When you do work that can be seen by the general public, you have to be prepared for people to sometimes tell you that you suck. If enough people see your work, it’s inevitable that will happen sooner or later. For the editors of The Daily Targum, our student newspaper at Rutgers, I would have to imagine that it happens all the time. I’ve contributed several articles to them over the last couple years, but never became too familiar with their inner workings; that’s pretty much the editors’ territory. And for editors, hate mail happens. It just does. Not much you can do about it except laugh it off, as one Targum editor in one of my classes said they do. However, yesterday there was one particular editorial that simply cannot go without comment. It was off-the-wall, it was wild, and it remains worthy of a Fire Joe Morgan-style analysis.

Intellectual Wasteland
I can already tell this is going to be good.

Even for The Daily Targum, a paper that might best be described as an intellectual wasteland in the middle of a community of learning,
Tell us how you really feel.

this morning’s editorial scrapes the bottom of the intellectual and cultural barrel.
Do tell.

I have suffered your sorry excuse for a university paper long enough.
Strong words. Also, explain: if you were already “suffering,” why have you continued to read the paper for this long?

Do you have no interest at the intellectual life of this University beyond sports?
This raises a good point; the Targum is an all-sports paper. Oh, wait, sorry, I was looking at the back page. Turns out the sports section is a few pages long and at the back of the paper, a paper otherwise filled with stories about other subjects. And doesn’t “interest in” work better there?

Are you honestly that stupid that you accuse people of being “disingenuous” for being surrounded by students at a football game when seating is assigned?
No, they are not. They were merely bringing up the possibility that the person in question (Mark DiIonno of the Star-Ledger) was being self-serving in making his point. They were not attacking him for sitting near the student section, and to suggest they were is rather disingenuous.

Is this paper so bereft of ideas, an input (or so well-funded by Rutgers athletics)
Insane. You have lost your mind. This is one of the craziest statements I have ever seen. I can’t decide whether it’s a joke or not – chalk it up to me being just a dumb volunteer for this “sorry excuse for a university paper” lacking any critical thinking skills.  But honestly, if they’re “so well-funded by Rutgers athletics,” why would the edition of the Targum in question have contained a front-page story on the controversy over the student chants? Why would the Sept. 5 edition have contained a front page story on the potential football stadium expansion entitled “Rutgers $tadium?” Why would the Feb. 27, 2007 edition have run this column? Gee, how about this one? Could it be because that little line item in our term bills titled “Targum” goes to fund, you know, say, the Targum, and that the athletic department actually doesn’t put this paper out? Honestly, either that line (and the entire piece, really) is one giant over-the-top joke, or this is an extremely baseless, libelous conspiracy theory. Anyone placing bets on the former?

that it justifies boorish and anti-social behavior purely because “it is going to happen at any other game?”
The editorial does not “justify” such behavior. In fact, it states, “No one is about to condone outrageous behavior or unfriendly criticism.” Its true point is: “Despite the fact that sportsmanship and manners would be welcomed at all sporting events, such is not the case at any event in the country and to expect otherwise is naive.” It does not justify anything: it only points out reality, even if this reality is unfortunate.

Have we fallen so far that we need to appeal to the lowest common denominator in the degraded world of professional sports to try to find some excuse for this nonsense?
Again, it wasn’t an “excuse” so much as it was an argument that the controversy was overblown. Also, is this editorial “so bereft of ideas” that it needs to make the gross generalization of equating sports fandom with our culture’s “lowest common denominator?” Apparently, because it looks to me like it just happened.

Then please, stop the pretense that you are serving the University community.
I’m sure your request was duly noted. That’s why the paper’s new slogan is “Serving the University Community From 1869 – September 12, 2007; Henceforth, However, Cheapening the Rutgers Experience.” It’s a mouthful, but you’ll get used to it.

Your anti-intellectual rag exists to serve those students for whom yelling abuse at a football game provides the highlight of their University life.
Undeniably correct. This is certainly the reason the Targum was founded. In 1869. 138 years before the controversial fan remarks were made. Some foresight, huh? And yes, the paper is certainly “anti-intellectual” for printing an editorial you disagree with. How dare they print an editorial that features…an OPINION (egad!)? Those Philistine Targumites! Do they not realize that the height of intellectualism is censoring opinions because they may produce comically elitist editorials the following day? Imbeciles!

For the rest of us, it provides nothing of substance or worth.
1) You may be surprised at how few of “the rest” of you there are; 2) Once again, why exactly did you put up with the Targum until now? Masochistic tendencies?

Have you no commitment at all to life beyond sports at this grand old university?
Once again, there are many, many pages of the Targum that are not devoted to sports each and every day that it is published. Their job is to print stories the University community will find relevant. Like it or not, sometimes sports will be among the most relevant topics. Kudos to the paper’s staff for not only not backing away from this low-rent, unhinged piece of hate mail, but printing it (even if it was due in part to wanting to amuse themselves). Such blind rage and egregious pomposity do not reflect much better on a university than a small minority of drunk, vulgar asshole students at a football game.

I apologize if this editorial fooled me and was actually a joke.