The award-winning Grove City College student newspaper, Oct. 25, 2019
From the Editor’s desk
A coward’s retreat
James Sutherland Editor-in-Chief
October has not been kind to President Trump, with impeachment inquiries looking into yet another scandal in his administration. And yet, the Ukraine scandal is far from the blackest spot to appear on Trump’s legacy this month. No, that distinction goes to his cowardly abdication in Syria; the contest is not even close. Two weeks ago Trump announced he was pulling all American troops out of northern Syria effective immediately. The move is in line with his broader foreign policy concern that America is over-stretched and needs to pull back. Broadly, that is a legitimate concern and a good solution. In Syria, however, it was a disastrous move. First, it is a remarkably destabilizing move for a region that was just beginning to stabilize. Already, 130,000 Kurds have been displaced, with up to half a million more facing that fate. A full-blown humanitarian crisis is on our hands. And as Trump himself likes to brag, the war against ISIS (and Islamic extremism writ large) was in a very strong position, if not outright over. The terrorist group was largely a nonplayer in the region, with most of their fighters locked in Kurdish-controlled prisons. But now, all that good work is quickly unraveling. In the wake of KurdishTurkish fights, ISIS fighters are escaping and reorganizing en masse. Trump’s move
may reignite terrorism in Syria. Second, the evacuation allowed a massive foothold for hostile powers. Turkey immediately took advantage, moving thousands of troops into northern Syria with little to stop them. Bashar al-Assad’s regime also benefitted from the move, striking an alliance with Kurdish groups who were desperately trying to fight off the Turkish. And finally, Russia gained as well. It played both sides brilliantly. The Syrian regime, which it has been propping up for years, grew more stable. The Turks, who are longtime frenemies with the Kremlin, also gained geopolitical strength And lastly, they have established themselves are the primary power-brokers in the region. What an abdication of American responsibility in the region. But more than anything else, the move was a supreme act of cowardice and faithlessness. To be fair, we really should not expect fidelity from the man with three wives and innumerable mistresses. But even granting that, this act of disloyalty to the Kurds is shocking and revolting. The Kurds have long been our best allies in the region, dating back to the early 1990s. The Kurdish state was maybe the only bright beacon in the region: a stable, prospering democracy surrounded by a raging sea of corruption and dictators. This is who Trump betrayed: allies who sacrificed their lives for our fights, and who would gladly do so again. It is an infuriating, shocking, yellow-bellied abandonment of responsibility.
Collegian Staff Editor-in-Chief
Section Editors News
Social Media Manager Matthew Moody
James Sutherland Grace Tarr
Perspectives Josh Tatum
Entertainment Nora Sweeney
Photo Chief Wes Kinney
Britney Lukasiewicz Davis Miller
Natalie Dell Claire Josey Michael Martin Lauren Ness Elizabeth Schinkel Caleb West
Katheryn Frazier Fiona Lacey David Smith Mackenzie Stine Mallory Trumbull Jules Wooldridge David Zimmerman
Nick Hildebrand The Collegian is the student newspaper of Grove City College, located in Grove City, Pa. Opinions appearing on these pages, unless expressly stated otherwise, represent the views of individual writers. They are not the collective views of The Collegian, its staff or Grove City College.
Green Eyeshade Award the
This week’s Green Eyeshade Award goes to Paige Fay for her excellent writing, editing, and attitude. Thanks for all the great work Paige! The Green Eyeshade Award honors student contributors that demonstrate consistency and excellence in their work.
#!@%&$ Profanity is complicated
Perspectives Editor Profanity, even on Grove City’s hallowed campus, is somewhat common. It is difficult to decide whether this is a recent trend, but my intuition says that it is. Not the use of profanity per se, but rather the sense that the jolt of a four-letter word said in a HAL hallway (or some lectures) has faded to a dull static. A team of researchers led by data-wrangler Jean Twenge found that books published in the mid-aughts were “28 times more likely to include swear words than books published in the early 1950s.” It is difficult to decide, however, whether this 2,800 percent increase is reflective of the popular diction at large. On one hand, one would expect that this an underestimate, being that most authors do not (simply for readability’s sake) truly mirror the dense peppering of four-letter words characteristic of most locker room talk, football games and drunken wedding speeches. On the other hand, folks have been swearing for a while now, something which has only recently been captured in writing (consider Allen Ginsberg’s 1956 poem “Howl” which became the subject of an obscenity trial for – among other obscenities – dropping the f-bomb
only once). My guess is that, as a metric on popular diction, Twenge’s data show a moderate increase thereof, from which Grove City has not been totally isolated. But shouldn’t this be concerning? Saint Paul, for example, was especially puritanical towards “obscene talk,” censuring it often in his epistles. Paul, née Saul, was there when the Sanhedrin set upon Stephen and “gnashed their teeth at him” before stoning him (Act 7:54). Now the question of whether the gnashing of teeth is a roundabout reference to swearing is up for debate, but it’s hard to imagine that the act of stoning, like most violent acts, would not be buttressed and informed by profanity. So, it’s no wonder that Saul’s time violently persecuting early Christians had (along with a smattering of Old Testament references) no small influence on Paul. A word is, for a person, not its dictionary definition, but the composite of every context in which they’ve either seen or heard that word. That is why those words (even in reading Ralph Ellison or Mark Twain or listening to John Lennon) which still accompany racial violence in America are still so jolting, and the word “cracker” (at least for me, having never heard it hurled in anger) is not.
