The Miseducation of Fox Mulder
I remember seeing in the Vernacular many issues ago a quote by, I believe, George
Orwell which claimed that all writers are "vain, selfish and lazy". It was upon sorting
out my room the other day, and coming across that old Vernacular which sent me right
down memory lane to that particularly poignant quote. Upon rumination, I
remembered the very first article I wrote.
I think it was in 1997, and had something to do with The X-Files. At that time so imbued
was I with the show that I practically ate, lived, breathed and drank it; I knew the
iconoclastic quips that characterize both Mulder and Scully by heart. My God, I even
remember claiming that I wish I were like Mulder because he exuded a sincerity that I
wish I could even dream of. However, times change, and three years later, I think I
have changed accordingly. Reality bites, and I have come to realize that The X-Files is
no longer the staple of my life's diet as it used to be. As a Senior second, I realize that I
thankfully have other preoccupations. It is not for a want of trying to remember the
life's lessons that I obtained from watching the hit show, but realistically speaking, I,
like many other seniors, have no choice but to face the inexorable road to graduation.
Although that prospect admittedly fills me with some trepidation, I must undoubtedly
face the inevitable and - dare I say use an X-File term - fight the future.
Unfortunately, this preparation for the so-called real world is making me forget the
writing that I so used to enjoy doing for this publication. Although I never was a
member of staff per se, I remember the regularity with which I used to contribute
articles - and yes - it did feel good. I felt a certain glow seeing my name in print. The
Vernacular in my eyes was a way of expressing some of my maverick ideas without
fear of persecution. It was perfect, because readership was limited, and - the best
thing - no one really took it that seriously. Perhaps that was the problem.
There is no denying the quality that the now-graduated (and much misjudged) David,
and Dominique as editors strove to infuse to the publication. Their predecessors
equally did a good job, even when faced with the problem of trying to reanimate VeCo
public opinion by firing it up with provocative themes such as the identity of the
scatological-minded Lone Ranger, and more seriously, issues with administration.
However, I personally never got the impression that people really took the themes that
seriously enough - I included. I remember former VSG Prez Bas Martijnse for example
writing about apathy and yours truly, following suit. At the time, I was free to criticize
this same apathy, whilst remaining apathetic towards many other things. For starters,
I neither seriously joined clubs nor really participated in the late night events. Yet, I
enjoyed seeing my names in print, and committed intellectual suicide by claiming that
we are all evil by nature.
Now that I think I am more mature, I realize how very easy it is to put pen to paper and
either ramble or pontificate over issues. Orwell was perhaps right - that there is
something fundamentally vain about those who write: they like to save the world, but
know deep down that the impact of what they are writing is so small that they might
as well try to do their level best today to get people's attention. Moreover, they are
selfish too; they want to see their name in print so they try to find a clever way of
going about their writing so that people will think what wonderfully stylistic writers
they are. Perhaps they are accordingly lazy, because writing, they find, is less risky
than going out to do something positive about whatever they are writing. It is so much
easier to play armchair strategist than, say, stand in the streets of Seattle and
demonstrate, or even stand outside Nato and show support to the protesters by also
shouting no to war in Kosovo.
This ultimately begs the question of why anyone should write articles if most of us
epitomize Orwell's candid description. I feel it would be foolhardy not to. After all, the
committed individual, so they say, is a source of action, and if writing can help
engender an interest in someone somewhere, then what is the harm in that? The
paradox of this short article is that, yes, I have demonstrated that I love to see my
name in print, and yes, I have admitted that I may be vain, selfish and lazy - but Orwell
-- let's lay it out straight -- just this once.