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Viewpoint: Learning from Karlos Marks

BY MELANIE KRUVELIS

Published March 31, 2011

I hate the Every Three Weekly. I hate that it’s funnier than me. I hate that, unlike other prestigious newspapers, students actually read it. I hate that it’ll probably ridicule me for this introduction that seems oddly reminiscent of that one Julia Stiles movie that’s not about dancing and crying. And I really hate that roughly every 21 days, I can find my roommate collapsed in a bean bag, gushing about how great it is that we have “real publications” like the E3W on campus. And Pizza Rolls. Sigh.

But as Socrates once told Euthyphro, every once in a while you have to give props to those who get it right, even if they destroy your self-esteem with consistently better humor writing. So here it is: E3W — kudos for the Karlos Marks campaign. You did the damn thing.

The idea, in case you somehow missed the Michigan Student Assembly elections — I don’t know, maybe you were too busy doing work, having a social life, perhaps sorting your button collection or anything really — the concept was simple. Satire magazine on campus began campaigns for Karlos Marks. Marks got second in the presidential election — earning more votes than the Defend Affirmative Action Party’s candidates — won representative seats in MSA and earned a spot on the Department of Public Safety Oversight Committee.

Marks, however, won’t be taking these seats next fall. Why not? As MSA members pointed out, made-up people cannot hold a public office. Bravo.

What people are really upset about — wait, is anyone actually upset? Huh. Well, what people should be concerned about — ok, ok, what people should kind of pay attention to is the fact that a fake person beat out real, live candidates. And rightfully so — it looks like MSA is calling for another crusade against imaginary people. Both me and my pal Norton are worried; who are actuarial math majors going to talk to now? But my editor wants a sophisticated analysis of student apathy and the lack of faith in this school’s governing bodies, and apparently a narrative with my imaginary duck is not the best way to make the point.

Sorry, Norton.

Anyways, onto the whole doubting MSA thing. As it turns out, humor magazines on this campus can do more than make poop jokes relevant for 20-somethings. Regardless of their intentions, staff members of the Every Three Weekly made student elections more relevant than they’ve ever been — which is to say, almost not entirely pointless. Even if Karlos Marks was nothing more than a homage to Carlos Mencia by means of a Santa Claus look-a-like, Marks’s popularity made it clear: Beards are in again. Holla. And also students don’t trust MSA.

Perhaps distrust isn’t exactly the right word — after all, why would anyone distrust an organization that takes in more than $500,000 of students’ money and then spends meetings passing resolutions on funding for new judicial robes? Which I totally understand, by the way — I was also disappointed when college wasn’t just like Hogwarts. No, no — frankly, students just don’t give a damn about MSA. Despite the overwhelming popularity of fun events like last November’s Flu Day, MSA just can’t seem to connect with students. Which is why every year, candidates have to try to get people to care that their campaigns are all about getting people to care. And, of course, getting Nimbus 2000s.

Maybe MSA should take Marks's win as a sign. A sign that next semester, maybe they really should try to connect with more than just the Quidditch Team. And though I’m pretty indifferent about it, Norton seems to think students should stop being so apathetic. Yes, it’s painful to log on to the website and vote — you might not be the first one to re-blog the latest picture of Paula Deen riding Snooki on Tumblr — but you are paying MSA more than seven bucks a semester. Might as well try to get something out of them.

Anyways, I think I’ll end this here — gotta go burn every copy of E3W on campus. I’m funny too, dammit.

Melanie Kruvelis is an LSA freshman.