A modest proposal re: the Estes Conundrum

Posted on July 10, 2012


So I know my next post-grad post was supposed to divulge the succulent secrets of Mom’s All-You-Can-Eat International Buffet, but that’s going to have to wait. Bummer. I know. What will the world be without all the Instagram pix of teryaki sauces and dill pickles I planned? Bummer. The time shall come.

For now, I have a matter to, with no lack of ire, clear up.

In the last week or so, it’s come to my attention that my alma mater’s newspaper, “The Red & Black” — and, moreover, the section inside it I supervised just months ago — unintentionally crucified one Amber Estes when it let her column seemingly circumnavigate the editing process (though, to be clear, I doubt it did).

The result: a head-shakingly poor, embarrassing attempt at a satire of the very real albeit increasingly miniscule phenomenon known to laypeople as an MRS degree. Replete with copy editing errors (e.g. “sophgomore,” initially) and miss-and-miss-again tween mag cliches visibly doled in a shot at humor, the piece read so incredulously that a majority readership took it in seriousness.

So, then, another result queued up: an infinitely more embarrassing, Internet-wide, hot-button debate as to whether or not Ms. Estes was, in fact, kidding.

UGA students and alumni attempted to wash their hands of any association with the piece as they openly expressed their anger across social media. Commenters became both pugilists and vigilant literary theorists bent on dissecting Estes’ diction in a painstaking quest for Truth. Georgia Tech fans mocked the piece and the University as a whole with their consummate “This would never happen here” defense. The “Newsweek” Tumblr shrugged its html-ders in resignation as it, too, simply could not claim a verdict.

Then today came Callie Bost’s (hey, should we mention week-plus late?) chime-in on Estes-Gate at the “Business Insider” site. And I — for lack of more grave words — finally lost my shit. I came here, for as many or few of you who might continue to desire a former “Red & Black” opinions editor’s opinion, to go ahead and provide mine.

No, “Business Insider,” Estes’ column isn’t “…a slap in the face to any girl actually going to college for an education.” It’s a slap in the face to any student — male or female — of journalism who faces, with bright eyes, a dauntingly idealistic vision of a future journalism career, only to see your site weigh in on an argument that never should have been and thereby affirm what today seems a sewer-low standard in online media.

It’s an insult to Southern women that you, along with countless publications and readers across the country, grasp so desperately onto your own misconceptions about our idea of marriage — itself a sophomoric mistake in the Estes vein — that you actually thought this girl was serious. That’s damn lazy reading.

Finally, I assume this is *definitely* an insult to the readers of “Business Insider” who visited your homepage in the hopes that they might actually learn about business, only to find their search had led them to a few hundred empty, smug words under the guise of a contribution — one which, in truth, casually lays waste to the invaluable learning process for students that is being published in a college newspaper.

So, “Business Insider,” “Newsweek,” panty-wadded Bulldogs, Tech fans and readers from the Northeast alike, if you’re still grappling at “amateur satire” and all the “issues” of “Southern life” and “marriage” and “diction” and “feminism” and “college dating” and “whether or not I’m using these quotes sarcastically,” please, I BEG YOU (can further clarify this sarcasm), contact the Screw You — I’m Hilarious! ombudsman (me), who will help you figure. It. All. Out.

Or, if we’re clear, might I recommend some Jonathan Swift?

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