Vox Clamantis in Nuntio

Take that, Lohse!

With all of this backlash and argument over Janet Reitman’s so-called “unbiased” article in Rolling Stone, “Confessions of an Ivy League Frat Boy,” it’s comforting to know that there is, in fact, a voice of reason in the realm of major publications—a vox clamantis in nuntio, if you will.   

This is the voice of Daily News writer and Dartmouth alum, Frank Santo. On Monday, Mr. Santo published a response to Reitman’s article, entitled, “Confessions of an actual Dartmouth student: Rolling Stone vomits all over Ivy Leaguers”. 

He encapsulated my exact thoughts on all of this controversy. When I read Reitman’s article, I wasn’t so much looking at the topic of hazing. The main problem that I, along with many a Dartmouth student, had with Reitman’s piece is that she painted the College entirely in black and white, using figurative paints handed to her by Andrew Lohse. According to her, we are all power-hungry corporate drones, looking to steal candy from babies of the 99%. All of us are the result of conditioning from the elite, and our hobbies include crushing dreams and flipping the bird at the downtrodden. Jeez, we suck!

But as Santo illustrates, this College isn’t a place painted in black and white, and it was obviously extremely unfair of Reitman to characterize the College as such. There are people here from all walks of life that have come and will come to Dartmouth that are hell-bent on changing this world and doing great things, big and small. However, where is their mention in Reitman’s article? Why does she neglect to talk about the fact that this college has produced a slew of Pulitzer Prize winners, award-winning doctors, non-profit workers and as Santo points out, workers for Teach for America and the Peace Corps? Alas, talking about these people does not sell magazines, so why don’t we just go ahead and generalize our community as self-centered elitists. Right?

Here’s the crux of this whole issue: Dartmouth students, like members of other elite institutions, end up being successful because the average Dartmouth student is unbelievably driven. That’s how they got here. They’ve been working hard in the classroom, on the playing field, or in the studio since Day 1. Are there exceptions? Of course there are. But it’s this drive that propels us to the top, not privilege. And it’s not necessarily the top of the financial sector—it’s medicine, business, activism, sports, or anything we set our minds to be about. Just look at Janet Reitman; she chose to take the “Journalism” path in the game of Life. Is she doing a good job? Well, that’s debatable, but she’s certainly sitting pretty at the top of the magazine industry with her shoddy journalism skills. And ndoubtedly, she was driven and worked hard to get her gig at Rolling Stone

Anyway, Mr. Santo’s article is a good read and is quite refreshing to have someone who at least knows and tells the whole story—not a story that is simply trying to sell some magazines at the expense of a reputable institution. Maybe you should take a gander at Mr. Santo’s article, Ms. Reitman, and reflect on your ability and integrity as an investigative journalist. Clearly, Columbia’s journalism program taught you poorly.

– Douglas E. Payne