Some of you may know that I am an editor of the Mad Cow. However, as I write this article I am writing solely as a student, because the article that follows is neither endorsed by the staff of the Mad Cow, nor does it reflect their opinions. Any accolade or disgruntlement which arises from this article is due to firstname.lastname@example.org, and nowhere else.
There is a problem that has been plaguing this campus for some time now, and it is one that Nelson Hioe has finally had the courage to address: There is far too much humor on campus. Why, last year alone in addition to Comba Za not only was there a comedy night at Goodrich a few days before finals, but the Mad Cow also printed not one, but two issues. This unprecedented outbreak of humor on campus must be halted at all costs. Nelson suggests a logical solution to help achieve this goal, which is not to fund the Mad Cow.
There are many important reasons behind this decision, some of which Nelson himself cited in his article last week. For instance, he points out that the Mad Cow is of low literary quality. This is entirely true. The humor in the Mad Cow shows a blatant disregard for literary merit, tending towards articles designed to be “funny” as opposed to well-crafted intellectually engaging arguments resulting in a coherent thesis. Not only is there no character development throughout the stories, but the “poems” (if you can call them such) don’t even follow the required iambic pentameter. Magazines such as this merely dilute the academic environment we have worked so hard to create.
This brings us to another point. Not only does the Mad Cow lack any sort of literary merit, but Nelson himself finds it to be unfunny. Far too many organizations already exist on campus that Nelson does not feel are useful. College Council should impose new bylaws requiring all funding requests from clubs to be subject to the Nelson Hioe Board of Review. With so many organizations asking for money, we cannot afford to fund any entity that has not been personally approved by Nelson himself.
Another issue is the relative usefulness of funding publications in general. Why should there be a Literary Review or a Mad Cow when we could have an extra couple of events that 50 or so people will attend during the year? Money only stimulates the economy when it is in flux, and for that reason, we should only fund temporary events that occur one day. Creating a permanent magazine that students would be able to keep or that we would be able to show to incoming students as an example of what our college does merely undermines our purpose. Enduring publications must not be allowed to exist on campus, lest we have something leftover at the end of the day to remind us what we spent our funding on.
What’s more, the campus already has the Record. Do we really need more than one publication on campus? A unified college spirit can only be attained by a unified publication, and allowing different writing styles and forums to flourish is something that we cannot allow. It’s all well and good to applaud diversity on campus, but actually funding diverse perspectives tarnishes the image everyone has of the typical Williams student.
We should really be spending College Council funds to improve upon the existing framework already in place. Money should not be allocated to keep a humor magazine on campus alive when we could be spending it on more a cappella groups. There are still some students here who are not affiliated with any a cappella group, which poses a dangerous threat to our community.
If differences are allowed to flourish, they will bloom into ideas that may not conform to our campus homogeneity. We, as a community, must agree only to support dances, a capella groups and other such pre-approved organizations. Uniqueness would destroy that which we have worked so hard to achieve. As Nelson explains about the Mad Cow, “the fact that the magazine is funded at all is symptomatic of a problem in funding attitude…”
Thus, it is obvious that Nelson feels that the Mad Cow is lacking in quality. He believes it is unfunny and should receive not a penny to fund its nefarious humor-writing tendencies. For these reasons, it’s easy to understand why he calls himself “a benevolent non-appreciator.” Let us join Nelson in benevolently destroying the Mad Cow, and eradicate the scourge of humor from our campus.