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Enough with Kessler! Hold him accountable

Andrew Miller | Tuesday, April 7, 2009

For an entire academic calendar year I have been writing a column for The Observer. For the same academic calendar year I have been reading the editorial comments of the other Observer columnists: Professor Rice and Christy Pesavento providing conservative assessments, Andrew Nesi making us all feel stupider by reading his insights, Katherine Khorey relating her experience abroad, Daryl Campbell letting us know what it’s like to be a graduate student here. And there are other columnists, each worthwhile in their own right. Each, that is, except for one – Bob Kessler and his so-called “House of Stix.” House of Stix indeed! I assure you, Bob Kessler, that by the end of this column said house will be taken apart stick by said stick.

Now I have to interject, in my typical fashion, to preface my words with a sort of disclaimer. I know Bob Kessler well. I became acquainted with him freshman year through our mutual friend Observer columnist Brad Blomstrom and I have spent ample time with him over the past year including a week in the Sodom of the 21st Century. Bob is a good person with a good heart and I enjoy his company.

But his column – fair reader, that’s a different story. The Bob Kessler of “House of Stix” has been allowed to go unchecked, unquestioned and unchallenged since at least this past August (and I here acknowledge that he has been writing a column since spring semester 2008 but I have only been reading since returning to campus this year). Bob Kessler has turned the student body of this campus against itself and that is simply uncalled for. Nobody asked Bob Kessler to come in and explain the hook-up culture. Nobody asked Bob Kessler to investigate the Saint Mary’s Executive Board stipends. Nobody asked Bob Kessler to tell us how to find true love at Club Fever. Nobody asked Bob Kessler to tell us how to best live our lives before we turn the depressing age of 30. But without being asked, Bob Kessler callously and brazenly did each of these things. And more things. Many much things, even.

Now, because of Bob Kessler, we as a Notre Dame student body have become too self-aware (which as we all know from John Connor’s personal misery is a dangerous, dangerous thing). I have recently talked to people who at one point in time used to travel to Club Fever every Thursday night and partake in a dance floor makeout (DFM in common parlance). But these DFM’ers now are afraid that Bob Kessler will see them at Club Fever and somehow work them into a column in the near future. So not only do they not DFM at Club Fever, they don’t even go to Club Fever anymore. They stay home with their doors locked and their shutters closed. Bob Kessler can’t reference them if he can’t see them. It’s a sad story and it’s one that’s spreading.

Now, because of Bob Kessler, we as a Notre Dame student body are unable to watch “The Late Show with David Letterman” and “Saturday Night Live” on successive nights without feeling guilty. Another friend of mine, after reading last week’s “House of Stix,” cried himself to sleep because he realized how lame he must be to spend Friday and Saturday night watching some high-quality late night entertainment. It didn’t matter that he used both Letterman and “SNL” as drinking games and went out to bars after each show ended, therefore upping his factor of being extremely college. Bob has made him conscious of his errors and crushed his spirit.

Now, because of Bob Kessler, Bob Kessler has become a gigantic figure: a man whom this campus discusses at length. A man who engenders Viewpoint debate. A man who receives Facebook friend requests from people who he doesn’t know each time his column prints. “House of Stix” has turned itself from an observational and humorous comment on life at Notre Dome into its own cultural phenomenon dictating the behavior of the undergraduates who inhabit this university. Bob Kessler has created a beast that cannot be killed.

You might be wondering why I care so deeply about the negative affects of “House of Stix” and Bob Kessler at Notre Dame if I’ll be graduating soon. Well, that’s a simple question to answer. I care because what Bob Kessler achieved is exactly what I tried to achieve with my column. From the first moments of this year I called for a higher appreciation of “Full House” and yet I have not heard of one person who has watched any episode of that show to give it another chance. I tried to tear down the pillars of accountancy and in a complete reversal of my expectations the Mendoza College of Business goes up in the rankings. And don’t even get me started on the failure of my Christmas campaign. I attribute the failure of my column to Bob Kessler and the success of his.

Why is Bob Kessler a celebrity and Andrew Miller only known to his friends? Why is Bob Kessler a hero and Andrew Miller a nobody? Why have I spent my entire column talking about Bob Kessler thereby adding to the fame and notoriety of Bob Kessler? These are questions which I simply can’t answer. Questions that will only be answered as the march of time proceeds. But with luck, you and I fair reader can do something to help reverse what could potentially be a devastating future for my ego.

I call upon you, Notre Dame, to join with me in bringing an end to “House of Stix.” With luck, we can convince the University to refuse Bob Kessler’s diploma come May 17.

Andrew Miller is a senior English major. He can be contacted at amille15@nd.edu

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.