Another point in this dissonant collection of them is this: one cannot truly understand police brutality, misogyny or the plight of the poor without understanding the words used therefor. So, if the media reports on Trump’s reference to “s--hole countries” and leaves out the scatology, something essential is lost (that being said, most editors decided to leave the word uncensored). And the subjective definition of the word also well explains why those vulgar slangs still make young and old fogeys alike uncomfortable. Whereas “d---” (a word shocking to 1939 theatergoers), when said with the right tone, can make for great rhetorical effect. But the question still remains as to whether Trump should have used that word (among other four-letter words on the campaign trail) at all. The three things important to the usage of a curse word is intent, frequency and context. While Trump’s usage is infrequent (at least publically), his intention is often to wound and the context of those words is a jumbled, fourth grade-level rhetoric. But when the erudite Dr. Gordon, in a sentence with the words “aleatory” and “imbroglio,” decides to use “d---” just for the flavor of it, the last thing one can take at its usage, is umbrage.
This week in Collegian history
Be a light to the world Oct. 21, 1929 Advertisement: “brighten the corner where you aren’t” “Mighty few parents are hard-boiled when they get to thinking about Sons who are away at College.” This particular ad, boasting Roaring 20’s slang and some choice metaphors, implores forgetful college boys to keep in touch with their parents by way of a telephone service provided by a business in town. “And we have provided a way to send some of that glow to the folks back home, along with the cheerful notes of your baritone voice. It’s only a matter of moments to home… by Telephone. Just for fun… call Home tonight.” Oct. 22, 1969 “Red China Escapee Speaks to Grovers” On Oct. 8th, a woman named Mary Wang came to speak to Grove City’s campus. Miss Wang grew up in the world of Communist China, a world that her father and brother barely escaped with their lives. She herself was sent to Shanghai, where she was under constant surveillance but in turn learned a great deal about many facets of life under Communist rule. Government executions, confiscation of property, restriction of any kind
of religious activity- all facts of life for citizens of Red China. She went on to reflect upon the Cold War, which she viewed as a struggle between good and evil, and on the proliferation of Communist ideology. “The question is whether we will allow certain forces to sweep over the face of the earth - and on that day no man will live in peace.” Oct. 26, 1979 “‘Back to Nature’ with the outing club As many know, the Outing Club typically plans events around their private cabin, a lovely building around a half hour from campus. This cabin actually has quite a lot of history that goes with it, as it has been in the club’s possession for well over 50 years. At the time the article was written, it had already been around for more than 40. Oct. 20, 1989 “Here are the answers… but what WAS the campus question?” Rick McNatt & Rob Testa: “Rob and Nick’s House O’ Love.” Amy Day & Amy Raimann: “‘Cause they’re the PIs and we’re not.” Mike Coulter & Chris
Schavey: “The love train pumping iron at Scandanavian.” Gayle Hayes, Patty Zang, Stacey McCaskey, Helen Moretti: “Meanwhile, the flasher sure had a nice… trench coat.” Valerie Davis, Jim Slates, Dan Kriley, Jean Symons: “Co-ed bonding on a Saturday night in the student union.” Amy Steeley & Diane Harrison: “Go to Lightweight Larry and Super Dan for the answer.” Oct. 10, 2009 “‘Hickstoberfest’ Guests Get in Touch With Their Deutsch Side” Our final event of note comes from the Fall of 2009. Did you know that the Hicks staff’s root beer-centric event has been an annual tradition since 2009? Now, that may not sound like very long ago (to me it doesn’t), but let’s stop and think about this for a moment… 2009 was ten years ago, friends. A decade. How crazy is that? Cheers to the Hicks boys for keeping this tradition alive, green hats and all!
The Collegian is the student newspaper of Grove City College, located in Grove City, Pa.