Critique Plagued by Hyperbole is Ineffective Satire

We’re all sinners in the hands of an angry Mod. If a free WordPress account could impart eternal damnation unto Hell’s fiery abyss, the Deke brothers would be throwing a “perdarty” (perdition/party) this Saturday.

The fire and brimstone prose brought to us by my edgy middle school Tumblr aesthetic requested sweeping democratic reform and that we be a little nicer to the baristas, but ultimately will not affect change in any capacity due to its laughably purple rhetoric. “You Are Not Safe Here” addresses several important concerns, but this manifesto for the “invisible, obfuscated bodies” who can’t get into frat parties won’t resonate with the greater student body.

But maybe I’ve just never been one for symphonic screams of dissonance. I’m always game for a little productive dissent here and there but even then I prefer a more accessible vernacular than that of the new-world colonist. Sunday’s blog post is an illustrative example of flowery dialogue rendering an idea vague and oversaturated. It’s clear that the satanically pseudonymed scribes of “You Are Not Safe Here” wish to force even more liberal arts upon “Chad from Pike,” but I’d say he’s not likely to engage with their request that he “remove [his] muzzle, and let the sound of [his] voice join [theirs] in a grand cacophony,” unless it’s 2 a.m. and that grand cacophony is the gloriously melancholic party anthem, “Mr. Brightside.”

More off-putting to the reader may be the article’s ironically condescending tone. Posing the wild suggestion that sorority women are complicit in the epidemic of sexual assault epitomized the authors’ erratically disproportionate hatred of Greek life, a surely antiquated system in need of reform, but one not deserving of such an offensively tone-deaf accusation. And to follow such an illegitimate criticism by deeming themselves our figurative Virgil, Dante Alighieri’s fictional guide through Hell in the Divine Comedy and literature’s ideal of perfect wisdom and reason, reflects the fundamentally paradoxical, wholly self-righteous mess of ignorance, ego, and excess that is “You Are Not Safe Here.”

But Che Guevara knew that revolutions live and die by the supportive masses they accrue, that, “each one of us, alone, is worth nothing.” While our hellish heroes of hubris didn’t quite have a touch on the pulse of campus life, their pursuit is noble and just. The Sixth Circle has a vision, and feels they speak for a demographic relegated to the fringes of social life by circumstances of fear, introversion, disinterest, or otherwise. I have no doubt such a population exists and has just as inherent a right to social inclusion as the Dekes and Tri-Delts. Perhaps a revolution of sorts really is in order then. One that represents the interests of those who won’t speak or feel they aren’t heard, but refrains from meaningless rhetoric and misplaced aggression. To the recluse with a revolutionary inkling tucked singly away in Palmer or Piccolo, or the would-be social provocateur eating a lonely Pit dinner, don’t let the misguided failures and pervasive ridicule of “You Are Not Safe Here” dampen your voice. Maybe don’t scream as loud, and try to make fewer thesaurus.com searches, but be vocal, articulate and reasonable nonetheless and your cause will prevail.

Thirteen times and with various connotation, the ‘Divine Wannabe’ returns to an exhaustingly repetitive refrain, a figuratively underlying “scream that could not be expressed.” And while lacking in elegance and subtlety, this notion of pent-up thoughts and feelings fettered into dormancy by fear and apprehension seems so universal. But this fundamental human experience which lies at the core of The Sixth Circle’s identity remains unexplored, as “You Are Not Safe Here” busies itself employing ornate rhetoric to slander frat bros, “Natty O,” and “monopolies” of all kind.

So to Dante, Virgil, Beatrice, Lucifer and Farinata, whom I refer to by their uncomfortably cringy aliases first for lack of their true identities and then as symbolically associative of all persons of social detachment at Wake Forest: us ‘God Damn Independents’ need not wallow in our relegation, but own and embrace and enliven our little plots on the fringe. That said, if the door guy at Alpha Sig turns you away, you can kinda just sneak around through their backyard.

  • Shane

    If you found the language to be hyperbolic, then perhaps the intensity of the letter’s call did not resonate with you. Nonetheless, the reality of the students who wrote the letter – and many other students on campus – is only captured through the bold and passionate rhetoric used. Mocking their trials, their experience, and their efforts to make Wake Forest a better place only serves to uphold the Establishment that is the University. Instead, the OGB should be partnering with these marginalized voices and giving them not only a platform to voice their concerns with the very volatile WF community, but you should also be working with them, using constructive and creative collaboration to bring about actual change. Posting an article bashing students who are attempting to change institutional problems in our school does not reflect well on the OGB as a publication, and by hiding behind the vague figurehead of authorship titled simply “Editorial Staff,” you are diminishing your image as students. This is the type of article I’d expect to find on the Wake Forest Review, and I’m disappointed.
    As a previous writer and editor for the OGB, many of the articles run, photos taken, and issues presented are narrowly one-sided, and often that side reflects the opinions of the Wake Forest President’s Offices, upheld by the student-majority. Welcome the Sixth Circle into your key-card-access-only fifth-floor office, let the doors of equal voice open, and build a better campus through collaboration. By attacking the legitimate concerns of excluded students, you are playing into the hands of the elite individuals who run our campus. Take Wake Forest back from the President, his offices, the donors, alumni, and everyone else who is allowed to have an opinion on what Wake Forest does – and put the University’s power in the hands of its students.

    • Andy

      Hey Shane, I think you entirely missed the point of this article. While it does satirize some of the piece, at no point does it claim that the authors of the Sixth Circle manifesto had no valid points. In fact, if you had taken the time to fully comprehend the article before commenting, you would have caught that the author identifies with and agrees with a lot of the sentiments expressed. What you might have missed through all of this is the simple fact that this sort of rhetoric radicalizes moderate positions that are anti Greek and pro progress. By blatantly generalizing students that participate in Greek life using phrases such as “Chad from Pike,” the article presents an argument that sounds out of touch at best, infantile at worst. By doing this, it makes it harder for other students to speak out without having to identify with students who seem to threaten the safety of their peers at Wake Forest.