CAMPBELL: A challenge to make every last word count

Carlie_newLast week, I stumbled upon a column written by a student staff member of The Stanford Daily, the daily newspaper at Stanford University. I only saw it because one of my Facebook friends, one of those Facebook friends whom I randomly met once or twice in high school, posted a link to it. After a small bout of intense Facebook stalking, I realized this guy is actually a Stanford graduate.

For a while, I wished I had never followed the link and read any of the columns – I started to feel wholly inadequate, as a columnist and a human being, compared to these smart Stanfordites.

I tried to convince myself that these students really had nothing on me. What do they know about real life? Their beautiful Spanish architecture, perfectly manicured lawns and always-sunny California weather keep them sheltered from the real world that we obviously struggle through in Milwaukee every day (please hear the sarcasm in my writing – the “Marquette bubble” is a real thing, my friends). But remember how cold it was last week? Remember the homeless person who asked you for bus fare on Wisconsin Avenue yesterday? Surely these pseudo-Ivy Leaguers can’t really appreciate any of that.

After reading a few more columns, I started to take it a little easier on them. I mean, they did get into Stanford, something I can’t say I’ve done with my life (not that I’ve tried). But there is some truly intelligent discourse going on in the pages of The Stanford Daily. From racism to abortion, stargazing to cultural views of sexuality, their arguments are strong and their writing is even stronger.

I found that I fundamentally disagreed with some of the views expressed by these Cardinal columnists, but so do their fellow writers. They write columns disagreeing with one another and tackle issues I have been afraid to talk about in my writing for a long time.

I was highly impressed that almost every column has several comments posted below it – valuable ones, not simply, “you’re dumb and wrong.” At the bottom of every column, the writer invites readers to email them thoughts on their writing. I’ve gotten a few emails about my columns, mostly “I really appreciated what you wrote about” emails. I enjoy these, I really do, but I’d love to hear more and to start discourse on campus through my writing.

So I am issuing a challenge to you, readers, and to my fellow columnists: let’s step it up. Let’s make people angry. Let’s get people thinking. If you have something to say about what you read in the Tribune, please don’t hesitate to comment on our columns. Tony and Brooke, if I say something that makes you cringe or think, “Wow, I can’t believe I’m on the same staff she is,” let me know. Readers, is there an issue you are passionate about? Let us know so we can write about it. The job of a columnist is to spark discourse and comment on things that are going on in our communities. What do you want our opinions about?

While there are some topics I probably won’t write about, those are few and far between. I’m not in the business of degrading other people for their opinions, but I will gladly respectfully disagree with you and put thought into my writing. I have four months left to write for this publication, so give me something interesting to write about, Marquette.