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Letter from the Editor: In response to the critics’ critics

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As former Arts&Life Editor, I would frequently dangle free tickets in front of reporters, begging them to attend and review a concert.

Many said they didn’t want to write reviews because they didn’t want to receive negative comments. It caught me off guard at first as to why that would matter.

But then I read the comment section of my latest concert review, a lukewarm depiction of alternative rock band Brand New.

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If someone had commented saying they had been at the same concert and really felt passion from the band, that would be one thing. If they said the instrumental mastery is unparalleled or the lead singer touched their hand and made their night, that would be one thing. If they said I didn’t have enough of an understanding of the band’s roots, that would be another thing too. That would be critical, thoughtful analysis fostering discussion.

But these comments aren’t about the band or the performance. They’re about me — or rather, who they think I am.

My relationship status has no bearing when it comes to a critical look at a band’s performance. To suggest such a thing is absurd and childish. If relationship experience was a prerequisite to enjoying music on a personal level, explain the four-year-old girl behind me screaming every lyric at a Justin Bieber concert.

The second comment is altogether ridiculous. My first instinct when I read the incredibly thorough character description was to defend myself. “I’m not that type of girl,” I started to say. But even if I was, it doesn’t matter one bit.

The clothes a person wears, what they do with their bodies, how they exercise, how they love, what they buy, means nothing when it comes to enjoying a band. If a person doesn’t get that, they should do some more living before they log on.

Most appalling is the allusion to an eating disorder. Leave mean comments behind an anonymous screen? Fine. Assume I wear push-up bras? Fine. Assume I’m single? Fine. But when a very real mental and emotional disorder, which 40% of women in college have, is twisted into an insult, I draw the line. It’s insensitive. It’s ignorant. And it’s cruel.

Now serving as Editor in Chief of The Lantern in my final year of college, I hope incoming students do take us up on offers of concert tickets. I hope they write articles and opinion pieces.

My hope isn’t that comment sections become a locked down, monitored thread. I don’t hope all comments are upbeat pats on the back. Comment sections foster a sense of community and hold the staff accountable to serving said community.

I just hope that before a comment is left, there is a pause to think, “Is this serving the better good?” or at the very least, “Is this doing more than just hurting someone?” If the answer is no, please re-evaluate.

Disagree? Write me a letter. I would love to talk this out in a civil manner, without anonymity.

5 comments

  1. For all reviewers, I suggest: First, make sure your subjects, verbs, and pronouns agree. Some readers may begin to discount the review if the reviewer cannot write grammatical sentences. Second, although good writing is vital, do not forget that the reader is most interested in whether he or she should spend time and money on the subject of the review. Third, consider that negative reviews can sting, so buttress any negativity with specific reasons or let the reader know that the negativity was based upon the taste of the reviewer. This will also make the review more valuable to the reader I think those who review reviews should follow these same suggestions.

  2. I’ve long hated the abundance of stupid and nasty comments people leave here at a college comment section. I also notice almost 100% of them are “anonymous.” I would recommend that The Lantern make this section require folks to use their real names in an attempt to clean it up. On the other hand, my posts, which always include my real name, have been monitored and delayed for the past year or so. I recall posting things that were benign only to wait several hours or days to see them appear, while someone spouting hatred had his comments posted immediately.
    Yes, when I finally complained to the internet person, he said it was a glitch or something, but he somehow couldn’t fix it.
    I would like to see an area at OSU be dedicated to freedom of speech, but I have no idea how to get the admin to buy into it. I suspect they don’t mind the fear factor of their power making folks “anon” when telling the bad news about OSU.
    I just refuse to do that, and my belief is my “moderation” was not accidental.

    Karl Spaulding

  3. Wow. Immediate post! Let’s try my real name as header now…and my campus email address in the box.

    Karl

  4. My “Karl Spaulding” post with spaulding.10 email in the box is being “moderated,” although the “moderation” sign is no longer on the screen.

    Still a delay.

    HEY LANTERN, WHY CAN’T I POST UNDER MY REAL NAME AND CAMPUS EMAIL ADDRESS?

    Karl Spaulding
    spaulding.10

  5. this is a dumb letter from the editor. write about something that matters next time:

    – tearing down of high street
    – divestment
    – usg
    – new dorms
    – literally anything that is not based in you complaining

    this article being written was a waste of time. perhaps as the editor you should be instilling an idea of what real journalism is to your reporters that are afraid of some nasty comments, instead of writing a rambling blog post that reads like it’s from the best of xojane.

    i understand that you don’t like how people are responding to your articles, and no doubt commenters can be nasty. but trying to tame the internet is an impossible task and if anything you just ignited the fire deep within the trolls. you could be writing about the value of trump and clinton both visiting osu. or the difference you have made in your life and others as a chaarg girl. there is so much you have to write about that isn’t…. this.

    you’re lucky the fake lantern is no more, they would have a field day with this one.

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