Commentary  Aristotle’s Lackey: Busting the Piñata: a response

I have always found the prefacing quotations in Piñata Diplomacy rather cute. Be it Chomsky or Walt Whitman or Jesus’s homeboy Luke, the man, Ricky Kreitner, knows how to use Google at an expert level. Very impressive. Kreitner’s column has been one of the most interesting aspects of The Daily this year, a paper run by a bunch of indie-haired thrift-store clothing-clad rich Arts majors who like equal redistribution, civil rights, and other similar sounding socialist shit. Piñata, in an awkward attempt to be progressive, has brought somewhat of a refreshing conservative dash to the paper.

The Daily archives serve to provide a fascinating journey of Piñata’s evolution. Starting with the one of many Obama columns dated September 29, we can see a regression from the attempt to sound progressive. I’m not trying to make a judgment call here, and I am not necessarily saying that to be “progressive” – with the political connotations that we understand to be associated with it – means to have “better” political values. No. Hell no. Rather, I find it interesting how these columns portray the political evolution of Kreitner, a first-year student from the United States. Read together, in chronological order, we can see the shift in the columnist’s thought. Personal and political realizations, frustrations, and ambitions manifested themselves in half-witty writing each week, often evoking outrage from readers – as seen on The Daily’s web site and in its letters section.

Evolution is great. And I’m saying that as a theist. I don’t, however, believe that this particular political evolution has been expressed in the best way – it still shows the prematurity of some of Kreitner’s ideas. Not a bad thing, but concerning if you’re tackling a political column. Nothing personal, but I’m one of those people who tends to like her political commentary well-substantiated. That being said, I’d like to take this opportunity, with my final column, to briefly address the Piñata Diplomacy pieces that have struck me the most in Kreitner’s development as someone with a political opinion.

Throughout the year, Piñata Diplomacy has shifted from being a narrative column that personalized politics to a completely polemic political column. In this writer’s opinion, and with her own bias, the former worked far better for Kreitner, in terms of writing, than the latter. One of the initial columns which comes to mind is the very first in a series of Obama pieces, “Sittin’ and Hopin’ for Change,” which shows a confused Kreitner. In this piece, he very eloquently describes an experience he has at a McGill for Obama meeting. The reader is enamoured by Kreitner’s observational writing, which proves to be witty and successful in its description of the bored mind and the absurdity of Obamania. His ending, however, is a bit weaksauce as Kreitner attempts to make a strong political statement regarding the Obama campaign’s decrease in excitement and the superfluous notion of “change,” without really commenting any further on these crucial points. Had he discussed the mentioned issues of wiretapping and campaign finance further, substantiating his claim of the superficiality of Obama’s “change,” then we would be talking about a solid political opinion piece. That, unfortunately, was not the case, and this reader was left feeling unsatisfied and used.

“Obama, After that Beautifully Singular Night” was another piece about that dude south of the border who became President or something of the United States. There weren’t any real issues here, other than the fact that I realized how very old I am. Kreitner was in the first grade with Mrs. Haig in 1996 while I was chilling in fourth, with Ms. Cohn. All I remember is that me and this other kid, David Feldman, were the only two in our grade who supported Bob Dole. Thanks for bringing back those frightening childhood memories.

“Tadamon! Is no paragon” became the first in a series of Israel-Palestine related spam – I mean, articles – in The Daily in the aftermath of OMGaza. There was just one line I needed to read to judge this column: “After minimal research, I have come to the conclusion…” Good luck in grad school, kid.

“A Declaration of Journalistic Independence” was just an awkward piece, acting as an open letter to family members. Kreitner essentially told them that he was a young man who was now taking charge of his masculinity vis-à-vis a university newspaper column, and that he was not afraid of the repercussions that his expressed opinions would have on his political career. This was also one of the first columns in which we saw Kreitner become more public about his masturbatory habits.

The first column of Piñata Diplomacy I read in its entirety was “What Mumbai Means to Me.” While I appreciated Kreitner’s attempts to assure us that those evil men were just “bastardizing Islam,” I found it concerning that he felt that there was “an alarmingly popular myth out there that the terrorists’ admittedly heinous means are somehow justified by noble ends, or at least can be explained as working toward such desirable ones.” Who are you hanging out with, dude? I can definitely see that opinion as existent, but only with a minority status – especially on our campus. Terrorists being justified in the Mumbai massacre is a popular opinion? Maybe in the Swat. Check your sources, because that colloquial statistic is absurd, sir.

“Barack Obama is Not an Indie Rock Band” was just another Obama spam piece. Around this time, I began feeling that Kreitner was losing his writing mojo – writing a column every week can be rather strenuous. Kudos, however, to Max Halparin, indie kid extraordinaire, for the title of the piece. Ten bucks says there’s already an indie band which has adopted that name.

“The Curious Case of Geert Wilders” was the first, unless you count the “Declaration” piece, of several columns dealing in one form or another with the issue of free speech, a topic with which Kreitner seemed to have a tough time as the months continued. I appreciated the citation of a reading from POLI 231’s syllabus, but I was left slightly confused – was Kreitner defending hate speech? If so, it really did not fall in line with the following column, “Where might a new anti-Semitism take place?” To me, this column seemed to be implicitly promoting a suffocation of debate on campus by equating current forms of anti-Zionism with an up-and-coming form of anti-Semitism. I definitely saw the merit in this argument, but was still disturbed by the equation. Additionally, the column reeked of generalizations, committing itself to the belief that activists for Palestinian self-determination and justice tend to isolate themselves from being active in other causes. Kreitner’s subconscious uncertainty regarding free speech also reared its head in the following piece, “Don’t Sacrifice Campus Free Speech.”

And finally, there was the infamous “Righting Our Wrongs Over Iraq.” It received enough flack and response in The Daily, so I’m going to refrain from adding further masala to the wound. Truth be told, this column had potential; its overall point was legitimate. I may not agree with it, but it is an opinion I know exists, and that has been well-defended. Mind you, the only individuals whom I’ve heard and read defend this stance well have been professors – not “eager to impress” (Kreitner’s words, not mine) undergrads. Instead, I will comment on the fact that someone actually had the audacity to write in and say that their mind had been changed about the war by this particular column. God save us all.

And with this last-minute column, I’d like to say thanks to all 12 people, including Max Halparin and the copy editors, who read my column this year. Not that it matters, anyway. I’m awesome, regardless.

Sana’s outta hurr. Good thing we could get one more artistic representation of her many facial expressions in print (see above).