Dateline: Downtown: Fairest of Sights

Dan Roche

Originally, this article was about difficulties students have in graduating. I may still write about that, but I have been reading Montaigne, and he does not like depending overmuch on what other people say. Instead he values figuring a thing out for oneself and relaying the result. So I will copy him and think for myself. And it’s true, there is a sort of cowardice in depending on the authority of the people you quote; better instead to rely on your own work in thinking. What you write then will be an exposition of your powers or reasoning, and not another’s power of persuasion.

What I had planned was mentioning people who have graduated and their sob stories about administration hurdles. When I didn’t get all sob stories but at least one assertion that “it wasn’t that difficult,” in addition to the tales of woe I’d heard, I realized that I was looking into the matter with prejudice. I had hit a snare in my graduation – a WISER problem, go figure – and was mad about it. I saw what I was mad about, and what I was doing about it, and realized that often, opining and reporting is no different. My quotes would be speaking for me, and I would have been taking my interviewees’ quotes and mashing themselves into a form I’d like it to fit into.

Maybe at a later date I will write more reportorially about people who had trouble graduating and why it was so. But another part of me is sad that I am graduating, because I have enjoyed my time here. So: hurry up and let me leave/don’t let me leave! I can’t pretend toward objectivity when I am that confused.

Those who identify themselves with the left wing stridently deny that there is a liberal slant in much news media, but I think there often is. Many reporters who often dream of being columnists, are slowly working towards that goal, but slog through the mire of committee meetings and painful interviews with semi-important people. There is an inner bloviator, I hazard to say, in every reporter, bottled up. That is, not as it should be or shouldn’t be, but as it has to be. Anything else imposes a false sense of objectivity into how a fallible man or woman does their job. Often, people who attain to the level of education that it takes to become a reporter tend to the left. As to why that is, I do not have any answers, only observations.

Perception may not be reality, but it is still powerful. Just think about it. Out there in the world, someone considers UMB their Alma Mater. They are proud of it. Dumpy, fortressy UMB. Hopefully Motley succeeds in making it more Alma Mater-y. I would begin by paving a go-kart track where the Plaza is.

Why would anybody be proud of it, then? Because, as the normally devious Glaucon said,

Socrates: …when a beautiful soul harmonizes with a beautiful form, and the two are cast into one mould, that will be the fairest of sights to him who has an eye to see it?

Glaucon: The fairest indeed.

Socrates: And the fairest is also the loveliest?

Glaucon: That may be assumed.

Socrates: And the man who has the spirit of harmony will be most in love with the loveliest; but he will not love him who is of an inharmonious soul?

Glaucon: That is true, if the deficiency be in his soul; but if there be any merely bodily defect in another he will be patient of it, and will love all the same.

Forget Montaigne, and forget not quoting. The above passage summons up my feelings about this school. Bodily, it is ghastly. But it has a beautiful soul. I recall so many Professors and what they spoke about so vividly that I know and am glad that a piece of them will remain with me. In some courses where I didn’t do as well as I could have, I would instead have studied it by itself without distraction from other topics. When I am out of school, I pray for time where I can study epistemology with the attention it deserves. But more important is to study myself, and this school has helped me do that.