Dear The Triton, Please Abdicate Your Moral Authority Like Other Campus Publications

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Kristina Stahl / The Triton

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Dear The Triton,

I, your lowly former opinion editor, saw a submission in another (more incredible) campus publication today, and it got me thinking about ways to improve the campus media environment. I’m writing to ask that The Triton adopt a journalistic standard of inviolable integrity akin to a skyscraper built out of toothpicks.

This campus needs more publications with the shameless lack of self-awareness only possessed by people of the highest integrity, like Joe Exotic or Rod Blagojevich.

We need partisan political discussions not only hosted by media outlets, but debated by outlets. I’m not just talking about the Cost of Living Adjustment strikes or the Chancellor’s response to COVID-19; The Triton should actively debate complex national issues, like climate change, with the naive regurgitation of partisan talking points that students otherwise really only encounter at the dinner table on Thanksgiving Day.

And what neutral third party will moderate the debate and keep participants accountable? Who knows! It’ll be like the Wild West—God knows our newly vacant campus will be filled with tumbleweeds soon enough. And you should feel free to partner with other campus publications of dubious history. After all, as journalists, your fealty is not to truth, but to an adolescent performance of intellectual masturbation.

I don’t doubt that The Triton could be a legitimate platform for student expression, but I think those opinions would be best expressed with the aimless incoherence of the reality show Sarah Palin’s Alaska. The Triton should cut loose its opinion staff. Every op-ed should be a fun mystery game for readers to play in isolation where the reader gets points if they can find the author’s argument, and wins the game if they can calculate exactly how much time the article irrevocably stole from their life.

Legitimate criticisms of op-eds published by other outlets should be framed as vague subtweets, so as to build straw-man arguments and actively misrepresent their positions. Nuance is like Peter in the most recent season of The Bachelor: Sure it can be appealing, but is it something you really want to spend the rest of your life with?

Really, The Triton should rebrand itself as 91 Degrees Minimum, because every piece should be obtuse.

I know that The Triton likes some good fun. I love the ability of folks at The Triton to laugh at themselves and others in equal measure. It’s one of the qualities that has made me miss the paper ever since I stepped down as opinion editor for unrelated life and mental health reasons. But as I ride off into the sunset, I’d like to leave you with the words of Dr. Seuss: It’s fun to have fun, but you have to know how.

Patrick Alexander is a fourth-year burnout.

The positions stated here do not necessarily represent the opinions of The Triton, any of its members, or any of its affiliates. We welcome responses to opinion pieces. If you’d like to submit a response, or comment on a different issue affecting the UC community, please submit here.