September 2006 (v9 i1)
Drinking Ourselves to Sleep Since 1997
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Editorials are a waste of space
by Kathryn Edwards, News Editor

And who even reads them? I know I sure as hell didnít, at least not until my editor (the jackass printed above) casually mentioned to me about three hours before the issue deadline that as news editor it was part of my job to write one. At first I was slightly frantic, having avoided the personal diatribes of your everyday ďI think Iím insightfulĒ editor that are printed in most publications. I actually didnít know at the time what exactly an editorial was. I quickly read as many as I could to get an idea of what I should write.

Turns out theyíre bullshit. Bullshit little anecdotes about how some encounter at a grocery store changed their view on society. Or some bullshit thing their kid said that we canít prevent them from unloading on us. Or even bullshit rants about whatever issue is hot this week that they feel like giving their opinion on. They all have the same basic structure, too: idea they believe, somewhat to completely irrelevant anecdote that illustrates it, and then the inevitably self-glorifying conclusion. I, for example, was reading a particularly preachy piece by a newly appointed editor who chose to pontificate on her view of the current immigration debate. Not only was it poorly written, clearly at the last minute, it suffered from a bad case of ĎTrying too Hard to be Profoundí by substituting big words and complicated sentence structure for actual meaning. Preemptively perturbed, I wrote to the publisher and begged them to seriously consider whom they promote as editor because the readers of the Hill Branch High School Weekly Gazette deserve more. The whole experience taught me that we, as a society, tend to be easily influenced by the opinion of so-called experts rather than skeptically considering their arguments. But thatís a discussion, an important one, for another day.

Now, I hate to be critical, but you can really only read so many goddamn awful editorials before you just become bitter about the whole concept. What I still canít understand is why editors get to write them. What did they do that is so wonderful and intelligent that they merit half a page to share their precious, precious thoughts with the rest of us?

Because you know what editors do, right? Nothing. They donít write actual articles, the writers do that. They donít layout the paper, the designers do that. They donít even physically edit whatís printed, they have sub-editors for that. It pretty much boils down to people who have worked their way up the ladder, only to get to the top, delegate every job that requires effort to some lower staffer, and then rain their opinion down on us all.

Give me an umbrella and a Xanax. Pronto.

But there are different levels to it. They range from the, ďIím think Iím profound but Iím nonchalant about itĒ and the ďMaybe Iím not exactly Nietzsche, but Iím closer to him than you areĒ to the other extreme of ďMy ideas are so earth-shattering that I have to have my picture next to my editorial so that the common masses will recognize me and my genius wherever we go.Ē

Well those delusions of grandeur are cute and all, but the truth of the matter is, and by truth I mean universal truth, that editorials are just a last ditch effort to take up space. Twenty pages is longer than you think.
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