Fuck Your Asterisk
JACK HANLY (M.E.D. ’19)
As a contributor to the Paprika! issue “F*ck That,” I would like to register my forceful condemnation of the voluntary censorship explicit throughout the issue. Why the need to replace such a harmless vowel with that tawdry allusion, *? Everyone knows what you’re trying to say, so just say it, goddammit! “U”‘s exile from the entirety of the issue acts as a persistent reminder of editorial cowardice–it seems to negate the “aggressive and defiant tone” advertised in the editor’s statement. An issue that aspires towards controversy should not be so quick to compliant self-approbation. Was this a preemptive attempt at buttoned-up legitimacy? Isn’t there enough of that in Rudolph? Would Ranciere approve of this political _in_visibility making? The asterisk itself has found subversive deployment elsewhere. Kurt Vonnegut’s Breakfast of Champions cheekily (no pun intended) reproduces the author’s visual approximation of an asshole: a perfectly sloppy rendering of an asterisk. Was the whole issue one large butt joke? Or is its academic rigor, in fact, stifling of such productive sneering? Vonnegut’s larger literary project dovetails well with the issue’s confessed impolitesse as praxis. But whither such biting criticism? Are there faculty children running the halls who might be scarred by such vulgarities? The desire to meet Trumpian attacks with measured argumentation is admirable, a veritable “when they go low, we go high” stratagem. But, is such token consensus feasible? To adopt the “friendly yet watchful” moderation of the ivory-towered referee evokes not so much a student-driven sanity project, but a groveling homogenization of ideals. Fuck that shit. An asshole says it all.