Understanding Absolutely Nothing

Recently, The Morning Watch published “MSU Class: Understanding Patriarchy Assigned, Syllabus Says, “Keep an Open Mind” About Incest”.

I will keep my thoughts brief. Such a piece is deserving of no response – but the very nature of internet communication and incentives in academia necessitates it.

Continue reading Understanding Absolutely Nothing

Saving Sergei Kelley

On Valentine’s Day ninety years ago, love filled the windy Chicago air as Al Capone and a number of his compadres allegedly gunned down seven members of a rival gang. History, as it is wont to do, attempted to repeat itself last night at the bi-weekly meeting of the General Assembly of the Associated Students of Michigan State University (ASMSU). There the day’s aura of human connection was shattered by the brutal reality of politics. A bill calling for the removal of College of Agriculture and Natural Resources representative and The Morning Watch Executive Editor Sergei Kelley was proposed and a vote to have said bill bypass the usual committee procedures quickly succeeded. The next couple of hours were equally tense and boring, as the organization slowly waded through its bureaucratic and procedural necessities while representative Kelley sat patiently waiting for the debate and vote that would determine his fate. When the debate reared its head, it did so with extreme passion, as copious amounts of frustration and anger bubbled to surface of this oft placid environment. By the end of the discussion, however, the outcome was clear: Sergei Kelley would live to see another day as a representative of ASMSU. And so he did, as a number of other representatives stormed out of the assembly in various states of sorrow and bewilderment. This is the story of how Kelley found himself on the brink of disaster, and why he still woke up today as a member of ASMSU.

Continue reading Saving Sergei Kelley

Who is the Holmes Hall RA? (2) – Where the fuck is Holmes Hall?

Finally sobering up after my third encounter with the “Kavanaugh Special” (a 24 pack of Natty Light-Tylenol combo), I began my pilgrimage to Holmes Hall. Unfortunately, however, I did not know where the fuck Holmes Hall was actually located. Is it in South Neighborhood? North? Somewhere in the hell hole which is River Trail? Before I learned that my prophète malgré lu graced its cramped halls, I had thought that it was the gulag where MSU abandoned its freshman-but-sophomore-by-credit academics and the no preference majors who thought they were going to Grand Valley. No, now it was my Mecca and I intend to pray before my god.

Continue reading Who is the Holmes Hall RA? (2) – Where the fuck is Holmes Hall?

Do Students Bully “Morning Watch” Contributors? An Investigation

Bullying on campus at MSU is an issue our administration takes seriously. The university’s anti-discrimination policy lists 14 protected classes, including race, age, gender, veteran status, and height. But a recent trawl through The Morning Watch archives led us at The Evening Look to an article that makes the case for a fifteenth class: students who write for The Morning Watch. Written by an anonymous contributor, the article is called “An Open Letter to Those Who Think MSU Students Can Do Better”. In it, we see ways in which The Morning Watch contributors are harassed on campus. With such a serious proposed change in university policy, we must take a careful look at the article to see if the case holds up.

Continue reading Do Students Bully “Morning Watch” Contributors? An Investigation

Who is the Holmes Hall RA? – The Beginnings

It was a rainy night, with a heavy fog obscuring the towering scoreboards of Spartan Stadium. As I walked down the sidewalk adjoined to Shaw Lane, I popped the collar of my bright purple winter coat which I had found once outside of a closing Sears. Sears, do you remember that place? Man, that place had good deals and quality products. Regardless, it had been a long day. But I was not planning to engage in my usual ‘bad day’ routine of drowning myself in five shots of Bailey’s and old reruns of CSI Miami. No, this was different. Instead, I continued forward with confidence, my mind captured by a single question. Never before had I obsessed over such a thing in my life. Every waking moment, I pondered this question, approaching it in different ways, sometimes writing it down in my chocolate milk stained, single page Question List which I’ve held since my grandfather’s mysterious disappearance off the coast of Prussia. And now I will ask you this question, and, hopefully, you will understand…please, understand. Who is the Holmes Hall RA?

This question first arrived while I was sitting in my dorm room one Friday morning. My stomach was still turning from the previous night’s activities, which I could only vaguely remember. Suddenly, my door flew open to reveal a gasping L. Squirrel, with his Macbook Pro clutched to his chest. Before I was able to ask what the hell he thought he was doing, he thrusted his device into my hands without saying a word. I looked down at the screen to see the beautiful, manicured homepage of The Morning Watch, the independent conservative media outlet of MSU. Welcoming me with the sweet, farm-like smell of objective, conservative reporting, I saw the cursor was hovering above an article which was published but four minutes prior. My heart began to race, delighted at the chance to read another pièce de résistance of journalism.

