student-run publication is granted freedom of expression. For college newspapers, this isn’t always true.

I came to Butler from a high school where wearing the wrong socks could land you in detention — and often did, in my case. I came to Butler assuming college was going to be just as strict and authoritarian. Imagine my delight when I was allowed to routinely roast my peers, professors and the institution itself.

The fact that I’m lucky enough to write sassy things about our college, without severe punishment, is remarkable. There have been plenty of comments from grumpy old men or emails from annoyed staff, most of which have been hilariously petty and littered with misspellings.

But simultaneously, there were tons of emails, texts and pats on the back from genuinely supportive people who took the time to write an encouraging note. This was especially appreciated on a couple of instances when I thought I might be sued for libel!

Stirring the pot is necessary. And for me, it was fun as hell.

The issues we’ve faced over the past few years won’t just go away. Next semester, and the following — and the one after that — you’ll be faced with a mildly incompetent police department, academia ruled by money politics, abysmal distribution of funding and various campus disruptions in which the students will have little say.

So I urge you, Dawgs, to remember those bumper stickers from 2013: “Question Authority.” Do not be bullied or intimidated by the school administration. Remember, you’re paying for an education, not a crash course in bureaucratic poker — though they might have you feel the opposite. As long as tuition climbs, so should the volume of the student voice.

There is so much good happening on this little square of land, and there’s plenty for Butler to be proud of. Unfortunately, there are a few losers who occasionally screw it up, and that’s how bitter articles are born.

I’ll miss the Collegian’s incredible editors, who reined me in and dealt with my bizarre writing process. I’ll miss our late-night-turned-early-morning sessions in the office, eating stale candy and making fun of each other. I’ll miss holding my breath after writing a risky piece, wondering if I should click “publish.” And most of all, I’ll miss the relentless support of this community when the going got tough.

I leave you with a promisingly satirical opinion staff and the words of Ernest Hemingway: “The most essential gift for a good writer is a built-in, shockproof, bullshit detector.”

Also, the wine stain on the carpet is most certainly mine.

photo courtesy of The Atlantic