Letter to the Editor

SIR: The Phillipan’s “Commentary” section is a very peculiar thing. One might think that the “Commentary” section of a secondary school newspaper would be mostly comprised of mildly important, and certainly uninteresting school-related comments. Usually, however, the topics discussed in Commentary tend to deal with politics rather than with the Academy itself. Although I certainly appreciate this opportunity to flex my satirical muscles, I have to say I don’t see the point. Mind you, I am just as guilty as any other Phillipian writer of leaning towards this tendency. Still, who wants to read about my thoughts on President Bush? Does this writer’s opinion on global politics really have any bearing? Or perhaps the real question is, are the political opinions of students at this school worthy of being printed? The obvious answer is no. While we are certainly a very bright group of teenagers, we are just that: teenagers. We are not yet fit to contribute to the political discussion- which is why we are still in high school and, for the majority of us, unable to cast a ballot in the elections. It is an excellent exercise for a teenager to consider and analyze politics, but why should it be printed? It seems the only person who stands to gain in this event is the writer, who attains experience and a somewhat false sense of sophistication. We have not even been on this earth for twenty years, and already we are publishing our political views. Of course, it’s not a crime to publish filth; many newspapers do it everyday, but isn’t it a waste of paper? So, if not politics, what should fill the pages of Commentary? Andover is not the type of school where students are content sounding stupid or inconsequential, so it would be foolish to expect Commentary writers to solely talk about school related issues. After all, an entire page of students complaining about Commons’ food, day student parking, and All-School Meeting would be quite trivial. Commentary writers have tried to model this section of the newspaper after the sophisticated and intellectual editorials which we read in professional papers such as the New York Times (perhaps the reason for the liberal tendencies of our writers). And, if I might say so, I think we’ve done a pretty reasonable job to that effort. Between the satirical cartoons, and the “point-counterpoint” discussions, the Phillipian’s Commentary section has become rather refined. However, despite this façade of sophistication, Commentary is still just a collection of premature political ideas. I don’t like to dismiss Commentary. In fact, I very much enjoy having my political thoughts published, but I know they aren’t always worthy of the reader’s attention. Commentary will always be an awkward, but necessary section of The Phillipian. It is an excellent space for students to express their ideas, whatever subject they may pertain to. However, if someone wants to read about politics, I recommend that he first read the opinions of professionals. But for interesting insights into life on Academy Hill, there is no better place to turn than these very pages. — James Sawabini ’08