This is the first installment of a (hopefully) weekly column highlighting notable journalism and media content produced at Swarthmore. In chronological order.
The Swarthmore media scene is larger and more varied than a school our size deserves.
There’s The Phoenix, the deservedly-respected elder statesman of the scene. There’s The Daily Gazette, pioneering new media for 20 years already. Add to that the unusually excellent War News Radio, the surprisingly polishedReview, the passionate Peripateo, the classy and understated Small Craft Warnings, recent experiments like The Swarthmore Independent, pcast1, Swat Overlaps, and Swat 7, and others. Taken together, this is the media scene of a medium-sized metropolis.
And this scene produces a lot of content, more than most of us have the time or, honestly, interest in combing through.
So, busy reader, uninvested news consumer, Facebook-scroller-but-never-clicker, this column is for you: notable Swarthmore journalism from the past week, every week. In chronological order.
1. “Be Queer: Re-Calling the Word” by Thomas Corbani ‘17 in The Swarthmore Review – September 15, 2016*
(The article is on page 6.)
Not only is the article nuanced, but its sophistication is matched by a kind of visceral prose rarely seen in the age of the thinkpiece.
Corbani calls for a positive definition of queerness through constructing utopia. In the text, the reader catches a glimpse Corbani’s own utopia, which includes, among other things, “a symphony of vertiginous pumps, stoic boots and anything in between pounding the floor as if to dent an archive of the evening’s transient bliss into the ground.”
In this sense, the essay delivers what it calls for: The argument talks the talk about the need for utopia; the artful prose actually walks the walk.
2. “Chronic Pain at Swarthmore” by Max Weinstein ‘19 in The Daily Gazette – September 19, 2016.
The writing is sparse, which concentrates its message into a dense and persuasive argument.
“Take a time you have felt ill,” Weinstein tells us. “Imagine that it dragged on and on, for weeks and months.” This is what happened to him, and his evocation of how it felt and the lack of college support pulls a few punches.
The masterstroke here is that at the end of the article he calls not for indignation and protest, but for support and collective action.
Yesterday, a campus-wide email announced the founding of a support group for students with chronic illness; the email mentioned Weinstein’s name as one of those involved. This is the rare op-ed that is followed by real change, though it’s still hard to tell how significant the change will be.
3. “Local Icarus Fired for Dabbing Too Close to the Sun” by Kwate Quartey ‘19 in The Swarthmore Phoenix – September 22, 2016
The premise is irresistible: A student is fired from Sharples for dabbing too much. The hysterical headline promises a story that will match that premise.
And it does, fortified by an assortment of over-the-top quotes like “he said no mashed potatoes for you. Then he was like just kidding and then dabbed.”
While dabbing as a trend is reportedly on the fade, the story of Swarthmore’s Icarus is likely to persist for a while yet. Thank you, Kwate Quartey.
Honorable mention: The gifs in my “Mountain Justice” article.
My own article? I think so. The use of gifs to illustrate news articles has much potential, and you will likely see it done again on the pages of The Daily Gazette.
*While Corbani’s essay technically got published last week, the quality of the article and the rarity of The Reviewprompted me to include it here.