This column is typically devoted to an idea, or, at the very least, a specific article. This time around, however, I’m taking aim at two particular individuals. Their names are Zach and Olivia. They are your Commentary and Compendium! editors this year, (though Olivia is in the process of stepping down).
It’s no secret that Compendium! has been sagging lately. Typically an afterthought, the product of whatever happens to cross one’s mind – or one’s web browser – amidst those interminable marathons in the Daily office every Wednesday and Friday night, Compendium! is often the neglected urchin lurking in the corner. Content is not discussed at Monday editorial meetings, or even uploaded to the website.
I am sympathetic, however. In time I may even come to forgive their trespasses. Those nights are known for their bitter editorial debates, acid reflux, myoclonic twitches, and – at least in my own experience – frequent bouts of coffee-induced diarrhea (I know it sounds romantic and fun, but it’s not.)
Compendium is valuable because it lacks all the pedantry of the Culture section, the tedium of News, the lengthiness of Features, and the irrelevance of everything else. It draws people in.
But it’s also political. There is something beautifully juvenile about a section of the paper that has a mandate to take potshots at our own principal. It’s an institution dedicated to indulging our Ninja Turtles-era fantasies of burning down the school, and to our rants about the jerk who sits at the front of class and raises his hand every three minutes to talk about Ayn Rand or some shit.
Compendium has seen better years – but even at the best of times, most of its jokes fell to Carrot Top lows of unfunniness. Typically it’s been strongest with the Onion-style headlines, flippant caricatures, and lewd cartoons.
I’m not asking the editors to be funnier, but rather to put more effort into fostering a community of contributors. There’s been some decent shit this year. But the inside jokes, the meaningless and uncaptioned images, and vacuous Metrometre columns, (“Last night was Zach Lewsen’s birthday! Cake! Plus 45”; “I’m going to Igloofest for the first time ever tonight. Plus 30”) have definitely drawn my ire at times. “I <3 U MUNACA, but I’m tryna watch a movie” – in which the author earnestly complained about the noise emanating from the picket lines last September – provoked a unique fire in my belly.
Anyway, this is all to cordially demand that Zach, and Olivia’s replacement – whomever you may be – put a little more energy into the funnies. Thank you.
The readers’ advocate is a twice-monthly column written by Niko Block addressing the performance, relevance, and quality of The Daily. You can reach him at nikoblock@gmail..com.