Everything you need to know

Dear Joe,

I need your help — I started writing a newspaper this semester to make this place a bit more habitable. I chose to do this through satire, mostly because the writers of our current satire paper are borderline illiterate.

My views aren’t for everyone, but I know that I’m right about everything I feel and think. Last week, I published an anti-segregation article, and now most of the people on campus want to break my legs. Call me a new-fashioned, crazy liberal, but I feel in my soul that segregating black people is just not cool. How do I make my point to my audience without getting killed/scalped/knifed in the meantime?

—The Editor

Dear Editor,

I’ve taken it upon myself to grab a copy of your paper, The Weekly Slant, and read your piece on segregation. Obtaining a copy was the easy part. Your paper is scattered everywhere. I even found a copy in my shower. Regardless of the quality of your publication, you have the distribution skills of an expert. As for the subject matter that fills your paper, that is an interesting issue.

First, I’ll let you know that I completely disagree with the message you sent out about SPIRIT. In my opinion, celebrating diversity and mandating segregation are two separate (and not equal) issues. Yet the article was well-written, the point well-thought, and the issue well-expressed. To answer your question, it seems like people disagree with you strongly. Your paper does have one advantage over The Tartan, however. When people find my advice abysmally awful, they usually have to throw the entire Pillbox away. Your readers, if so strongly offended, only have one sheet to take care of.

Slanted (but not biased),

Dear Joe,

I spent a semester studying in the wonderful country of Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon). I have many fascinating stories to tell, but it seems like people just don’t want to listen to them. What will it take to make people understand what a life-changing experience I’ve had?

—Studious in Skibo

Dear Studious,

You’ve studied abroad, but your friends are a-bored with your ramblings about how different culture is thousands of miles away. There may be several reasons why the reception of your stories isn’t going so hot. Let’s make a list to organize your potential failures: 1) Are your stories about Sri Lanka, or irrelevant things you did in Sri Lanka? Regardless of location, shopping for detergent is a boring task. 2) Are you repeating your stories? After hearing about how you didn’t understand opera in Sri Lanka, another story about not understanding a Sri Lankan dentist probably won’t set the mood for interest. 3) If the food was good, your stories aren’t interesting. If the food was bad, you have some potential. But the food has to be outrageously bad. Not just Olive Garden bad. 4) Finally, you should realize that interesting culture can be found relatively close. Participating in a Steelers game with locals will teach you much more about jungle instincts than the Congo. Just because you left the country doesn’t mean you hold a monopoly on describing culture.

With that said, I hope you’re getting used to life in the States again. To speed the reorientation process, I suggest a trip to McDonald’s, followed by throwing your garbage on the sidewalk when finished.

Studying Broadly,