Epistula Editoris

Salvete Amici,

Often we forget the influence the administration has on the culture of the campus. As it makes the rules, we must adapt to them, change the ways we interact with one another and the way we carry ourselves. As the rules change, so must we, and so must the College.

Similarly, we often ignore the influence students – particularly student organizations – hold over the way campus runs. Individuals may not carry much weight, but hardly any of us is simply an individual. We are all a part of something more than just ourselves, which affects more than just ourselves. No man is an island.

Similar to Rome, the progression of our history is held by both the people and the Senate – or in our case, the students and our governing bodies, such as the administration. The decadence of the Roman people led to a decline in culture, and a decline in the state, and it was the poor decisions and overexpansion of the Roman State that opened the Empire to its downfall.

We have seen the culture of the campus change through the actions of both the students and the administration – sometimes for better, sometimes for worse. We have also seen our student body – through its own organizations and governing systems – grow in culture and resources through discretion, however now it appears as though we are watching what was once built up get torn down due to decadence and indiscretion. Although it may appear as though we are more inclusive and more culturally advanced than before, I find that we, like the Romans, have become far too spread out – wide as an ocean, but deep as a puddle.

I hope that our history proves to have a better ending. 

Depauw delenda est,

Brandon Johnson

Growth

Friends,

I often find myself contemplating what The Wabash Commentary is. I think about what it means to me, what it means to other people, and – most importantly – what it stands for.

As editor, I now find myself in the unique position of not just considering what the Commentary means to me, but of also putting what that means into actuality. Seldom do we have the chance to guide the things that we love, to have the possibility to change how others see that which is most important to us.

My first goal for the Commentary is to foster growth. I came into this family when it was small and broken, and have fought since then not only to hold it together, but to build it back up to what it was before.

Secondly, I hope to solidify our identity. What do we stand for? I believe that we are more than merely a political magazine; we care about so much more than politics. I further believe it would be overly reductive to say that we are some sort of “lifestyle” magazine. It is not my place to say what is the place of the Commentary, nor will it ever be the place of any single person. As  stated above, we are a family, and in our identity must consider all members past, present, and future. I simply wish to help us put together those pieces.

It is my final hope to spread this identity that we create. Misinformation is a slow and insidious killer in both directions. It plays a part in the destruction of those who learn and accept it as truth, but can also lead to the destruction of its subject. In my time as a member of the Commentary, we have been subject to such          attacks and allegations claiming that we are an “alt-right” publication or, even worse, a publication against the college. I believe we are anything but.

The Wabash Commentary is much more to me than pieces of paper covered in ink. It is an institution. A way of thinking. A family. It is my sole wish as editor of The Wabash Commentary to help this family as it has helped me.

Yours for a Traditional Wabash,

Brandon Johnson

 

 

 

 

Brandon Johnson

 

Not Now, Voyager

Hello,

This is the third issue of The Wabash Commentary this year, and my last as its editor. I can’t thank this staff enough for their effort and the creativity they put into this issue. In addition, we all thank the alumni and fiends of this publication for their continued support in all aspects of our work, you have helped more than you know.

Many of us involved with TWC were saddened by the recent death of Matthew Rarey ’00, the second editor of TWC. This Magazine owes a great deal to Matt, not only for keeping this publication afloat in dire times, but, for lending us his talent for prose and copy-editing long after Wabash became his Alma Matter.

Recently, many people have been thinking about acceptance, a trendy topic on college campuses today. But what does that mean at Wabash? We tend to think ideas of acceptance are vaguely obvious but learned tools through the teaching vehicle of The Gentleman’s Rule. While no one can claim to have the perfect solution, several of our writers have taken a look at what it means to live in a community with people who have different opinions than ourselves. Logan Taylor ’18 takes a look at a controversial Chapel Talk by John Hailey, and questions the way we paint our enemies with a broad brush. Austin Yeomans ’20 looks back to the days of Ezra Pound, mining for enlightenment by examining how Wabash has changed and remained the same since his departure over the seas, “Cantos in hand.”

