Tag Archives: sours

Grape Sours with Latest Offering

5 Mar

I’ll admit that up until this point I had not read a single issue of Oberlin’s alternative campus paper—mostly because whenever I saw it stacked in the library my first reaction was to see who was daring enough to pose nude for the centerfold and then throw it away.  This issue features some scantily clad Emo Kids.  I should have taken it as a sign of what was to come because after reading the issue, I was left feeling very desolate and dark indeed.

                While the Review’s weekly news portions are committed by precedent to covering the top four or five campus events each week, the Grape’s looser content and space requirements ought to allow it to provide readers with longer, more-tailored,  and in-depth features.  The features section of this latest Grape falls stunningly short, however, providing only a single article, “Oberlin Then and Now”, which might actually have been noteworthy if it had been properly edited or had funneled into a novel finale.  Instead the piece meanders towards a lukewarm conclusion, and thus the section ends.

                On first glance Arts seems more promising, with a witty and effective piece on the television series Portlandia at the helm.  Delving further, Arts reveals itself to be as sloppy as the rest of the Grape—with a self-promotion article by the Sexual Information Center pasted on the second page (Is this arts?  No, this is not arts.  Buy an ad or run a small column next time.)  Concluding the section is a review of James Blake’s self-titled album, and while the writing is decent, the title prepares readers for a negative review when in fact the interpretation is quite favorable.  The Editors seem to have been asleep on this one.

                Bad Habits is perhaps the most widely read portion of the Grape, and I think they actually get something half-right here.  The snarky tone fits well with the content of public scandal, illicit drug use, and celebrity gossip, and none of the articles here were particularly jarring or painful to read; I even enjoyed several (among them, “Taco Bell: Grade D for Delicious!”)  The horoscopes which end the section are utterly pointless.  I’d rather donate that page to a new-and-improved features section in the future.

                In my opinion, the Opinion section of the Grape shouldn’t even exist.  Isn’t everything they write opinion anyway?  I can’t find a bias-free article in all 28 pages!  The majority of the works here are simply creative experiments—they don’t introduce anything to have an opinion on, or if they do, it’s something not up for much debate.  Articles falling into this category include one on the staying power of Google, another making an unclear point on internet sex predators, a brief stint that rambles off useless/commonly known information about cars, and—the worst of the bunch—an article  about minesweeper which makes a poor (and politically heinous) connection between the game and a soldier in Afghanistan being blown up by a landmine.  Correct me if I’m missing the humor.  The section’s only saving grace is Piper Stull-Lane’s piece, “I ❤ the Female Orgasm”, which points out some serious issues of gender politics surrounding the popular lecture, but his half-page isn’t enough to overshadow the other 7.5 pages of mayhem.

                I’m all for the idea of an alternative paper, because I’m all for the idea of two works of writing being in conversation with one another.  However I can’t stand by this assessment when “alternative” begins to mean sloppy, self-indulgent, and full-of-as-many-bad-words-as-possible because, oooh, we’re alternative, we can cuss and have pictures of naked people now.