Monday, February 28, 2011

Email Shmemail

Wabash students recently noted the first official email war of the semester. This discourse through a chain of all-campus emails is the text I wish to explore. Students often consider email wars to signify the maturity of the campus because few other Colleges give their students the authority to send an all-campus email at any time. Mere participation can signify how unique Wabash is in its desire for its students to participate in productive civic discourse.
But a post-structuralist must remember that Wabash College is not a single-minded entity that wishes anything, and the email wars it appears to sponsor do not exist suspended in objectivity. Any meaning behind email wars is created through each subjective viewpoint of its participants and observers. Some students face matters of dire importance to them while others subvert them with the idea that email wars are a playground for comedic wit and criticism. Yet these all are subverted by an outsider’s possible opinion that Wabash’s email wars (and its close-knit atmosphere in general) signify students’ desires for attention. Attempting to be “big fish in a little pond,” perhaps students who subvert the importance of the original email’s topic are turned into signifiers of ostentation. In this way there is no single sign because the signified is always subjectively interpreted differently from different perspectives.

1 comment:

  1. Wow! Excellent analysis. I particularly agree with the position that the subversion of the real issue within the email shows their desire to be a "big fish in a little pond." I think that this is interesting, particularly because often the ones participating in this subversion are often athletes that have a lot of pull on certain athletic teams. No names, obviously, but the inevitable turn to signifiers of ostentation is interesting.