The Gray Area: The Final Shade of Gray


BY GRAY WHITSETT – COLUMNIST

We critique, I believe, because we feel. If there is no connection, no emotional investment, there stands no motivation to lift a finger, whether to help or to hurt. Those who don’t bother to care don’t bother to do much of anything.

But I also believe we must consistently doubt it. Framed in such a way, it seems beautiful, and indeed it holds something inherently human, something fundamentally honest, in its own way a truth deserved of affection.

But realistically, a lot of people complain because they enjoy the attention it elicits and the disunion it creates. However, no poetry can justify selfishness.

All this is to say, there are those who cloak their scorn in a delusion of love: incessant disparagement constitutes their adoration. Any indecency can render a man tougher – it takes a particular level of intimacy to make him better.

I say all of this to address a concern I always have in writing this column. When you have a steady writing position, whether it’s rooted in opinion, like mine, or news, or sports, I think you invariably struggle to balance passion, relevance, and interest.

You want to care about what you write, but you never write just for yourself.

Along the way, you have to sustain your personal interest level, as well as the interest level of your readers. While I admittedly doubt my viewership is terribly high, I am always left with a certain anxiety, a concern there that might be that one avid reader who for one reason or another takes a genuine interest in my musings.

How will this person judge this week’s article? What will they conclude of my body of work?

Why do they read it in the first place? Do they agree with what I have to say, or enjoy the steady devolution of my writing?

I don’t say this to present myself as a narcissist; quite the contrary, I always, as best I know how, attempt to factor in the reader: that set of abstract eyes about which we know nothing.

This is my last article in this line of writing, as the Cento’s 2013-2014 year comes to a close.

And with this termination I find myself reflecting on the substance of this year’s work. Without a doubt, there are better topics I might’ve chosen, both for myself and for campus.

Furthermore, the quality of my writing surely could’ve been stronger – when could it not? And certainly my opinions on the matters I chose could have been more astute, more thought out, more holistic.

These are my shortcomings, the shortcomings with which I’m sure each of us could identify. We cannot ignore these, lest we stagnate, so we must internalize such reflections, regardless of their effect on the individual.

I am comfortable with this process.

But the reason I take no issue with my faults in this context is because I believed in what I was writing.

In retrospect, maybe I shouldn’t have on each piece, but while writing each column I put my heart behind every word.

We go to a really great school. It’s not perfect, and though we try our best to believe otherwise, it’s not the best.

But I seriously do buy into what we espouse – a broad-based education that doesn’t just toughen us but aids in our betterment.

And I write about Centre because I care about Centre. Moreover, I care about the individuals who study and work here.

Strip away all the intangible history and heritage, we’re the only players who really matter in this equation. We are the ones who feel, who seek to find enjoyment in life.

And I care about that. It’s something I can do, and I care about doing it.

As I mentioned, this is my last article of this column. I’ve said plenty, so let me just say thank you. I’ve enjoyed writing and I hope you’ve enjoyed reading.

I suppose if we need to end this with some sort of lesson, a cumulative moral here at the finish line, let it simply be that if you believe in what you’re doing, and you believe what you’re doing will lead to the betterment of the world around you, pursue it.

Even a world as small as Centre, I think it’s worth doing.

You will never do anything worth doing without incurring some cost.

If something is worth it to yourself, I think it’s worth caring enough to try it.


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