Column: The weeks end

By Gus Bode

This will be the last.

After four semesters of voicing my opinion on a weekly basis, my career as a college columnist is now ending. On Saturday I graduate and move on to the next stage of my life, leaving behind my ability to throw 600 carefully or poorly crafted words to an audience of some 20,000.

I’m sure there are plenty of Carbondale residents who are happy, or won’t even notice, that The Weekly Wenger will no longer appear. Hopefully, a few individuals with high intellects and good taste in writing will lament my passing, but I’m not holding my breath.


I thought a lot about what I wanted my final words, my final message to the community, to entail. I’ve covered plenty of topics over the course of four semesters including the growing obesity epidemic in America, taxes, gardening, personal responsibility and of course the colossal waste of money that is Saluki Way.

The endless parade of corruption and general ineptitude showcased by the university administration has also made for good writing. As I often tell people, SIUC is kind of a crappy university, but it sure makes for a good paper.

But if I had to think of one final message to leave with people, it would be the importance of learning how to communicate.

Communication is a dying art in the United States, if not the rest of the world. Some blame the ever-growing depersonalization of talking. People text rather than call, or they have online conversations instead of real life ones.

What this has led to is more people who struggle with how to express themselves in their personal relationships or even in broader aspects of education or work. A person comfortable with public speaking is a great find for most companies, and the more confidence someone has the more their earning potential.

More specifically, our country can’t seem to sit down and talk without shouting at each other. The political arena is no longer a place where divergent philosophies are discussed and examined; rather it is merely a battleground where no middle can ever be found.

Idiots make their way into national exposure by refusing to cede to any viewpoint the least bit different from theirs. Their words poison the minds of those that hear them, leading to national divisiveness. Both political sides are in the wrong here. Both have pundits who can only shout while dribble flies from their lips when maybe they should just listen.


The most important thing we can do as citizens and human beings is learn to talk again. We should always strive to understand why other people do, think or say what they do. Do you have to agree? No. But you should always listen.

Learning to listen, understand, express and compromise are the keys to progress, to moving forward. Being too right-winged or too left-winged only leads to flying in circles.

Learn to research from reliable sources. Learn to balance your information intake. For every hour of Fox News you watch, listen to an hour of National Public Radio. Learn to talk without shouting, and to let other people do the same.

That is my last message, the most important I can think that the community and nation needs.

Oh, and for those of you unfamiliar with satire, my Illuminati column last week was a joke.

Wenger is a senior studying journalism and Spanish.