We Are Sorry for Us

by Geoff Carlson | 11/21/01 6:00am

Throughout the course of human affairs, mankind has borne witness to untold injustice and oppression. The reign of Nero, the Spanish Inquisition, the signing of the Bill of Rights -- these are but a few dog-eared pages in the great civics textbook of Historical Iniquity. And yet, cursed as these events surely are, they pale in comparison to the publication of the Dartmouth Jack-O-Lantern.

This time we have gone too far. The warm, sweet breast-milk of diversity has been lactated through a teat of social infamy. Every page in our latest opus is a stinging bamboo thrash upon the soft, supple skin of cosmic harmony; every paragraph but a suppurating flesh wound of cultural insensitivity. We were given a generous endowment from COSO to somehow add levity to the daily rigors of modern Ivy League life. But instead, we birthed a hideous sea-hag whose 20 pages of high-gloss, unrecyclable paper could have been better used as brochures promulgating UN-sponsored humanitarian efforts into the Heart of Darkness.

"The horror, the horror," indeed, indeed.

How dare we transgress the laws of civilized society, those which enable us to attend this prestigious institution of higher learning? What right have we to defame great works of Western literature without so much as a single mention of one of the pre-colonial texts to emerge from the Eastern corners of the globe? What would Edward Said make of our prejudicial satirizing of Occidental sociologies of knowledge? How would countless suburban American housewives feel to know their tribal chieftain, Oprah, is only featured once on the cover mosaic, and with a hyperbolically enlarged head? Who are we to puncture the great Philosopher Kings of the human endeavor: Socrates, Plato, Gary Condit?

And most importantly, where is Hillary Miller to helm our dread ship across the vast expanse of murky abyss we call campus synergy?

Making light of the current crisis in Afghanistan, suggesting that dropping school lunches, not bombs, is the fastest means to felling Islamic terrorism -- what cowardly fascist on our staff hatched this plan from his den of cowardly fascism! We will raise no flag of comedic triumph, for had we looked beyond our knee-jerk ignorant japing, we might well have discovered the Koran forbids the consumption of corn-dogs and that ketchup is not, as some jingoistic, ethnocentric world leaders would have it, a nutritious vegetable. It is a fruit.

Similarly, shame on us for taking jocose arms against the citadel of differently-abled scientific genius. Stephen Hawking, O brave, flaccid explorer of the universe -- you deserve better than to streak the Cambridge campus in that hamster-powered pity-mobile, reduced to some pranksterish shadow of your former IQ! Would that there was a black hole of contrition to transport us to an alternate dimension of Ribbon Awareness!

Loath are we to sit by while the exploitative designs of the few -- the "us" -- befoul the many. Tell us, Kant: Where are your categorical imperatives now? Where are they to smash our G4 studio computers -- boilerplates of doom! -- and raze that infernal office space we collectively occupy in 109 Robinson Hall? Jack-NO!, we declare as one voice raging against the dying of the light!

Alas, what Muse of Post-PC Indecency inspired a re-re-centering of those noble SATs, one in which the racial bias of close reading passages was tipped in favor of marginalized groups within the American college-age demographic?

Who will sleep out on the Green for No. 2 pencils?

Oh, how the karmic colors of the rainbow run to know that Zelda, divine princess of the realm of console gaming, has been dry-humped into an incestuous Nintendo mother by the bonobo monkey of our buffoonery. A binary Jocasta to Link's Oedipus, she stands in absurd juxtaposition of low-pop culture and the high-art literary tradition, yet she stands alone, bereft of the deconstructive electric blanket of Camille Paglia's scholarly insights.

Ours is the wah-hoo-wahing of Greek tragedy.

We, the Jacko, must be held accountable for our sins against good taste. Perhaps this might be accomplished by subjecting Geoffrey Carlson, Christopher Plehal, Nicolas Duquette, and Michael Weiss -- the editors of this bete noire of the Dartmouth community -- to various, deserved modes of righteous torture. Such might include: 1) Having their livers pecked at eternally by the endangered Whooping Crane; 2) Being thrown into a pit filled with the starved members of the "Dartmouth Free Press" directorate; 3) Having Dean Larimore scream: "You just don't get it!" at us until we cry salty tears of apology; or 4) Being spanked with the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Regardless of whatever retribution is visited upon us, we acknowledge that the damage has already been done. We realize our callousness has ensnared the Dolphin of Discontent in the Joyous Tuna Net of Understanding and Brotherly Valuation. Mother Earth cries out, "Why?" Yet we have no answer for Her, no panacea for the pain our miserable conjurings have caused. We can merely beg forgiveness with yesterday's candlelight vigil and self-protest on the Green.

Our candles, though unlit due to the sunlight and windshield factor of 12, burned brightly within our reformed hearts like so many oncoming headlights before helpless New England fauna.

They burned in an effort to ward off potential readers of our magazine. They burned as a gesture of self-denunciation. We must raise public consciousness on this campus to the point where the world becomes inhospitable to roaming marauders of mock such as ourselves. We are the fiends who hide behind our jolly masks of humor, all the while silently wreaking havoc with our sophomoric sarcasm and Photoshoped tragi-irony.

We must be stopped.

This battle will be hard-fought and long. There will be many emotional casualties along the way, as we continue to churn out and subsequently repudiate our humor over the next few years. But lest the exposed bedsore of our wickedness fester without a pre-Thanksgiving salve of sanctimonious aloe vera, we offer to you this excerpt from our oeuvre of self-indulgent slam poetry in metaphoric penance. Read it and be reminded that hope, as Maya Angelou probably once said somewhere, "lingers on" ... Read it and take comfort in the fact that ... we are sorry for us:

Murder, kill, kill / Indifference is a cataract

In the eyeball of Progress / The Greek System --

Gave me a Tumor / The Jacko made it

M A L I G N A N T / Ouch, That's My Foot.