I probably sound ridiculous, but The Famous Hoya column is not an anonymous endeavor. All of you know who I am and all of you know to whom I allude in my writing. For example, if I write something scathing about my housemates, you all know which guys on campus live like pigs and smell bad. Or if I say that I’d like to run over my ex-girlfriends with a bus, you know which girls should be a little more careful the next time they cross the street. The nature of my audience, ultimately, removes any sort of personal insulation that I might have in writing this. There are no secrets here — just me, you and the people I despise. And we are all well acquainted. With that in mind, it is with some hesitation and even more outright reserve that I engage in these weekly attacks on people in my life. For not only do these people know who they are, but, more often than not, you do too. And that changes my column as a medium for subtle revenge from a semi-private mention of displeasure to a grossly public spectacle — the airing of my dirty laundry, and everyone knows who soiled the sheets. Not that it’s completely obvious. You can always find yourself asking “which housemate?” or “what ex-girlfriend?” But my point here is made. Georgetown isn’t big enough for me to have autobiographical truth in my column without at the same time providing intrusive insight into my life and the lives of others. For just those reasons I have restrained myself from altering my column and turning it into a very public forum to openly assail those whom I dislike. Instead it remains a clever but vague forum for self-aggrandizing rants. Ironically, it is the personal relationship I have with all Hoya readers that keeps me from truly being personal. And that’s too bad. Because there are some people on this campus — housemates, exes, freshmen, you — who could really use the public flogging that only a column of this nature could provide. But I’m kept from critiquing these people, for not only would they draw the inexorable connection to themselves (which would be the point), but you would too (which would be bad). For in the lost anonymity of my public critiques, constructive criticism that I hope to provide for them becomes nothing more than the petty personal attacks of an arrogant and overly public bastard. In theory, you would know that someone is pissing me off and what they’re doing, and they would know it’s them and react accordingly. But you wouldn’t know exactly who it is, and that distinction is key in keeping my amusing commentary and their helpful advice from becoming overly personal and inappropriately public. Essentially, I can know, they can know, but you really can’t. Without that tenuous separation — one that I have toyed with on occasion here — the purpose is lost and the sacred distance I like to think this column has between reader and writer, journalism and life, crumbles. In the end, these self-imposed and in some way culturally mandated restrictions reduce the therapeutic usefulness of this column for me and sap the Springer-esque entertainment value for you. Although friends can know you’re complaining in therapy, they shouldn’t really know what you’re saying. And “You are the Son of Satan” is a bad Jerry Springer episode (and entirely ineffective in the promotion of Christianity) if one of your classmates is on it. Finally, and perhaps most unfortunately, this column’s potential as a tool of self-improvement is lost, as many people who could really use a talking to don’t get it on these pages. So thank Georgetown’s elusive sense of small-town community for keeping me from really airing my dirty laundry here and making this university a better place. Of course, it’s probably more the fault of the “small-town” aspect than I can really pretend to blame it on something like our elusive sense of “community.” Regardless, the result is the same: rampant subtlety by myself on some topics and outright avoidance of others. That’s really all I can do in a setting where there isn’t appropriate distance between author and reader to keep you from one day looking over and realizing that the object of last Friday’s tirade is sitting next to you in class. y messy housemate sitting next to you probably agrees. Columnist’s note: Due to overwhelming interest, the deadline for entry in the “Win a Date with the Famous Hoya Columnist Contest” has been extended until next Friday, October 30. A Famous Hoya Columnist appears Fridays in The Hoya.

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