All Work and No Play…

Rene Descartes, “Unknown”

Sometimes, in the course of making these little criticisms, I come across an article that has such poor writing its premise falls apart under the weakest examination. One such article was “The Superiority Complex of the Left”, published on (where else?) The Morning Watch and attributed to Jack Carlson. I say “attributed” because I have no idea why anyone would put their real name on this. 

Carlson’s point is that the campus left is unique in its hypocrisy towards its stated values. They believe in freedom of expression, but have all these big bad institutions like bias workshops and advisory signs in the dorms. 

The problem is that Carlson’s life experience, per his article, doesn’t track with his opinion. After saying that he wishes that he could engage respectfully with people he disagrees with politically, the next line reveals he has lots of friends that he disagrees with. He says that the predominant trait of campus leftism is “a sense of moral superiority” but also says most of the leftist students he has met are “intelligent, decent, and reasonable people”. So he’s met a lot of students who are leftists, or at the very least further left than him, and they’ve been nice to him and have had good conversations with him where they respect each other. Yet he continues to insist that campus leftism is none of those things.

Here at The Evening Look, our job is to provide the sense of moral superiority Carlson can’t find in regular campus leftism. We are proud to state that we believe we are morally great and better than The Morning Watch. Has he considered being better, like us? 

But this is not an article about campus leftism. This is an article about getting Owned Online. Carlson is mad, red, and nude, as they say on Twitter. Why is he that way? People didn’t like an article he wrote about a James Madison College #ClimateStrike panel. Words such as “inaccurate” and “slanderous” were thrown around (of course, there are no receipts provided for these insults). If random users on Twitter calling an article “inaccurate” cause you to write a whole article about how your ideology is actually good, you may have the thin skin you claim to see in others.

This leads to the biggest howler of the article: “Conservatism in its nature, does not appear to be an ideology that causes students to strike out at their peers and hold a tone of superiority towards others.” What is The Morning Watch if not conservatives striking out at their non-conservative peers by “exposing leftist bias”? Is “Objectivity, Not Subjectivity” not holding a tone of superiority by implicitly implying that this opinion article is objective fact rather than, well, an opinion? I’m baffled by this sentence.

Maybe I shouldn’t be. Carlson has published four opinion articles in under a month and a half, which represents nearly two-thirds of the entire article output of the site. Perhaps he’s simply working on a deadline for that sweet, sweet #content. Who hasn’t just thrown a bunch of stuff together last minute to turn in? I know I have. If we had deadlines to meet, we’d be pulling all nighters and drinking dangerous amounts of Red Bull while we cranked out pieces about the tyranny of conservative PTCD professors. 

The Morning Watch should reconsider its content strategy if it’s forcing a single writer to crank out as many opinions as possible to keep its name out there. The piece isn’t ready for prime time, and I hope Carlson frees himself of the content mill he finds himself in.

-K. Sins

High Thoughts: Why Conservatives Aren’t Funny

Dear viewers, let’s set the scene real quick: 

I, your esteemed author, have just sat down to spill his thoughts out onto his laptop after having just taken a fatass rip of wax, with Vampire Weekend on the speaker and Emeril Legasse on the TV. 

I am in an uncanny state of mind.

An attempt at visualizing what the author saw while writing this.

So let me talk about what’s been really snazzing my jazz lately: the Morning Watch’s pitiful attempt at a ‘satire’ section on their website. 

Literally nobody asked for this. Its very existence is currently destroying the one shared brain cell we have as a species, and for this reason I request that it be discontinued immediately.

Now, I am aware that a non-insignificant number of our viewers are actually collegiate conservatives who just like to make fun of our “zero effort WordPress website”. 

They’re right: we put barely any effort into our content, yet are also funnier and more critical than Sergei Kelley The Morning Watch. I’m sure that all my boys reading this who like this humor will do one of two things: complain like the “snowflakes” they despise, or realize that we, the plebian “Evening Blind” as referred to by Daddy Sergei, have successfully influenced The Morning Watch’s decision making and thus have been formally noticed by senpai. 

