At the end of every year, Lake Superior State University releases a list of “banished words,” or words which have been so overused throughout the preceding 365 days that they have lost all meaning and should never be said again. When I looked at 2012’s list, though, I was disappointed.
What I am about to say may shock you and shake your morality down to its very core, so brace yourself: We, as members of the Georgetown student body, are an extremely privileged bunch. I’m not talking about the privilege they hammer into our heads from day one, the kind addressed in the convocation speech.
The Corcoran Gallery of Art is filled to the brim with colorful, eye-catching works of visual mastery, but you have to wade through that sea of technical skill to get to photographer Taryn Simon’s A Living Man Declared Dead and Other Chapters, a massive, six-room exhibit that initially overwhelms its viewer with monotony. The walls are hung with gigantic, uniform, brown frames grouped into sets, all following the same formula—one or more with headshot photographs of somber-faced individuals, a slender one with small black writing, and another with photographs, legal documents, or other archives, all mounted with the most boring shade of tan you’ve ever seen.
It’s a trauma we’ve all experienced—you’re sitting on your couch, having just hit the “play” button on Netflix/Megavideo (R.I.P.)/whatever other illegal site you use, geared up for the season finale you’ve been dying to watch. Your roommate comes in, and glances at the screen. “Oh, is that Dexter? I couldn’t believe it when Trinity killed Rita!”
For the past few months, I have been systematically hiding the posts of certain Facebook friends from my newsfeed for one reason—it’s an election year, and slews of college students from all sides of the political spectrum with access to HuffPo or Fox News think they’re top political analysts. I can’t stand it. So, when I was scrolling through my feed the other day and saw that a libertarian acquaintance of mine had posted a picture of a campaign poster, I almost hit the “hide” button immediately. But I chuckled audibly once I read the actual text on the blue-and-red picture: Ron Swanson 2012.
This summer, I found myself taking a class at Fordham University that converted me from a skeptic to a believer. No, it wasn’t the standard philosophy or theology class that usually leads its students to classroom epiphanies. This was a class on early 20th century British literature, with a professor who was merciful enough to show movies or television shows during one of our inhumanly long classes per week. And I didn’t find God or purpose, but I found Downton Abbey.