My name is Tristan Reynolds. I am your Opinion Editor for the year. While the title sounds Orwellian (editing opinions sounds like nothing so much as Maoist purification), the job is anything but. If The Rambler is your voice on campus, then I am your megaphone. My job, as I see it and as I will carry it out going forward, is to facilitate discussion between both members of the Transy community, and between communities within Transy. While these discussion are already happening, my goal this year is to bring them out of the late-night dorm bull sessions, out of the student group meetings, out of the Greek house, out of the library, out of the conversations on the way to class, maybe even out of the classroom (though we all know nothing worthwhile ever goes on in there—ha!) and into a venue where everyone can both listen in and contribute to the discussion. If that sounds somewhat vague, perhaps I can clarify it: I want you (yes, you there, in the back, on Tumblr) to contribute to The Rambler.
My job is to make these conversations happen; it’s also to tease out the ideas in these conversations and put them up on a big shiny digital billboard. One of the quotes most frequently misattributed to Mark Twain states that small-minded people discuss people, medium-minded people discuss events, and broad-minded people discuss ideas. (Relatedly, an actual Oscar Wilde quote reminds us that where wit is absent, quotation will suffice to imitate it.) I am going to work to make the Rambler Opinion Section a place where any idea, no matter how unconventional, bizarre, impractical or naïve, or even offensive, can be aired and then debated. Doing that will require engagement from you, readers. It will require a commitment to hearing out different, challenging perspectives on closely-held issues. That can be hard, I know; sometimes all I want to do is throttle someone who is so obviously wrong that it hurts my brain. But we’ve got to resist that impulse if we ever want to get anywhere. And I have no doubt, whatsoever, that anyone who’s read this far into this column can do it.
My job is to get those ideas and bring them out into the open. So if you have an idea (and I know for a fact you do, if only because having at least one weird, harebrained idea is a prerequisite for choosing to come to Transy), I want to hear it. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m serious. Go do it.
My job is also to make this space about people. Ideas come from somewhere, and that somewhere is usually a person’s brain. (Occasionally ideas can only be traced back to a person’s… well, let’s call it posterior. But we don’t talk about that.) One of the surest way I’ve ever found to get really engaged with someone is to know a bit about them. So I want to hear your stories. I want to hear about where you came from; we’ve all wound up here at Transy, for better or for worse, but we all come from different places. So I want to hear about that. I want to hear about the story of your life. I want to hear about that time you went fishing with your grandpa and it made you appreciate that he hadn’t died yet. I want to hear about the time somebody judged you for your accent (looking at you, newly Dr. Silas House) or your skin color, or which religious pendant you have around your neck. I want to hear about the time you wrote bad poetry and realized you’d never be a poet. Whether the experience was tragedy or farce, I want to hear about it.
You don’t have to be a good writer. You can tell that’s true because you’re reading this, and they still made me the Opinion Editor. For some reason. You just have to be honest. And willing to take that first leap off the cliff. I’ll be waiting to catch you and hand you a megaphone. Because that’s my job.