For my Republican readers, allow me to use this attention to educate you on one simple fact: conservatives cannot be funny. 

Let me explain.

Humor and comedy are effective because of a basic formula they follow: 

1) Identify some true absurdity occurring in the world, 2) maximize said absurdity beyond its usual boundaries in order to expose the sheer stupidity or juxtaposition of said phenomenon, and 3) punchline.

Humor as a communicative tool exists for humans to be reminded of our failings, absurdities, or irrational idiosyncrasies in order to make fun of them and become a little more enlightened. This is why random humor isn’t funny, because it un-strategically attempts to shotgun multiple subjects at the viewer in hopes that they find some cosmic absurdity among a few of the subjects being joked about. 

I’m only 20 minutes into a 2 hour high.

Allow me to critically analyze one of the Morning Watch’s more recent satire pieces to illustrate my point.

I just went to Google to look up The Morning Watch and only found a bunch of youth-based Bible sites that look like shit. I’m sorry for the aside. Let me get back to my words.

Ok, first of all, upon reading the Baby Bible Website’s satire piece on forced diversity classes I see a couple typos/mistakes that I will refuse to specify in order to make The Morning Watch actually review its content for once in a goddamn election cycle. 

I’m getting too high for this.

So this piece of literature titled Mandatory Diversity Classes WILL Increase yadayadyada sets the scene in a fantasy world MSU that creates classes to teach students about microaggressions, macroaggressions, and picoagrerssions because all of a sudden blinks can be offensive. (???) They then present the viewer with some fake student interviews, which is strange given that dedicated readers know the Holmes Hall RA could be any made up schmuck that Sergei knows. 

Holy shit Meat Loaf just came on the speaker and I’m fucking hype rn, bout ta pop off

I must admit that The Morning Watch does get the first step of humor right in this article. They are able to successfully identify a small societal absurdity, in this case the existence of educating people on how to be decent citizens who treat each other with respect. How could anyone ever think that this is acceptable in Trump’s America? So of course they choose to cling to the tit of “microagression education” in order to milk it for as much comedic potential as possible.

The problem with The Morning Watch’s humor is that they cling to the tit and don’t suck. They fail to do step two and magnify it. Yes, they frame microagression classes as mandatory, and make up some bullshit “picoagression” class that teaches people about sexist blinking. The problem is that these are real possibilities due to the shitty way that people who read The Morning Watch keep acting to minorities and women.  

Worse, the humor conservatives create is always a subtle defense for their own backwards views. Good comedy can’t be defensive! Comedy is meant to be progressive and challenging, in order to expose stupidity and laugh it away. Comedians and humorists have nothing to defend. They make fun of everything, even themselves. Conservatives, and particularly Morning Watch humor writer Thomas “Kanye said nothing wrong” West, write like they still have an ego which hasn’t been destroyed by a generational depression induced by gun violence, global warming, and Nazis. All their humor does is remind us that people are still out there who could march on Charlottesville again. The comedic value derived from their not-quite-absurd enough humor is innately tempered by the reality in which these subjects dwell. 

To put it bluntly, The Morning Watch’s humor is too grounded, poorly structured, and sounds like its written by a guy who was called funny once by another conservative and decided he was George fucking Costanza. 

Regarding the lack of structure, there’s never any punchline to their humor. They never tie it up in a neat bow or use any callbacks. It just meanders throughout its confusing existence, much like the Republican Party after the existence of Trump.

Humor has to be pointed! It must be stinging, biting, visceral, and carry a real punch. You can only do that through structure, elsewise I just feel like Mr. West is draping me in a semi-moist towel with a slightly too passive-aggressive grip, but not enough that I won’t say “thank you.”

In conclusion: Mr. West, do better. The Morning Watch Sergei Kelley, please off this fool if he can’t do better. Readers, please remember to make fun of stupidity as much as possible, since that’s the only way to make this mess of a world marginally more enjoyable than suicide.

