May is taking a senior seminar in the English department entitled “Decadence, Degeneration and the Fin de Siècle.” The word “positivist” gets thrown around a lot in her readings. This is because many fin-de-siècle writers write against the positivist tradition, their works running counter to notions of Enlightenment rationalism. These writers, through their textual evocations of sensations and “impressions,” upend notions of an empirical reality — of objectivity, of certainty, of Truth.
May is a self-proclaimed narcissist, so she likes the idea of a purely subjective reality. She likes to think that the world is as fickle as she is — that she can change reality by changing her mind. And she likes to believe, above all, that art is a screen for self-projection, a vehicle for self-actualization, a process, in the words of Walter Pater, of constant “weaving and unweaving” of the self. But May hasn’t slept in four days, so this might all just be a load of bullocks. She suspects that it is.
But May’s insomnia-induced ramblings aside, there is little that The Mirror editors are certain of. For Lauren, it’s that going out four nights a week is not the best remedy for a dry cough. For Annette (and the rest of The Dartmouth staff), it’s that Ray’s country music playlist is trash, and not a miracle compilation of “bangers” as he so purports.
As its editors engage in discussions of truths, and as protesters across this country march for science research — for singular and empirical truth in the face of “alternative facts” — The Mirror takes up the same debate. This issue confronts the nature of fact and the ever-blurring border that separates it from fiction. Featuring stories on conspiracy in democracy, the status of divestment at Dartmouth and the reality of undocumented students, this issue reckons with and reframes the “truth.” We hope you enjoy the issue!