Letter to the Editor: Clowns on a mission

9 years ago Triangle 0

Dear Editor,

I don’t usually have a strong public voice about much of anything these days, even less so about Bryan College policies. I’m no journalist, I’m no politics major, I’m just a busy little musical theatre major with more scripts in my hands than time, but your last editorial has forced me into a very distinct public opinion and I thought I’d share it. Let me first say, however, that though I admit I am very frustrated about your previous editorial, I apologize in advance if I seem hateful or spiteful. I don’t mean to be.

I am a close friend of Matt and Milton Bell. I’ve talked to them about the “Friday Night Circus” article. They were never under the impression that their innocent product of boredom would ever be slapped onto every front page of every Triangle newspaper and shoved into every mailbox of every student on campus. They were completely unaware of the fact that they were being interviewed. Miscommunication? Probably. I’m not judging what happened during the interview, I’m just stating it to start out with: they were caught unaware.

I want to quote the mission statement for the Bryan Triangle, piece by piece:

“The Bryan College Triangle’s mission is first and foremost to bring glory and honor to God our Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”

I am under the impression that the opinions you have shared in your editorial are in no way bringing any sort of glory to God. Maybe I’m missing something deep and hidden within the subtext, but if I were a non-Christian reading this column I would marvel at the hatred, sarcasm, and libel (Yes, libel) printed right here in our own community newspaper, not just towards “300 lb clownettes” or “A group of young adults,” “hiding in nearby shrubberies.” If I were a non-Christian, I would not only marvel, but I would laugh and say, “See? This is how Christians treat each other. This is how they show glory to their God.” Would this editorial have been worded with such patronizing terms as “preteen drama” if it were your parents involved? Would you have speculated in such a demeaning manner about your closest friends? I am, of course, referring to patronizing comments such as “hideout in nearby shrubbery,” and “Turn or burn.” “Turn or burn?” I nearly fell out of my seat when I read that. Doesn’t secular society make fun of Christianity enough without implying that our students make light of God’s law? Or maybe you were implying that they really were legalistic fanatics. Yes, what they did was immature, and at worst annoying, but in making them out to be horrible people because of a prank is completely counterproductive. Maybe you didn’t mean to slander their names, but real people read what you write, and real people make their own judgments based off of what they read, and real people make judgments on Christianity based on the way we treat each other. You’ve started a lot of nasty rumors whether you wanted to or not.

“It is our mission, also, to seek truth always and accurately and effectively report that truth to our readership;”

If you don’t have a full understanding of a concept, please don’t print it in your editorial and act as if it’s truth. You should get a full understanding of the concept. That’s your job – you’re a journalist. You should talk to the people involved, you should get the whole story. I am friends with everyone spoken about in that article, I’ve heard the story, and it is not what you have speculated in your editorial at all. This “make-out patrol” is a simple practical joke, nothing more. They’re not trying to be the “Bryan police,” they’re doing what college students do when they get bored – they amuse themselves. You’ve turned an embarrassing anecdote that college students would laugh at during open dorm and made it into this overblown vigilante vs. freedom fighter screenplay.

“…inform the Bryan College community of newsworthy issues affecting or relative to their lives while offering an independent voice for Triangle staff members and the student body at large;”

How was the article (Friday Night Circus) a noteworthy issue? Did this really affect the lives of people on campus? Was it to assure people that the “Bryan college vigilantes” will trouble us no more? If that’s the case, why kick them when they’re down and publish their names in a public paper? Was the article meant to be funny? I have a sense of humor, and yes, it was kind of funny. It was also demeaning to both the pranksters and the clowns and it does not belong in the Triangle. Was it to inform the community that there are vigilantes out there? Maybe, but there are much simpler and less offensive ways to do that. And as for the editorial, isn’t it already embarrassing enough to have your name published in an article like that? Why did you have to rub it in and tell them they got what was coming to them, and “God smiles” upon their misfortune?

“…provide hands-on, practical experience for students in the art and craft of journalism;”

As I have stated before, the information was both inaccurate and offensive. If the goal is to get hands-on experience, why wasn’t the story straight according to those I’ve talked to? Why was the story, in the editorial, speculated upon incredibly sarcastically in a public setting, instead of carefully researched?

“…bring credit and positive professional recognition to the Triangle publication and to Bryan College.”

This is another one that gets me. The article and editorial were well written and interesting, don’t get me wrong. What gets me is that five names were disclosed to the entire student body attached to an only half-accurate story, the editorial tore them up and left them in the dust. We are so much better than that. Yes, those patrollers are all my friends, yes I believe it was a bad plan in the first place to “patrol,” and yes I would say that to their faces, but heck, I don’t even need to. Our public paper already has cast judgment upon them. In that sense, the clowns weren’t the only ones flashing, but the entire student body has flashed itself. We’ve exposed a private area of our student body and left it open, flapping in the wind so the world watches what we’re doing to ourselves, and says, “This is how the body of Christ acts.” And that is what frustrates me more than anything else.

Out of your entire editorial, I did find one statement I really liked. “Let’s act like we know how to treat each other with a little respect and decency.” Let’s stop worrying about the nighttime gossip and, above all, start loving each other as Christ loves His Church. That includes both our journalists and our bored college students.

– Junior Brian Huff