I’m about an hour into my high and feeling fucking amazing, so I’m gonna crawl into the kitchen and down half a pack of Keebler Elfwiches. 

-B. Bunny

Consider That The Morning Watch Might Accidentally Be Furthering Campus Liberalism

I don’t understand your strategy. You consistently write about various instances of collegiate “leftism” on campus yet, as a self-titled conservative outlet, refuse to comment or criticize anything. It seems almost contradictory that your tagline reads “objectivity, not subjectivity”, yet you blatantly label yourself as the only conservative publication on campus. 

Which one is it?

It reads like a classic case of trying to have your cake and eat it too, except you seem to be attempting to eat a vegan cupcake which you don’t quite possess in the first place. 

Do you want your readers to be the ones making the value judgements while you sit and shrug? If so, it would seem consistent to try reporting on all campus news and not preselect for the most underwhelming liberal activities on campus. Reading through your posts in the last few months, you would think conservatives never do activities on campus. Don’t you want to talk about how awesome it is when your folks come here to DESTROY random students with FACTS* and LOGIC*?  It’s frustrating to read and makes it difficult to understand your angle.

The dedication to objectivity makes it impossible to tell your angle. You wrote an article about pronoun training for MSU service workers and decided to interview the vice president of MSU’s Turning Point USA chapter, but because you put on this objectivity charade you make him say “yeah it’s a little out there but I think it’s fine,” like some sort of liberal. A reader who doesn’t know about the topic might walk away thinking “Boy, no one seems to have any objection to this policy at all. It sounds like a fantastic idea.” 

You are a largely milquetoast outlet trying desperately to live up to the fetishized dream of a perfectly objective conservative news outlet. You want to say the Forbidden Words about pronoun training, but instead you look like a thirsty man begging a woman for a crumb of coochie in the DMs. I hate to break it to you, but anyone who stumbles upon your site and just reads the last few posts probably thinks you’re godless libs. Therefore I would like to present a solution to this chimeric logic nightmare: 

Become an independent liberal outlet on campus.

In order to balance your principles of conservatism and objectivity you very clearly self-select events to report on which demonstrate progressive actions and agendas (read: bias), yet after choosing which articles to write you simply report the events in language that would make Hemingway beg for more substance. This leaves your entire website a collection of articles describing, in boringly objective detail, the liberal activities around campus. The material is all there – straightforward, nearly positive reporting on the new campus multicultural center, using the singular “they” in emails, James Madison hosting a conference on “Race and Socialism”. The talent is there to make the material pop, as we’ve seen. All you have to do is get rid of the opinion section, the only section that makes it clear the site is conservative. Now you’re a liberal outlet, writing your pieces in the same way, but that’s exactly how a liberal site would want them to be written. You might even get others to participate in, shall we say…civil discourse. 

– B. Bunny

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.

Our story begins a few days ago with the vital journalistic work of The Evening Look’s Chief Political Correspondent O. Justice. As a result of his deep and far-reaching connections throughout the political apparatus of this university and his undue fascination with representative Kelley, O. Justice managed to come across the document that would prove the catalyst for this entire debacle. Penned by representative Kelley himself, this document is an eerily unabashed attempt at political strategy. Much like the postwar Soviets, Kelley calls for a red wave to change the nature and makeup of our governing bodies in a flippant attempt to undermine the principles of representation. While Kelley channeling his inner Roger Stone was problematic by itself, in what amounts to an almost comedic reversal of the Clinton email controversy, the use of the ASMSU logo in his email to spread this blueprint for a conservative takeover of the organization is an alleged violation of the organization’s internal rules.

