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The Saint Anselm Crier

The student news site of Saint Anselm College

The Saint Anselm Crier

The student news site of Saint Anselm College

The Saint Anselm Crier

Omnium Gatherum

Devestattion+from+6.8+Magnitude+earhquake+that+struck+Morocco+Friday%2C+killing+over+2%2C000+people+in+the+center+of+the+country
Courtesy/Wikipedia
Devestattion from 6.8 Magnitude earhquake that struck Morocco Friday, killing over 2,000 people in the center of the country

Omnium Gatherum means a gathering of things. It is a pretentious and uninformative name, but given that this is its third year and 24th edition, the column is well on its way to being venerable. Pretention won’t matter, then. But what is this column? – you might ask. It is a variety column. – I might respond. It covers little things, not easily stretchable to a full story: campus happenings, my thoughts on music, and political hot-takes. There are jokes, rants, and obituaries (usually all at once). Sometimes it’s funny, often it’s biting, but no matter what, I hope you enjoy. I’ll occasionally play the mudlarck, picking out shiny pieces of trivia from the deluge of information, and sometimes I’m the angry old man yelling at the intrusions upon my lawn.

I want you to write for the Opinion Section. Can you write? Do you have opinions? If you answered ‘yes’ to either of these questions, you are right for the Opinion section. This year, I am looking to expand the section’s scope. While we take submissions on just about anything, a regular fashion/trends column and better coverage of what student government does (or doesn’t do) would serve the student body well. The Crier publishes fortnightly, and the average submission is around 700 words. If you’re interested, email [email protected].

Politico asked the 2024 candidates what their favorite music is. The politicians who responded had to demonstrate populist appeal without apparent superficiality. Looking back to 2016, the deftness with which candidates can manage that balance is a telling microcosm of the campaigns themselves. Donald Trump was extremely good at both choosing songs with vast appeal and making it seem like they were what he listens to at home. I don’t think anyone really believes that Trump is switching off the CCR and Stones for Paganini when he steps off the stage. His taste was authentic and widely shared by voters. You can make fun of the former President for liking McDonalds and Rock ’n’ Roll, but you’re making fun of a whole heck of a lot of people when you do. Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, had her campaign music chosen by a focus group. I have no evidence of this, but I don’t think you can tell me I’m wrong with a straight face. Her verified, well-manicured, and obviously managed-by-an-aid Spotify page is hilariously insincere. Clinton’s 2016 anthem was Fight Song (released in 2014, while Trump chose music from his era). She follows Lil Wayne and Jay-Z. No one else. Clinton’s corporate-donor-friendly playlists include “She’s With Us,” “Tim’s Favorite Songs,” and “Girl Power.” Music is a rare chance politicians have to show voters their personality. Clinton chose not to do so.

Coming back to 2024, what can the candidates’ Politico music selections tell us? Frontrunners didn’t respond (eat dirt, they say). Third partyer Cornel West submitted four Black standards, including Respect and Mississippi Godd*m (popular: meh, authentic: yes). Asa Hutchinson went full country with Johnny Cash and Neil Diamond (popular: no, authentic: yes). Will Hurd moved from Boyz-N-The-Hood to Shake it Off (popular: sure, authentic: no clue). Vivek Ramaswamy led with Eminem’s Lose Yourself and Mozart but quickly descended to obvious pandering with Jolene, Thunder, and Dream On. The authenticity of the first two was canceled out by the politicking of the rest (popular: halfway, authentic: no). Nikki Haley’s choices were enigmatic. Jolene, I Love Rock ‘N Roll, and American Girl seem like obvious pandering picks, but I am not unconvinced that they are what the former governor actually listens to (popular: absolutely, authentic: possibly). Finally, Chris Christie did the best. I genuinely believe that he listens to Bon Jovi and The Police. Like Trump in 2016, Chris Christie can sell his populist taste (popular: yes, authentic: yes).

