If You Are a Non-staffer
Please Step Outside this Room.
You Have No Businees Here!
- tWS Office Manager (2006-2007)
PLEASE KEEP YOUR VOICES DOWN!
Are Trying to Work!
- tWS Office Manager (2007-2008)
A major part of my student life is devoted to the Weekly Sillimanian (tWS). I stepped into the office two years ago, wide-eyed and slightly ignorant, filled with raw ideas for a good article. But now, instead of writing in white heat, I give the deadlines. My name is on the masthead of a 104 year-old student publication with the title “Features Editor.”
Because I am in control of the feature writers this year, power is in my hands. But just when I think everything is under control—with the click-click-click of the keyboards, the swish-swish-swish of newspapers, and the constant talk-talk-talk between a writer and an editor the only sounds filling every corner of the office—I find out I am dreadfully wrong. Debaters have infiltrated our territory. These are the kind of people who either enjoy daily bouts on Plato’s or Aristotle’s philosophy or the silly smile of Ronald McDonald. At this point, I have doubts concerning my so-called power.
Actually, it is no secret that our editor-in-chief, the circulation manager, one senior writer, one feature writer, and two news writers are debaters. And they are enough.
Though I don’t debate through the Oxford format and the likes—I must admit I blow up and argue whenever lost projects and viruses keep sprouting in our computers due to the absence of an anti-virus program. The description that would best describe my idealism is that I consider plain talk as the simplest solution to a problem. No need for theories, no need for Marxist conceptualizations. No matter how I inoculate myself with such thoughts of disregard, the debaters just keep breaking in.
Yes, I believe that we human beings are considered the most intelligent species present on Earth due to our capability of thinking, feeling, and communicating. We take pride in the gift of speech, for this sets us apart from other creatures. But going beyond the basic chit-chat is just too much—especially if the “talk” disrupts the serenity of tWS office where we use most of our spare time to do what we are supposed to do (I am stressing “we” here because I am not the only one who is irritated). Total observance of silence in our work area is the least we could ask for.
Obviously, incessant highly-intellectual far-out discussions make my meter of impatience reach to the extremes. The line, “I have opinions, too, that are worth some listening, but can you please go somewhere else?” will escape from my mouth someday. The problem is, will they ever consider my kind of talk reputable and fulfilling? It’s as if they’ve fully exclude themselves from showbiz, problems on zits, and dormitory curfew—topics that may enlighten the most uneducated layman. That is why it is unquestionable that, aside from blabbermouths and disruptors, these debaters are often called geeks.
It is peculiar that whenever these debaters come, there’s this atmosphere of uneasiness. We, the staffers, know we have the authority but then their presence makes us uncomfortable in our own office. One concrete example was the day a person paid us a visit who wore a black shirt with these white words printed on the front:
Talk is Cheap
And on his back is the single word:
Insulting? Yes. And at that point, we all fell silent as more of his comrades entered our domain and did their thing.
On the first place, why do these debaters suddenly come into our territory? No one really knows the truth. Up to now, it remains to be a mystery how most of their kind is drawn into our dusty and musky office, shouting philosophies and ideals. But here are some hypotheses formulated by our group, who sometimes, in one way or another, oppose to their company:
1) These people are drawn by a debater-magnet about the size of our famous Portals, buried under the office years ago by a maniac who was a die-hard fan of Nietzsche.
2) These people continually search for The Book that could answer all their questions and finally put to an end their disputes. They must find it before it falls into the wrong hands. They received a tip that it was hidden by tWS Editor-in-Chief of school year 1990-1991.
3) These people just love to strut their stuff.
4) These people are proud of their fluent English and will never miss a chance to power-up their vocal volumes for the news and feature writers’ “benefit.”
5) These people’s peers are part this school year’s staff.
And the list of guesses continues. I can’t put them all here. I am not stating that our office is unsuitable for discussions (for that’s the purpose of an office, a place for discussions!) but what I just want to point out is there are matters worth discussing in a more conducive place. Well, those two office managers who posted notices to hush up cannot be blamed—because it was not only the writers that were seriously affected with boisterous ‘symposiums.’ As student writers, of which clarity, brevity, and factuality must be second nature to us, we need a time of silence. Even despite the fact that the Weekly Sillimanian has glorious historical evolvement through the years, it is embarrassing that its weekly outputs are tarnished by some hangers-on’s superfluous disturbance. One might easily say the publication’s foundation is getting weak.
For we have this one main goal as of now: we hope the weekly publication would never circulate a lampoon-like issue to all students and faculty who love to critique, or worse, criticize.
And remembering the guy who wore that silly black t-shirt and broke the serenity of the office, what I can think of is just to oppose the “talk is cheap” assumption. I know a debater would defend his/her point in this matter but I remain on my stand—I do not believe it. Planning with friends on what should be done on a weekend, chatting about the latest flick, or conversing with family members on a lazy Sunday afternoon—these are the most beautiful yet simple talks that will surely complete a person’s day. And that kind of talk is never cheap. It is priceless.