Temporary permanence

By Kris Kotarski

The December 5 issue of the Gauntlet will be on the stands for five weeks. That means the last editorial of 2003 can’t discuss Iraq, Ralph Klein, Paul Martin or Harvey Weingarten. Ralph, Paul and Harvey will still be there in 2003, but who knows what crazy mischief they’ll get up to? And Iraq? We can’t even say there will be an Iraq in five weeks.

We have to stay current–or vague. We have to matter as much on Jan. 12 as we do on Dec. 5. Now, as you may well imagine, this poses some interesting challenges. CD reviews are great, but even TLFs become outdated. And think about news or sports, or opinions. It is hard to write about current events when your forum fades into blissful oblivion for five weeks.

All this talk of stale newsprint is depressing to our news hounds, but the situation does offer some stunning advantages. For one, it made me think about the things that really matter. I’ve never been a fan of university politics because there is no permanence attached to the issues. The province makes cuts, the university makes cuts, the students complain. It happens every year, and names like Weingarten or Klein or Stambaugh are just the latest in a long line attached to these problems.

Sports and entertainment suffer from this disease as well. The Dinos either win or lose, the Flames lose, and there’s a production of this play at that theatre. It’s all useful information for a few days, maybe even a week, but eventually it all inevitably fades away.

So where is the permanence? I think it’s in nature. It’s in people and in places, but not in issues or conflicts or dates. National Geographic is my favourite publication because its focus is permanence. I read a feature in the August 1986 issue about scientists (adventurers?) who recreated a voyage in the footsteps of Homer’s mythical characters. It was written when I was five years old; I read it when I was twenty.

In our case, at least we got the cover right. Adam Berti’s photo will remain beautiful for five weeks, even as the relevance of the Gauntlet fades away. All in all, not bad for student journalists. For once, we did something that’ll last.

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