Aidan Lerner ’22
I forgot to write my Cowl article for this week. Today is Sunday, and I am a little panicked. I pride myself on my ability to be responsible and to come through for the people who rely on me, whether it be in work or school. That is why I am very disappointed to report that I definitely did totally forget that there was an issue due this Saturday. Did I agree to write a half for this issue? You bet I did. What have I written so far? Exactly this much.
In my defense, I am a senior and this week was Spring break. The jet lag of going from the central to eastern time zone is absolutely brutal and you add daylight savings time! That is a nightmare combination. So, yes, I will shoulder most of the blame for forgetting to write this article, but let the record state that I have many, many excuses ready to go.
How about I outline some of the things I had planned to write about, had I not forgotten due to the unforeseen circumstances of not remembering. One thing I love about writing for The Cowl is that I truly do feel as if I can write about whatever I want in exactly the way I want. I have written about things that I consider fun and some things which I consider more serious. This week, I had planned to write about something more serious. I wanted to write about the complicated nature of morality and the online world.
Dear reader, now it is my privilege to take you into the kitchen so you can see how the cake gets baked. Here is how I would figure out how to write about such a heavy topic. First, I would figure out what exactly I am trying to accomplish with my piece. Generally, I find that it is either a first-person argument or some sort of allegorical anecdote. Normally, I use a fictionalized version of myself as the subject so that I can be a little sensational with what I say. In this case, I would probably do a combination of both.
I would start with the story of a Twitter account. The Tweeter is a hard worker and is always kind when you ask him a question. He is knowledgeable and passionate about the same subjects you are, and he adds a lot of entertainment to your life. You are one of his most consistent followers. One day, you find out that the man behind the account has been accused by people in his life of doing heinous things. What does that mean for you? Are you immoral for enjoying his content? Are you dumb for not seeing through his kind words?
Those are questions I would have asked in my article. Then, I would get personal with my narration.
As a self-declared writer, I often find that lying is frighteningly easy. In the era of texting, I feel as if I can spin any tale and people will believe it as long as I write it well enough. When all people see are the words I put on a page or a screen, I can make it so they see whatever version of me they would like. I can come off as gracious or rude, confident or nervous. The author of the words has all of the control.
Even the most honest writer would struggle to communicate who they are with just words. It is nearly impossible to give anything but a window into your true nature. Our anonymous Tweeter can be a source of joy online and a monster offline: different aspects of the same complex person. On the internet, no one is who they say they are because no one can say who they are. So, it is our duty to be careful and recognize that there is a lot beyond the words on the screen. If you think you know who someone truly is based on their online persona, you are wrong.
I would write something like that, and then I would wonder if it makes any sense. I would hope to myself that someone will read it and think about some of the questions I raised. Since we are outlining this together, I will spell out the conclusion I really hope readers draw. Will they wonder if I am telling them the truth? Who am I behind The Cowl? Did I really forget to write my Cowl article this week?
(I totally forgot. Ask my editors.)