Sergei Kelley’s plan for an ASMSU Conservative Wave

As the bill explains, the ASMSU code of conduct states that “Representations made on behalf of ASMSU are to be neither misleading, incorrect, nor inherently false, and are to reflect organizational policy and opinion”. Thus, by using his official ASMSU email and the organization’s official logo to spread this document, Kelley was misrepresenting the representatives of our student body. The bill also alleges that Kelley’s specific targeting of conservatives violates the Preamble to the ASMSU Elections Code which states “ASMSU does not endorse the use of political slates or unauthorized political endorsements in its election process”. Kelley’s call for a conservative wave obviously neglects even a superficial attempt at bipartisanship, serving the interests of Kelley and his political allies rather than the actual students of MSU.

Bill calling for the removal of Sergei Kelley

But the content of the debate revealed that this most recent infraction may not have been the only one on Kelley’s record, as allegations of a similar nature also surfaced in regards to a flag bill from last year, in which Kelley allegedly falsely represented himself as acting on behalf of ASMSU whilst soliciting funding for the distribution of American and MSU flags around campus. While Kelley’s outspoken conservatism amongst a group of mostly liberal representatives certainly did not help his image, it was his own actions that brought him to edge of a forced retirement with no severance package. It was in light of these actions that Lyman Briggs representative Ben Horne drafted a bill calling for the removal of Sergei Kelley from ASMSU. A vote to bypass the normal committee process passed with relative ease, and the stage was set for a monumental struggle. After hours of the procedural matters that dominate these meetings, the bill was returned to the floor and the battle lines were drawn. The opposition to this measure quickly emerged, rooted in an undying faith in the power of democracy.

Horne’s bill references a clause of the Constitution that allows the General Assembly to exercise all “powers not specified nor prohibited in this Constitution that are necessary to carry out the duties of the General Assembly” because there is no specific outlined mechanism for the General Assembly to hold representatives accountable for actions other than poor attendance. Those opposed to Horne’s bill thus espoused fear about setting an improper precedent, whilst also pointing out the existing mechanism of representative accountability: electoral recalls. The ASMSU Constitution states that “A voting member of the General Assembly may be recalled by a simple majority vote of the representative’s constituency through a recall election initiated by a petition containing 10% of the eligible voters of the representative’s constituency”. Such a clause may appear the most reasonable and democratic solution, but some statistics suggest problems with the process. According to the Office of the Registrar, there are 3,243 full-time students in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources as of Spring 2019. This means that a petition of at least 324 students would be required to trigger a recall vote for representative Kelley, which seems ridiculously large when ASMSU’s own statistics show that Kelley was elected with only 52 votes last April.

Despite the apparent flaws of this system, its existence and the lack of a specific mechanism by which the General Assembly could take punitive action led many to oppose the bill. During the extensive debate over the bill there were two attempts to amend it but both failed. The first amendment would have suspended both his voting and speaking privileges for the next 30 days, while the second one would have only limited his ability to vote for the same period. With neither of these more moderate solutions to the matter at hand having the necessary support, it became fairly clear that Sergei Kelley would survive. Those still supporting his ousting pointed to the need for accountability that the problematic recall system may be unable to provide, but the lack of a precedent or a constitutional process for such action proved untenable for the great majority of ASMSU members. The final vote failed by a vote of 5 to 22, with 8 abstentions. A few of those most committed to his removal stormed out of the meeting prompting a five minute recess. The representatives who stayed may have taken comfort in being on the winning side of the argument, but the entire matter highlighted the problems inherent in a representative democracy suffering a deep disconnect with its voting base.

While ASMSU does take extensive measures to attempt to “get out the vote”, the harsh reality of the situation is that voter turnout remains abysmally low. While leaving accountability in the hands of the voter through a recall vote is potentially the most democratic solution, it seems inappropriate given the apathetic relationship most students appear to have with the organization. The best way forward appears to be a change to the ASMSU Constitution that outlines a clear punitive process for the General Assembly to deal with violations of the code of conduct. Otherwise the complete lack of accountability for repeated abuses of the rules poses a serious threat to the credibility of our representative body.

– The Evening Look Staff