Excellent as always, the article concerned the leftist propaganda tool of cultural appropriation. Going into detail on how the Libs are attempting to take away my homemade Pancho Villa cosplay in the name of “cultural appropriation,” it clearly presented the newest ways the Clinton and Carter stooges are attempting to stifle our free speech. Towards the end of the article, however, I noticed a quote attributed to a familiar name, the Holmes Hall RA. I went back to the home page and clicked on another article–once again, the unknown Holmes Hall RA was quoted.

Quickly, I began to question who this insightful individual, this mysterious friend was. They were obviously a person of academic prowess, due to their thoughtful evaluation of the topics. Why, then, were they kept anonymous? How could such a prophet of conservatism not be shown to the public so they can speak the Truth to the masses. This person was deserving of the highest honor which can be bestowed upon a college student: personal recognition by a great statesman, such as Interim MSU President John Engler. Yet, an award of this nature cannot be conferred because of their anonymity. This was neither fair nor just.

On that day, I made it my task to find the Holmes RA and give them the recognition which they deserve. Join me on the multi-part journey to seek this Maestro.

– O. Justice

Next time: Where the fuck is Holmes Hall?

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Pissed Off Who?

In their most recent attempt at groundbreaking journalism, The Morning Watch published “Pissed Off MSU: Michigan State’s Newest Student Organization”. This stellar piece of reporting immediately contradicts its title by revealing that the main subject of the article—Pissed Off MSU (POM)—is actually almost a year old. It’s certainly possible that no new student organizations have been established since early March, but it’s also possible that Hillary will run in 2020. Neither seems likely or good for humanity in general, so I’m perfectly willing to dismiss them out of hand.

In truth, this article appears deeply untimely and unnecessary, with the sole purpose of exaggerating the presence and influence of violent leftist opposition to conservative outlets like The Morning Watch. A quick search of the MSU Student Organizations website will yield results for no such organization, meaning that POM is not even a recognized student organization. It has neither an official constitution nor the formal faculty sponsor required of university-approved organizations. A brief scan of their Facebook page reveals that they have posted nothing since November 17th and have no upcoming events. Doing the same for their website (hosted on the web’s premier content manager #notsponsored) shows even less activity, as they have posed only two articles with the most recent coming more than six months ago on June 19th.

The article’s summary of the organization and its mission would appear offensive to even a two-year old child. I found the misuse of ‘exemplifies’ particularly egregious but would be remiss to not point out this gem: “The group hopes their booklet solves what they believe is ignorance by highlighting the resistance and uprisings that have existed on MSU’s campus since 1855”. Not only is the clunky wording of this sentence unbefitting of basic picture books, it entirely mischaracterizes the group’s beliefs and purpose. POM is fighting against a specific subset of people and actions, not ignorance. The timeline shows the historical value of student protest to motivate potential recruits, not eliminate potential ignorance.

Beyond superficial critiques, it’s worth looking at the parts that delve into the land of opinion. Mr. Binkowski accomplishes this through the strategic use of external sources who can voice the beliefs of The Morning Watch behind a veil of simple, unbiased reporting. The mysterious Holmes Hall RA appears once again, and gives the scorching take that “as a society we’ve reached a peak of social equality”. I don’t know where to begin with such a statement other than audible laughter which is unfortunately impossible to transmit adequately through text. It’s not truly worth responding to, but in a world where one cannot turn a corner without being justifiably reminded about inequality by a different “ism” such an idea is entirely indefensible. If we want to actually reach peak social equality, the police are going to have to start shooting a lot more unarmed white folks.

Despite what Mr. Binkowski would have you believe, Pissed Off MSU is not a threat to conservatives on campus. If the group poses a serious threat to anything, it’s the financial well-being of the family members responsible for funding its slow and arduous journey through the death process of the American healthcare system. But this reflects more on the failures of healthcare in the United States than on the ability of POM to accomplish anything more than getting pissed off. The editors of The Evening Look, on the other hand, are very much not pissed off. We are enjoying our snow days and extremely grateful for the opportunity to publicly shame stupidity, in whatever form it may take.

– L. Squirrel

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Civil Discourse…

On a night of profound boredom in the now distant past, the editors of The Evening Look came across a truly inspiring article on The Morning Watch by Adam Green, the President of James Madison College Conservatives. This article — “Civil Discourse: Where We Falter”— has driven us to action, and we hope that our contributions can help inspire a truly open and productive intellectual environment. This is our attempt at civil discourse…

Despite the chorus of moans arising from 5th grade English teachers across the country, we feel obliged to begin with a grammatical definition. Specifically, we must define the role played by a 3-dot ellipsis in the English language. If the reason for this pressing need is not apparent, a quick look at Green’s article should clear up any confusion. According to Merriam-Webster, an ellipse is a “marks or a mark (such as …) indicating an omission (as of words) or a pause”. Literarydevices.com claims that these three dots “can stand in for whole sections of text that are omitted that do not change the overall meaning” or can “indicate a mysterious or unfinished thought, a leading sentence, or a pause or silence”.

