Moffat ’13: The Herald should publish opinions

Opinions Editor
Friday, December 7, 2012

My opponent must secretly be a genocidal tyrant bent on the destruction of humankind. There’s simply no other explanation. Supporting the dismantling of The Herald’s opinions section is like advocating for the torture of infants or promoting cannibalism.

To deprive you, the good readers, of your daily mental sustenance would be an unspeakable crime with devastating consequences for generations to come. Can you imagine? If Brown students were denied the brilliant prose and insightful wisdom of the opinions section, surely a deep cultural malaise would take hold of campus life. In just a year’s time, our great University would become an unrecognizable wasteland, where not even the faintest scent of hope and innovation would remain. Only the luckiest students – if they transferred immediately afterwards – would manage to escape the grip of despondency that would ensue from the lack of mental stimulation.

Without opinions and the gleaming smiles of the columnists placed next to them, The Herald would become a hungry shadow of its former self. The paper would need to fill the empty void somehow – which would probably mean more sports and more comic strips, or worse, Diamonds and Coal every single day. I get chills in my spine just thinking about it.

Okay, maybe I’m being a little melodramatic. But just look back over your Brown experience and think, “What would life have been like without opinions in The Herald?” If Brown students had never read Steven Chizen’s ’14 investigative piece about the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority, they might never have burst out of the Brown bubble (“RIPTA’s educational value,” Feb. 24). If we hadn’t published Garret Johnson’s ’14 endorsement of President Obama, he might have been a one-term president (“Barack Obama for President,” Nov. 6). And if you had never read Oliver Hudson’s ’14 argument about reinstituting the poll tax, you might not have broken your hand when you punched that hole in your wall (“Universal suffrage is immoral,” Nov. 13).

Reading the news keeps us up to date, but reading the opinions columns is like having a finger on the pulse of the student body. It’s a window into Brown’s soul. You may find some of the opinions you read – like this one – in poor taste. But reading bad arguments sharpens your mind. After you find the weakest point in the reasoning, you can post the column on Facebook, shred it to pieces and show your friends how smart you are. And, of course, when you read an opinion you already agree with, you get that warm and fuzzy feeling inside that says, “I love Brown and all the smart Brown people here that think like me.” Only a despicable misanthrope like my opponent would want to take that away from us.


Jared Moffat ’13 hopes that all 8,454 Brown students apply to be opinions columnists next semester. For an application, email