The Libel fails to surpass pie

As nearly all of campus knows by now, The Libel has hit Colby. If you have somehow managed to avoid the thousands of copies strewn around campus, The Libel is a satirical newspaper distributed for the first time this year a couple weeks ago. Spouting an apparent second issue of its fourth volume, it is a wonder it has managed to make it this far.

To better understand The Libel, let us compare it to what I was eating as I read it: banana cream pie. Both at first glance are appealing; what could be better than satire and quality pie? Unfortunately, the initial appeal is all the two have in common.

A standard piece of banana cream pie from Bob’s is plated modestly, but respectably. Occasionally it is a little roughed up or cracked, but that never impedes upon the overall quality. Now imagine this same pie, but smash your fist into it. For good measure, pour some of a friend’s soup onto the mess and mix it around a bit. This is the epitome of The Libel’s layout. On nearly every page there are objects and/or text bodies colliding, to the point where it is hard to imagine that there was an editor in charge of the whole process. Quite frankly, it is a feat to find any pair of lines that actually line up.

Time proved to further undermine The Libel. As I progressed to my fourth piece of pie my stomach tossed and turned, but my mind yearned for more of God’s golden, delicious bliss. As I progressed to the fourth page of The Libel I was equally sick, but this time my mind was begging me to stop, for the love of God. The novelty of The Libel’s satire wears off quickly, akin to the novelty of an office assistant photocopying his anus.

Pie comparisons aside, The Libel gives a bad name to satire. By its very definition, satire should be pointed and critical; this applies, very loosely, to maybe about a quarter of The Libel’s content. In many cases satire can forgo a critical message so long as it is humorous enough in its own right; I don’t know if this applies to any article in the publication. In truth, the only thing the paper manages to effectively satirize is itself.

Aside from its crimes against satire, The Libel has serious implications on the perception of the quality of the College’s student publications. If a visiting student or parent were to pick up a copy, what reason would they have to think that students here care about their extracurriculars? Just the first page shows a blatant disregard for quality control. Surely freedom of the press does not mean the absence of standards, at Colby College of all places. I imagine at The Libel, the famous phrase “All the news that’s fit to print” means, “Whatever shit you can physically print on paper” is acceptable.

In a place such as Colby, The Libel’s faults are inexcusable. The College is full of passionate students, excellent writers and talented editors, many of whom would jump at the chance to write quality satire. The many other active and respected student publications on campus are proof of this. If The Libel wishes to ignore these resources and continue to operate through what I assume to be laziness, perhaps it is time it step down to let more qualified students run a satirical paper.

If you are for some reason looking to pick up a copy of The Libel, simply turn to any surface and there is bound to be a copy laying there. When you are finished please recycle the issue with the hopes that it may someday become a part of a quality newspaper.

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