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Posts Tagged ‘Binghamton University’

Binghamton’s Four Noble Truths, revisited

In Criticism & Review on May 10, 2012 at 9:14 pm

Thank you Brandon for stirring the pot. He writes:

To clear the air a bit: I don’t think writing needs to serve a higher moral purpose—morality isn’t everything, nor is this my concern. But I think we can agree (without making concessions) that all expression has purpose regardless of the source, scale, how it develops, etc. This includes writing, and this is a contribution to our culture. We huddle around news and networks like digital campfires to discuss this purpose.

The genuineness and thematic tension never develops and I’ll explain why through these four noble truths:

(1) The lead statements and closing remarks are OK and pair like Hansel and Gretel—no major concerns here. The remaining composition, however, vis-à-vis Hansel and Gretel pretends to address the journey and environment. (Next time leave a trail of breadcrumbs for us to follow)

(2) The writer collects vain representations of the Binghamton college experience (e.g. drinking on a budget) ad nauseam and loses the reader. Failure to use literary devices effectively encumbers her rhetoric (e.g. The Hills Have Eyes, 10th paragraph), which is lazy at best. Hemingway is rolling over in his grave and if I find Chekhov’s Gun I’ll join him, earnestly.

(3) The only genuineness and thematic tension I can submit to is limited to Alyssa, herself, and not her writing. The writing is blunt and abstruse, defined by its unbridled pretense, not genuineness. The reader can view Binghamton’s Four Noble Truths as a criticism, bildungsroman, or Fodor’s Travel Guide to Binghamton—it doesn’t matter || you arrive at the same point: travelers with closed minds can tell us little except about themselves (Achebe).

(4) Her voice reaches for understanding concepts like nostalgia and reflexive schadenfreude in an attempt to find meaning as a BU Student but noble truths 1, 2, and 3 get in the way of this. Miss Mercante treats these concepts like petty possessions rather than using them to illustrate her quintessential Binghamton.

You don’t need to agree or disagree with her perspective of Binghamton (this is only one form of measurement). However, I would like to point to a larger issue: SUNY Tunes (BU Kids) and the City struggling to close the relationship gap, which is an issue of consciousness. When you don’t allow people to participate in social ways, they behave in anti-social ways.

I am from Long Island
I am from Binghamton University
I am great friends with people you call creatures
And they don’t hate me because I’m not an asshole,
And I don’t shit where I eat.

I have high standards for Binghamton University senior English majors, who supposedly possess intimate knowledge of the human experience. What is your expectation?

For more on this discussion:

Anthony Fiore writes there’s more out there than State Street, from May 4th 2012.

Here is my original post: BFNT Response.


Binghamton’s Four Noble Truths Response

In Criticism & Review on May 9, 2012 at 11:46 pm

Binghamton’s Four Noble Truths, the way I lived them was published yesterday, May 8th, at There’s a lot of local traffic targeting this post. Some love it, and some hate it. Read the article here–it’s a quick read. Below is my take.

A callow criticism of a culture that is misunderstood, and a coming of age story, that lacks merit as well as insight, to grok one’s place in the grand scheme of things. I’m a strong advocate for free expression in the j-world but I’m appalled the Pipe Dream approved this article mostly because I’m unsure what the message is and what is trying to be accomplished.

Hello Alyssa–this isn’t an attack. I’ve learned to find value and understanding in a contradiction, not stress or pressure. It’s important to step back and consider her perspective. But I don’t understand what Alyssa’s perspective is which leads me to consider this a “rant”. You’re waiting for the words to coalesce but this never comes.

Alyssa’s take on Binghamton and the university, and social media appears foul from the lack of clarity. You could say her writing is as cloudy as the Binghamton skies (and as banal as this simile). When her prose needs to flourish or thrust through it doesn’t. The article leaves the reader with a bad taste in their mouth.

Greek Life: The Commodification of Student Rights

In Criticism & Review on May 2, 2012 at 3:56 pm

The benevolent ‘Greek’ hand and academia aside, Josh’s main point—being a force for good–sticks to the wall, but this issue is a moral quandary, [concerning policy and process], the University needs to take a firm stance on, regardless. They can’t view this case in terms of pluses and minuses.

Somewhere in the middle I lose interest because of the article’s vagueness and limp dissection (e.g. “Yes, some organizations on this campus haze” and “some of the things that happen during pledging are disgusting…”). It’s public knowledge this happens, and we’ve admitted it. Greek needs to move past this. Apparently we can’t judge fraternities all we want–these blanket ‘statements’ are judgements.

I think Greek Life, in an attempt to be diplomatic, tainted the perception and the presentation of Greek Life. What was our strategy in addressing the University’s claims? How are we getting involved? And how will we create our own future? These are not new issues. It’s a current problem the Internet faces: people want their rights and organizations to be ‘free’ but they aren’t fighting for them. Instead, we keep new policy in check when censorship or Big Brother steps in. This is lax; it’s time to be proactive.

I’m unsure if Greeks should be upset others slander our name—what have we done to change this? Students and Binghamton University know we are philanthropic and academic statistics support themselves, but this isn’t the particular strain of our identity that is in question. Binghamton University asks for transparency as a call to action, but this should be a requirement by all if we play ball. The common Greek is left in the dark, submissive to the IFC and BU. We need representation that is going to be transparent. The slogans–that fraternities pawn off especially–like ‘All for One’ is a critical example. It’s best to marshal all your resources and act as one. All Greeks should know everything about this issue and should be involved. It’s time to step up, IFC.