Reynolds’ closing remarks

By on April 10, 2003

I started at The Chronicle writing about a little Cuban refuge named Elian, and I leave it writing about a notorious Middle Eastern dictator named Saddam, but the images of two magnanimous international figures cannot even begin to define the scope of my literary and philosophical experience over the last four years.

This is my last issue as the editor of the political and editorial section of this publication, and it has been my pleasure and privilege to enjoy such an open an unrestricted forum – the only opportunity a writer can ask for, and the greatest gift one can be granted.

From the death penalty to Michael Jordan, from Strom Thurmond to the American Space Program, from the state of American literature to, yes, even the SGA, my ideological perspective has been tested, expanded and enhanced, but never exhausted – I leave still eager to continuously listen, write and most importantly, learn.

When I became the editor of the political section of The Chronicle in the fall of 2001, I had two goals. The first was to advance and increase the tenor and subject of debate, and the second was to fundamentally improve the level of writing – a goal I hoped would permeate to every section and aspect of the paper.

For my first official act as editor, I wrote an editorial letter that urged students to take advantage of their natural inclination towards influence, and espoused the virtue and timeless power of the written word.

I then sat back and waited for the throngs of students who would surely come beating down my door, manically desiring to join a Reynolds-led philosophical revolution.

I wondered how I would handle my seemingly imminent fame and responsibility. Who should I grant interviews to? Should I start smoking a pipe to appear more introspective and withdrawn?

Alas, I was not plagued with these concerns – one student answered my letter, and the gushing floodgates of my revolution quickly became nothing more than the agonizing drip of a leaky roof.

Michael Minnetto and I wrote virtually every word of the political section that first year, and I would like to take this space to thank him for his dedication, insight, and ability.

We were able to tackle complicated and original subjects in a creative and provocative manner, an achievement that catalyzed the growth of a section that I am immensely proud to lead today – a section that includes such talented and ideologically diverse staff members as Eric Marrapodi, Tom Hyde, Elham Shabahat, Anthony Pellegrino, the always late but never opinion-less Sean Hughes, and next year’s incoming editor James DeLoma.

While I am impressed at the improvements The Chronicle has made, I must say that my second goal has gone, to this point, sadly unfulfilled.

The level of overall written expression in the paper remains subpar-below what it should be, and most egregiously, below what it can be.

Those who lead the paper must take it upon themselves to eliminate the embarrassing errors that still infiltrate the publication.

It is not acceptable for a university publication to go to print with grammar mistakes, misused syntax and verb tense non-agreement.

Poor writing in The Chronicle (I should say that while still in need of overhaul, the writing has steadily improved each semester) is not the product of lack of effort or ability, but instead the result of mismanaged priority and misplaced concern; the paper can be nothing before it is literarily perfect.

The Chronicle is the only regular publication on campus; it must be able to attract the university’s best and brightest, and conversely, the best and brightest must heed the call to writing and furthering knowledge.

But instead of lamenting old regrets, I will end like I began – optimistic about the prospect and possibility of influence and progress.

For change is not born from timely sacrifice or pragmatic compromise, it is wrought through passionate philosophy and steadfast idealism.

Question everything around you, and hear the answers with an open mind and indomitable spirit. To learn first and then articulate is to produce truth, truth that if it has merit, will eventually draw the crowd that compromise usually subsides to.

Never discern truth by looking to the left or the right, or by peering into the past. If one wants to read writing like Faulkner, one will read William Faulkner. A writer doesn’t contribute by mirroring past greatness; a writer contributes by providing an original voice – and articulating that voice as elegantly and forcefully as possible.

I will not take any more space here. Philosophy ceases to be if it is contingent upon the ideas of some, and not the perpetual activity and intrigue of all those who wish to speak and be heard – voices that must echo without filter or restraint – voices essential to ideological and intellectual prosperity in an always unfinished, undefined world.


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