I love our gowns. Aside from the Vice-Chancellor’s pancake dinner or the post-comp hazing ritual, they’re perhaps Sewanee’s greatest tradition. I’ll freely admit that most, if not all, of my admiration is purely material. Gowns look fabulous, especially when worn while riding a bicycle in windy weather. Little about Sewanee is classier than a black gown billowing behind a student on their three-speed. Yet for all its aesthetic value, the gown is a tradition in need of existential change. By which I mean: we ought to end the practice of gowning as a reward for grades, and we should open the Order of the Gown to all Sewanee students. I want gowns for everyone, from day one of freshman year to the moment of graduation.
On January 7, one day after the riot on Capitol Hill, the FBI arrested Cleveland Grover Meredith, Jr. at a Holiday Inn in Washington, D.C. Meredith, who graduated from Sewanee in 1990, had texted someone that he was thinking about “heading over to Pelosi CUNT’s speech and putting a bullet in her noggin on Live TV.” Though most media outlets don’t mention it, he also threatened to kill D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser. After his arrest, Meredith told police that he had mental health issues and a drug problem. Arguing for pre-trial detention, attorney Michael Sherwin described Meredith as “a clearly disturbed, deranged, and dangerous individual.”
Basically, this is an attempt to produce an explicitly political magazine at the University of the South. In saying “explicitly political,” I’m acknowledging that all writing is technically political. As Orwell put it in his essay “Why I Write,” even the insistence that art ought not to get involved with politics is a political statement. What we want to create with the Spectre is a space for writing that isn’t just political by default. This might be through investigative reporting, satirical essays, political cartoons and journalistic comics, or even more outwardly aesthetic writing like short fiction and poetry. Our only real requirement here is that the material submitted has to have a point: an opinion about reality from a leftist perspective. The point can be as subtle or obvious as you’d like, so long as we’re convinced it’s there.