If you have followed our previous guidance, then you are surely aware that the usage of ellipses in Green’s article fails to fit into these narrow definitions. They are almost exclusively used in places where a mere comma would suffice. Perhaps Green is issuing a scathing critique of left-wing attacks on civil discourse by refusing to be bound by traditional grammatical rules. Perhaps he is encoding a deeper, more important message in the frequent repetition of three dots. We would dare not suggest that Green simply fails to understand basic English, that the editing standards of The Morning Watch have declined in the wake of a recent influx of readership or that such standards were porous to begin with. No, such positions would be absurd.

Given that an ellipsis consists of three periods, there are 39 periods being used to form ellipses in Green’s article. There are also exactly 39 periods being used to end sentences in the article. That this could be a mere coincidence seems patently absurd, but our devoted editors have discovered no hidden codes after hours of research under the influence of mind-altering drugs. This is where we falter. But you can trust that we will continue to do our best on this noble quest for the truth.

While our interns turn their attention to the two kilograms of peyote currently sitting on our boardroom table, we must turn our attention to the rest of the article. Just as an ellipsis consists of three points, Green’s entire 18-paragraph article consists of only three real points. These three points are: 1- “We (society) are divided”, 2- “We don’t talk to each other”, and 3- “We should talk to each other”. Here is a sample paragraph from Green’s article with the parenthetical numbers referring to which point he’s making:

Opposing sides will rarely come to that center table or that center aisle and engage in civil discourse… rather engaging in anything but civil discourse. (2) This is where we falter. (3) We have polarized ourselves from having a conversation and attempting to recruit the opposing side to our own side…(1+2) Political discourse used to involve holding an educated civil debate, a policy forum, or a town hall in the hopes and in the expectation of convincing the opposing side of the merit of your proposed solution. (2+3)

Instead of wasting your time with complicated and unnecessary jargon, we can save some valuable trees and make the exact same points with just three simple phrases:

We don’t talk to each other. We should talk to each other. We are divided and we don’t talk to each other. We don’t talk to each other and we should talk to each other.

See, it’s that easy! We urge you to confirm this repetition for yourself and review the original. You’ll see that the article really is just full of irrelevant variations of these three points.

Despite these basic criticisms of the article, there is nothing inherently problematic with Green’s project. Conversation, discussion and debate are fundamentally important for civil society, and their necessity is exacerbated by a democratic political system. America is a deeply divided nation, at least according to 77% of Americans in a 2016 Gallup poll. However, the divisions America currently face actually problematize civil discourse itself. A recent survey revealed that almost 80% of Americans firmly believe that Democratic and Republican voters disagree on basic facts. In an environment in which the truth itself proves more elusive than proper usage of an ellipsis, coming to the table will only perpetuate our divisions. This is where he falters.

Even if one believes that this factual divide can be overcome, and that civil discourse should be pursued, Green’s article suffers from a lack of actual substance. Green’s article fails to in any way advance our understanding of the practice of civil discourse. Specifically, Green’s article does not provide us with a concrete method for solving our divisions. Should we attend the bipartisan debates presented by the James Madison College Conservatives? This seems problematic for three reasons: the importance of fact-based argumentation and two further reasons deriving from the social setting of such debates.

First, our editors’ attendance of such events has revealed that while facts are thrown around constantly, there is no method for discerning truth and falsity in the midst of the proceedings. Further, the environment of such debates exacerbates a problem Green observes: “we do not often enter a debate setting looking to gain followers” and “we shy away from uncomfortable political engagement, and often choose to attack the opposing side from a great distance under our own protected fields of influence”. As much as such events reduce the physical distance between participants, the great presence of ideologically similar participants allows people to use “trendy political slander” to retreat from intellectual engagement in the knowledge that they are surrounded by supporters. Additionally, while it is true that “screaming into one’s face and insulting their humanity doesn’t provide any more reason to them to join in our supporting our proposals”, our editor’s first hand knowledge of these events suggests that such things are not an uncommon occurrence, rendering the discussions less effective by Green’s own standards.

How then, should we engage in productive civil discourse? Should we just find random liberals or conservatives and talk to them? Surely not: this is similarly problematic with regards to fact-checking and such individual discussions are limited in the magnitude and scope of their effect.

We at The Evening Look thus present ourselves as the second half of the solution. Civil discourse can be maximally effective in interactive debate between our platform and the “independent conservative voice on campus”. Fact-checking accountability is heightened through the ability of one site to watch the other and the easy linkage to internet sources. Interactive debate is able to reach a greater audience without creating a damaging social environment. We will falter no more.

The Evening Look is a direct response, in Green’s words, to the “need to invite everyone to the table for a discussion, work at convincing them of our proposed ideas, and not shy away from being allowed to be taught something from them as well”. We invite, no, we challenge The Morning Watch to meet us at the virtual table and to debate, with humor and gravity, the issues of our world.

– The Editors of The Evening Look

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