On a lighter note, spring has sprung at Wabash, and so shall a gentleman’s summer attire with tips from Jared Cottingham ’18. Poking fun at “progress” has been a recurring theme at TWC, and in this issue Brennan Davenport ’19 embodies that theme, inspire revolt against the five day workweek, asking with mock seriousness, what has the modern world done to us?

From myself and all of us on staff I hope that you enjoy this issue of The Wabash Commentary.

 

-- Jacob Roehm ’18

The Plan...

Gentlemen,

Thank you for reading and supporting The Wabash Commentary. This issue is the product of a great deal of work on the part of our staff. No acknowledgement would be complete without reference to our alumni, professors, and friends who continue to provide us with a great deal of support, even when we are at our feckless worst.

While The Wabash Commentary does not print articles about affairs beyond our campus, we still consider their influences as they concern Wabash College. Several of the pieces in this issue relate to how Wabash has been affected by the events of this past November. You will be encouraged that our students and staff continue to think critically about the events of their times, starting right here on campus. 

John Newton ’18 reminds us to respect others and their opposing views in these divisive times. Nathan Hubert ’20 reflects on the controversy surrounding the Bell Game this past Fall. While these two articles in this issue directly relate to our current social-political environment, our Lexicon Liberandum and Flowchart like a Gentleman reflect our staff’s commitment to satirically push against popular ideologies, here on campus and at-large. Our article on Enduring Questions takes a humorous stab at this “perennial” faculty favorite. Last, an article from Jared Cottingham ’18 providesvaluable insight on the pleasures of a gentleman: cigar smoking. 

It has, and will continue, to be the policy of this magazine to serve as a forum for ideas that dissent from the mainstream, so rarely found on campuses today. The job of The Wabash Commentary isn’t just to send a magazine to the printer, but to promote a culture on campus that isn’t afraid to ask tough questions to those who do not want to hear them, and especially to those who do. At other institutions, students holding unpopular opinions are accused of “creating a hostile environment” and “politicizing debate.” However, TWC is encouraged more than ever by the debates among Wabash students that have been invigorated by the events of our times. Disagreement is a powerful tool for intellectual development, one that most seem to disregard. If any member of the Wabash community reads The Wabash Commentary and comes away thinking about our institution more profoundly than before, TWC has done its job.

Be indignant, with us or about us. Challenge us. Challenge yourself. Challenge The College. Write us a letter or email.Debate. Learn. Speak up.

Yours for a Healthy Wabash,

Jacob Roehm ’18

Letter from the Editor

Permanent Things

Hello All,

My name is Jacob Roehm, a Philosophy and Political Science double major from southern Indiana. I take over the reins of The Wabash Commentary after a couple of tumultuous years in our leadership, and one of my first goals has been to get us going the right way forward.  2016 marks the 22nd year that the Wabash Commentary has been on campus. As we reflect on the work that has been done by our predecessors, we look forward to our own place in the history of this magazine. It is our hope that the Commentary will serve to enliven campus debate and provide an outlet for those students who want their voices to be heard. As we have been told over and over again, ideas have consequences, and the end result of an absence of reasoned debate on campus is pernicious orthodoxy. As editor I hope to continue the best traditions of my predecessors and help the Commentary make whatever positive impact it can on the life of the College. 

Since our last issue, we have been hard at work putting our house in order, making sure that the Commentary will be around for another decade or more. This semester has been filled with email wars, tasteless mens-wear, and scolding chapel talks. The events of this semester have revealed a willingness amongst some to demonize our fellow Wabash Men. The Wabash Commentary seeks to defend not only the students, but the cherished history and traditions of the College. Any institution, but especially a college, exists to fulfill certain purposes. When it no longer meets them, or seeks to adopt new ones, those who are loyal to the original mission are obligated to speak up. I regard the efforts of this magazine as being in that spirit. To quote Wabash’s third president, the Rev. Joseph Tuttle, “The old faith is good enough for me, and I am sure that I speak to the profoundest convictions of the founders and patrons of this college in saying it is good enough for you.

 

Yours for a Healthy Wabash,

Jacob Roehm ’18