Staff Editorial: Thumbs up, Thumbs down

By Mac Weekly Staff

It would hardly be profound to give a thumbs up to the Black Liberation Affairs Committee, Program Board, President’s Office, Campus Programs and the American Studies Deparment for collaborating on bringing eminent filmmaker Spike Lee to campus to discuss “When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts,” his acclaimed documentary on Hurricane Katrina, this evening. That all who attend will be challenged and inspired by Lee’s artistic talent, his intelligence and his skill in tackling issues of class, race and culture through his work is uncontestable. But the pace at which students snapped up available tickets — slated to be available for up to four days, but which disappeared in a day and a half — strikes us as positive. Such a sign helps in some degree re-invigorate our faith that many Macalester students continue to genuinely seek challenge and engagement on issues of race and class. Okay, and catch a glimpse of an acclaimed filmmaker and public intellectual while they’re at it. In any case, the visit warrants an emphatic thumbs up.We’ve got a proposition that should appeal to the passive-aggressive sensibilities of this community of both native and non-native Midwesterners: if you have something to say to us — something critical, something argumentative, even — don’t confront us directly. Don’t say it to our face. Don’t call us. Don’t even text-message — though, for the record, that is pretty passive-aggressive. Instead, put your frustration and disagreement into writing, so we can publish it. Tear us apart with your reasoning and your wit. And then email it to us. In the middle of the night, if you want. You should even feel free to avoid making eye contact with staff members the next day, or, if you prefer, to shoot us dirty looks. But please, just write to us. Because blowing hot air about how much you might disagree with what you see here — beyond deserving a major thumbs-down — doesn’t contribute anything to the discourse that you as a reader apparently care enough about to at least find irritating. And we just want what’s good for you – for us.

This week’s open letter from a number of influential faculty on the direction of this institution clearly, eloquently and correctly establishes what has gone unsaid for too long: pursuing pre-eminence has always been integral to Macalester’s mission, and that pursuit and social consciousness are by no means mutually exclusive. The involved faculty certainly deserve a thumbs up for giving voice to that understanding.