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I am addicted to my cellphone. You are, too (well, maybe not if you’re reading the Crier). It is a flaw that I am actively trying to work on; however, every time I log onto Canvas to get work done, I am forced to pick my cellphone up and unlock it. The verification texts via Octa impede my ability to set my phone down in another room or not bring it to the library at all. I resent them. Suppose you calculated the hours wasted over this next semester by students caught by their phone after receiving a verification number. I suspect that you would be horrified by the figure. Now, the Crier has previously covered why those who enforce the Octa texts find it necessary. I am afraid that these cybersecurity hawks considered only the upside, not the downside.

Like a railroad carving an ugly path of steel and smoke through a verdant countryside, computer science has made its mark on the library. Where there should be the tattooed remains of Adirondack spruce, there is instead beige sheetrock, demarking dark empty rooms. These boxes sit as unwelcome as a turd in a kiddy pool, and I’m afraid there is no brave mother with a plastic bag over her hand to scoop it out. Walls, once built, do not easily come down. Even after the nursing building is finished, circa 2035, I suspect the dark, empty classes and offices the library has been afflicted with will remain. With the one hand, Saint Anselm College elevates the humanities, building them a beautiful home. With the other hand, it shoves the books that preserve the humanities to the side. Get thee hence, history. Begone, art. Perish, poetry. You old things must make way for the computers. Make yourselves small so that new gods can establish their hollow temples. Or else.

Does grammar matter and is there a right way to use English? By the time this newspaper reaches you, the Grappone Humanities Institute will likely have finished its 9/15, 12:30-1:20 Come Friday Forum discussing the question. If not, Come Friday! As for grammar, I think it does matter. I know there is some danger in discussing grammar in the written form; eagle-eyed readers are sure to point out some of my own errors. But where I have erred, I find fault. Fault in grammar is indeed the fault of the writer, and, like any mistake, it should be fixed. But why center grammar in writing? Is it not secondary to ideas? Yes, in the same way, that medicine is secondary to health and that foundations are secondary to homes. The latter is, if not impossible, then at least inconvenient without the former. The walk must precede the run, the comma the paean, and the semicolon the Jeremiad. It is not simply difficult to communicate ideas without grammar (or with weak grammar); it is difficult to form them. The constraints and strictures of English grammar are, perhaps paradoxically, freeing. To internalize them is to become a free user of the language. Thus, the English professor, editor, or writing assistant is not gaoler but liberator.

“Nothing new to report” is the most common phrase uttered in Student Government Association meetings. It was repeated eight times (per the minutes) for the first Senate meeting of the term. It was repeated eight more times for the second (again, per the minutes).

Pray for the people of Morocco; they need it. The country was hit by a devastating earthquake last week, killing thousands. Running up the Atlas Mountains, the end of the Roman World, the quake hit hard, especially in Marrakech. The rust-colored walls of the medina have, in places, crumbled. The city is ancient and very much alive, where Westerners go to see a long-lost Orient. Rug merchants poured tea, arms stretched high above their heads. Vendors swarmed about Africa’s busiest square, hawking to tourists and locals alike. Enterprising teens grabbed luggage out of a tourist’s hand. “We’ll take you to your hotel- for a tip.” All of this, all this life, was ended, or at least paused. An earthquake, a device of biblical destruction, seems to have brought the city into modernity. Cameras click, not to capture exotic beauty but death and suffering. Marrakech was not brought into the 21st Century by gleaming glass buildings, crowding out the dusty sky, but by rubble, exposed rebar, and the death of her children. 

This is Longnium Gatherum, an extra-long edition of Omnium Gatherum. I am actively running out of things to write about, so here is my favorite cocktail recipe. I am taking suggestions for names. Shake the gin, triple sec, and cranberry juice with ice. Pour over a spoon into a glass of ginger beer. Enjoy responsibly, over 21s!

  • 1.5 oz gin
  • 1.5 oz triple sec
  • 3 oz cranberry juice
  • Ginger beer

 

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