Not trash, just white trash
In the Sept. 7 issue of The Daily Targum, Eric Knecht attempted to write a satirical piece by mocking my Sept. 1 column, "Welcome first-years, now get out." He advised first-year students not to join certain organizations that would jeopardize their academic integrity. For the most part, he trashed all forms of student involvement, especially the ones that offer movie nights and free pizza. He forgot, however, to mention that student organizations are not given much liberty to do anything else. Nevertheless, I was particularly struck by one unnamed publication he placed on there. He wrote, "(Don't join) another newspaper, particularly one where they trash the type of writing found here, yet don't write very insightful articles themselves." For you first-years, he means The Centurion, a conservative-based magazine at the University. I have written articles for this publication, and I continue to associate myself with them. Before you decide to stop reading, I do not own a "Palin 2012" T-shirt, and Dick Cheney is not my hero. I do, however, take cross country trips in my Hummer while mowing down trees in the process. On a more serious note, I believe the intentions of the magazine have been widely misunderstood. I will attempt to explain the actions of The Centurion; it is up to the members of the University to accept them and open up dialogue or dismiss it as ignorant and uninformed. We hope for the former but expect the latter.
Through the years, the magazine has been called sexist, racist and — as one Medium personal would suggest — "white trash." With the exception of the last one, we do not subscribe to any of these labels. The staff may love guns, Garth Brooks and the Daytona 500, but we do not seriously discriminate. Those who create labels do not understand the deeper meaning of our message. Our purpose is to combat the overly politically correct nature of the University. So, the magazine may have a joke or two to say about the months of February and March, but it is not intended to literally demean a gender or ethnicity. We are not ignorant to the issues that have divided our country in the past. However, we feel society, especially the University, has taken cultural sensitivity to a new level. These days, it is politically incorrect to say "freshmen," as that would denote that first-year students are only men. For those wondering, it was not my idea to write "first-years" all over my article. While many may not agree with the magazine's comedic value, it is hard to disagree that political correctness has gone overboard these days. Our sad attempt at humorous quips are the way we act against this accepted culture.
The Centurion's political activism has been rather notorious over the years. Our motives are driven to highlight certain political positions and policies that are in disagreement. The magazine's annual Affirmative Action Bake Sale is usually a highly controversial event around the University. I would debate the merits of our political stance; however, it is defended very well in our September 2009 issue by Anthony Castiglia. Instead, I want to focus on what is said about our activism around campus. For something like the bake sale, our staff is usually denoted as racist. In reality, we are probably more diverse than most organizations. While most of The Centurion is white male, our staff does consist of two women, 1.5 Asians, a Middle Eastern, and an African American. I would bet there is a better mix of gender and ethnicity at our meetings than some of the special interest councils out there. It is rather unwise to label us as such. Every form of our activism has an intended purpose. It is not to be outrageously offensive, but it is used to prove a point. Our problems lie with certain policies that are seen as imprudent by our side of the spectrum. We would appreciate if people engaged the merits of our actions, and not the superficiality of them.
The Liberal of the Month and Centurion Award honors are given to those who publicly announce, suggest or state their liberal views on campus. Some would say it is unfair for us to single out certain members of the University; however, we find that each individual should be responsible for all public remarks. As I expect to be held accountable for everything I write in my column, The Centurion believes that everyone should fall under the same public scrutiny. We will not make personal remarks about individuals, but we will criticize and engage their political philosophy. This holds especially true for University professors. Although there is suppose to be a certain sense of objectivism in teaching, some professors preach their viewpoints to students. Other times, they make you buy their book so you can be completely immersed in their ideology. These lessons are accepted as the only valid argument, and students seem to believe it as so. Ultimately, we seek to provide a dissent to the supposed truth these individuals speak.
With all this being said, we do understand the complete nature of our magazine. The Centurion has realized it has been a bit abrasive in the past, making unwarranted attacks to innocent members of the University. Should I bring up the October 2005 "Cap and Skull" issue? We seek to change this by setting a different tone to the magazine without compromising our satirical nature and political activism. In any event, please check out our latest issue, as it has set this particular approach. You can read it in the bathroom before using it as toilet paper. Or, you can use it to fire up a pig roast. We just want to be here as a true alternative to the accepted belief structure on campus.
Brian Canares is Rutgers College senior majoring in history and political science. His column, "Pure Rubbish," runs on alternate Tuesdays. He welcomes feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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