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ISSUE 121 VOL 1 PUBLISHED 9/21/2007

Editors want your babies

By Emily Williams
Opinion Editor


Friday, September 21, 2007

Some Oles find fault with the Mess, declaring it a propagator of only liberal standpoints. Some consider it inferior to their former high school newspapers. With this in mind, I write to propose a challenge to everyone in agreement with the above statements. Here it goes:

If we're too leftist, write us. If we're stale, come to our meetings, claim a story and write with verve. If our content could use a royal boost, search for the compelling information our publication needs to effectively engage our student body, write an article and hit send. I'll even do it. Read on:

Somebody administer an epidural because this chick is about to birth an Op-Ed piece - and so could you. Throw on a gown, claim a cot and allow me to introduce the midwives of the Mess, expectant and trained to coax submissions through the uncharted canals of cyberspace and into our Roundcube inboxes (so long, SquirrelMail).

Circling around, we'll catch your article, cut its cord, weigh and swaddle it and, upon publication, return it to you, a proud parent and wordsmith to boot, to receive praise for cradling "such a beautiful baby!" The Manitou Messenger: a journalistic bassinet since 1887.

To liken writing, submission, editing and publication to physical agony is to entice, so welcome home Oles!

We've clambered up the Hill, we're primed for self-expression and we're honing ideas, so jot them down, sign and submit them.

Grab a copy of the New York Times from the entryway of your dorm. Tune in to Minnesota Public Radio and nosh on the dulcet musings of Ira Glass' This American Life, or for those less sociologically inclined, Talk of the Nation's Science Friday. Attend St. Olaf's chapel service on weekday mornings and if the twenty minutes stir something in you, write about them. Better yet, try on a religious experience distinct from your own. Push yourself.

True, many Oles boast strong opinions, contribute to discussion in Political Science and dominate table talk in Stav Hall over cardboard polenta.

True, fewer Oles, but some nonetheless, arrange Cage coffee dates with their favorite professor to clarify or extrapolate on in-class discussion.

And true, a St. Olaf athletic team launches an annual quest for physio-cognitive stimulation by participating in an anything-but-clothes campus-wide scavenger hunt.

But what about the rest of us? What are we all up to? Sitting cross-legged and idle within the satin, unstained walls of our comfort zones?

Don't budge. Speaking up is intimidating.

But if you read about a New Jersey school district's resolution to ban an educational documentary entitled "That's a Family!" because one of the representative families includes two men instead of a man and a woman and you find yourself in agreement with these proceedings, react to it in writing. If you find yourself in disagreement with them, do the same.

If you watch or read about Fox's repeated dead air censors during the 2007 Emmy Awards and you begin questioning stringent censorship practices, discuss it, research it and write about your reaction.

This summer, Solveig Hagen '09 and I designed a creative writing-based Independent Research project investigating our generation's perceptions of the institution of marriage.

We traveled to college campuses around Boston, Massachusetts and Minneapolis/St. Paul and conducted interviews with undergraduate students at educational institutions ranging from Harvard University to Normandale Community College.

Our interviewees chatted and we emerged with tape recordings proving just how sharp a college student's assessment can be.

Oles pay hoards of money to think and convert our thought into something tangible, something of use.

Conceive of an idea, call for a gurney, wheel your pregnant, high functioning synapses into the delivery room and push.





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