As you can see from some of the letters and emails we’ve received, I’m taking some heat from readers. I’m not too bothered. I’ve been denounced in the past and undoubtedly will be again. But some of these criticisms are either unfounded or misplaced, and I think a response is
in order. And oddly enough, I owe these readers an expression of my gratitude.
Before I address Ms. Cadieux’s concerns, outlined below, I’d like to offer some advice regarding the language she uses (but which has also
been used by others writing critical letters): It diminishes the power of your argument when you use words like “disgusted,” “outraged” and
“appalled” to describe your feelings towards such inconsequentialities as a Cowboys and Indians theme party, or a satirical feature in a
student-run college newspaper. It establishes you as sanctimonious right from the get-go. If you want to keep using language like that, be my guest, but it means that I, and I suspect a lot of other people, won’t be listening quite as intently.
While I’m on the topic of language, I’d like clear up one misconception. People have referred multiple times (this happened when I poked fun at sororities last year and earlier this year) to the “articles” I’ve written. Guess what? They’re not articles. We’re not assigning these as normalstories, to be researched and sourced. Those are articles. These are features, commentary, whatever you want to call the random stuff thatpops into my head. Please, just stop calling them articles.
I suppose that leads to my next point, which I’ll try to keep brief. Ms. Cadieux criticized the fact that I commented on letters from community
members; apparently this is against professional journalistic guidelines. Well, the Hill News is not a professional organization. We’re a student
newspaper. And my role here is twofold: on one hand, I act as a normal editor-in-chief does, assigning stories, editing articles, laying out the
paper, and so on. On the other, I write satirical content, material that I think is funny and I know that many others find funny. Some people,
as is the case with most humor, inevitably find it offensive. I see no reason why I can’t fulfill both roles here at the Hill News. A certain
degree of professionalism is required, no doubt, but the strict rules that Ms. Cadieux has learned do not always apply to our paper.
Lastly, I’d like to say this to Ms. Cadieux, Mr. Benedetto, and for that matter anyone who has written critical letters to us in the past: thank
you. Thank you for taking the time to read something in our paper, for thinking critically about it, for talking to your friends about it. Thank
you for writing in and stimulating further debate about issues, like those concerning Native Americans, on our campus. Do we disagree? Yes. But isn’t that a good thing? Shouldn’t the purpose of a college newspaper be to get people talking? I certainly think so. You could counter this by arguing that satire is the wrong way to go about creating a debate, that a measured editorial would have been the proper response, if any. Here’s what I would say to that: no one would read it. I’m a cynic. I don’t think people read long blocks of text on topics they’re not interested in. They will, however, read short blurbs or lists that look like they might be funny. That’s why I write what I write. As these letters prove, they get people talking. And that’s why I thank you, readers, for the criticism.