Carolinian – Speakeasy
Issue: 2/4/02

Out of My Head: Bad Blood
By Joe Wilbur

Been thinking a lot about “bad blood” lately. The term kept cropping up this week.

It all started when SGA president LaToya Tate came to the office. She said that with the start of the new semester she hoped we could lay to rest the “bad blood” between the Carolinian and SGA.

“What bad blood would that be, Joe?”

I’m glad you asked, my pretties…

Until last semester the Carolinian was such a horrid, disorganized rag it didn’t even bother covering the SGA. Without any media attention – and hence no attention from the student body at large – the SGA was free to…well, do nothing. And that’s just what it did.

Last semester the Carolinian pulled its head out of its ass and started attending SGA meetings. We reported and commented on what happened there – when anything happened. The campus went crazy with disgust. Legions of dissatisfied students came to meetings, accosted SGA delegates and flooded the office with letters to the editor.

Consequently the SGA began to snipe at the Carolinian; ridicule it in meetings, accuse it of inaccuracy and even engineer a campaign to paint it as racist. Bad blood may be too weak a term for this sort of ill conceived guerilla warfare – and in the end it came back to bite them in all their tenderest spots, making them look like petty fools and incompetents.

“Water under the bridge,” I told LaToya.

With that behind me I soon found myself face to face with a frat brother who wanted to write a weekly “Fraternity News” column.

“I didn’t want to come out and say this,” said the frat brother. “But I thought that the column could sort of help put an end to the bad blood between the paper and fraternities.”

Now – in case any of you missed last semester’s surreal little trip, here’s how it all went down:

A frat circulated a flyer advertising wings night at Hooters and a party at the N-Club beneath the banner “Building Better Men” AND had the nerve to call itself “UNCG’s Greatest Tradition.”

I called them out for the counterproductive, stereotypical bastards that they were being and every Greek on campus came down on the Carolinian. Threats were made. My car windows were broken. It got crazy.

“Give me a writing sample and some column ideas,” I told the frat brother and sent him on his way.

Now – MY paper was maligned and attacked for doing its job. MY car windows were broken when I expressed an opinion. So why is it that I don’t feel as though there’s any bad blood between the Carolinian and all these people coming to me with offers of reconciliation?

When I learned to box a huge ex Marine knocked me around a lot and told me it would help me in the end. One of the things it taught me was that you can’t swing back in anger every time you’re hit – it’s petty and it wears you out in the end.

That’s one reason the Carolinian doesn’t bother thinking about “bad blood” – if we tried to take out every person or group who took a shot at us we’d wear ourselves out in the first round. Swinging wildly on the Greek System, the University Book Store or the SGA doesn’t interest us because, quite frankly, we’ve got better things to do.

We love to shed light on the whispered dirty dealings no one’s supposed to hear about and our columnists sometimes take verbal switchblades to whoever they feel most deserves it that week – but it’s never personal.

A community newspaper has to be many things – a place for its readers to feel drawn together, to come upon common information, to be informed, educated and entertained. But a newspaper has another, less pleasant responsibility – and that’s to kick stagnant or misbehaving people or organizations in the ass. Repeatedly. The Carolinian has been working overtime in this department – with a heavy pair of black, steel toed boots. And thank God we have.

While we’ve gotten a lot of flack in the last semester we did accomplish a few little things:

1) When every other paper in the state stopped at the surface of a story about two students arrested for prostitution, The Carolinian went deeper to uncover a string of police lies and alleged strongarming, including the revelation that police broke into the private e-mail accounts of two UNCG students on the strength of an anonymous tip.

2) When almost every student organization on campus wanted to ignore the fact that Anthony Harvath is facing felony charges for being a homosexual The Carolinian took a stand and urged other groups to do the same – which eventually led to this week’s unanimous decision by the SGA to condemn the discriminatory “Crimes Against Nature” law.

3) Through constant needling and a few swift kicks we’ve essentially FORCED the SGA to recognize how ineffective they are and DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.

Bad Blood and The Carolinian? Nah. We just want to say to this campus and to every group we’ve rubbed the wrong way in the last year: “Thank you…and you’re welcome.”

This column is over. Your move.