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2009 revisited

Observer Viewpoint | Wednesday, April 15, 2009

As the year winds down and I pen my last column, there is no better time to look back at the year, and see how our beloved campus has changed and evolved. Naturally, there is no better way to a get a pulse of the campus than from Viewpoints past. So let’s take a walk down memory lane.

The beginning of the year was dominated by election coverage. There were claims made by all sides in defense or admonishment of all things. At least once Obama was named a socialist, or at the very least, the anti-Christ. Letters poured, lines were crossed and feelings were definitely hurt. But, as is usually the case in Viewpoint, the pain fades quickly.

Only to be replaced by new controversy, that is. In this case, it was the phantom snowballs hurled at our own sacred football team during the season finale against Syracuse. Alumni wrote to the Viewpoint en masse criticizing and dressing down the student body for its alleged poor sportsman ship. I only have to ask how many times those alumni watched their Notre Dame team lose to a 3-8 team at home, in the snow.

Soon students again expressed outrage at Raytheon’s presence at the career fair, and felt that their third attempt (at least in my three years at Notre Dame) to ban the company would definitely succeed. However, because the economy actually managed to explode, job-seeking seniors were probably even less sympathetic than in years past.

While the Raytheon crew didn’t make much progress, the pro-life club did. In fact, I would go so far as to say their January surprise, the multiple-page insert whose appearance we were warned of in these very pages, terrified a significant portion of the male population of not only babies, but possibly girls, and certainly future Observer inserts.

Unfortunately, I shipped out to study for the semester shortly before the new Obama situation blew up, so I’ve missed a lot of the action. However, I have been trying to follow the ordeal from Facebook, which has proved interesting. After perusing the message boards of the major anti-Obama group, I can only come to conclusion that this “Bill Brasky” man to whom so many wall posts referred must be the real menace.

Regardless, as I see it, the pro-Obama group currently has a slight edge in membership over the anti-Obama group, so they are winning. What might be more telling, though, is that the group “Boycott Notre Dame Football if Obama Speaks at Commencement” has only six members; if one can’t even manage to give up watching a 7-6 football team, how will they stop the President of the United States? Then again, if the protestors are half as effective as their newspaper inserts, no one will want to set foot on campus.

Nevertheless, these tiffs are nothing compared with the now infamous, “I hooked up with six guys” letter from late fall last year. To refresh, our friend Melissa confessed to having made out with no less than six Notre Dame stags in the first semester, and unfortunately had yet to hear back from any of them. Not only was the shock value high, as this was a completely surprising and unexpected letter, but it was also highly entertaining.

However, some students were quite unsympathetic. They responded with sarcasm and reproach. What started as something of a joke, soon turned into a dialogue on gender and the notoriously sketchy Notre Dame hookup culture. All fun was lost.

Speaking of gender issues, one subject lacking this year, and one I actually missed, was the quiet disappearance of the “Vagina Monologues” from the Viewpoint agenda. What happened to it? Listening to the defense of the vagina against those who wished to exploit it was always funny, and somewhat scandalous for our paper; at least before our friend Melissa pushed the boundaries of what is acceptable in The Observer.

For being a supposedly highly homogenous university, I never cease to be amazed by the diversity of opinion and activism of the student body in dialogue over all issues, big and small, serious and comical. With the election and economic issues at the forefront this year, the level of conversation was raised tenfold, and I sincerely hope it continues to reflect the spirit of the academy into next year and the future.

As a final sentiment, I personally would like to thank anybody out there who has read any of my columns this year, my editor Kara King, who hopefully will hire me again in the fall and to my friends who have helped me to shape my ideas and edit my columns. I wish good luck to all of the graduating seniors, and will see everybody else in the fall. As they say here in Japan, kampai!

Jason Coleman is a junior

accounting major. He can be

contacted at [email protected]

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

necessarily those of The Observer.