PrinceWatch is back! For years the Daily Princetonian has been running bizarre and often incomprehensible features on facets of campus life that are of interest only to drooling alums and university administrators who like to see their names in print. We at PrinceWatch hope to bring to light the most egregiously offensive examples of Prince pseudo-journalism in the hopes that one day the Daily Princetonian will give itself a long hard look in the mirror and close its doors for good. Right.
“NIU tragedy hits home for students”
By Josephine Wolff
February 18, 2008
Amazing revelation, we have students from Chicago! Some of them even have family members who are considering Northern Illinois University as a safety school. “I know a few students at NIU,” Chicago resident Liz Dengel ’10 said. “But what drives it home for me is that it’s my little brother’s safety school for next year.” Well thank God he’s smart enough that he probably won’t be going, according to the article. Even if you were insensitive or foolish enough to say that, why on Earth would drive a newspaper to print it? We can’t blame Liz, though. Thanks to persistent Prince misquoting, it’s probably not what she intended to say anyway.
“Borough to fight moth problem”
by Mendy Fisch
February 13, 2008
Every couple of the years the Prince runs a gang violence scare piece in the hopes of one day achieving the journalistic greatest of the 5 o’clock evening local news in Topeka, KS (no offense to Topeka, they’re not nearly there yet). This month, however, the Prince tried a slightly different tactic by covering the wrangling of the Borough Council over the weighty issue of moth extermination. Three hundred thirty-seven words were wasted on this bullshit. Readers who did not abandon their copies of the Prince to tear up their property tax papers found tucked at the bottom of the article an unrelated discussion of the council’s pending pay raise. “[Borough Administrator] Bruschi’s maximum annual salary r[aise] from $136,500 to $150,500” did not strike the Prince writer as at all strange, even after what had to be the longest and most detailed discussion of moths and moth issues outside of Guyot.
“Big words, small ideas”
By Angela Bardes
October 9, 2007–yeah, old. But it begs re-examination.
Look. Obviously Princeton has enough sports teams, mega-departments, and faceless economics lectures to support its fair share of idiots, but apparently it takes one to know one, or at least to write about one in the Prince. Bardes is reasonable in her assessment of her classmates as showoffs and fools, but she would do well not to pick on those who, “lead discussion and consistently use big words and complex sentences.” Just because the Prince has rules about avoiding complex sentences wherever their rear their confusing heads, does not mean that one of the greatest universities in the world has to as well. Contrary to her claim, “tautology” does not mean “repetition.” Also replacing the word “dichotomy” with a simple “divide” will, more times than not render the sentence bland if not meaningless. By her own admission, the author does not like abstract ideas.
Well here’s a concrete suggestion. The next time you want to cite examples of clear, uncluttered English, reach for Hemingway, don’t write your own useless lexicon. And remember: Even Ernest admired Faulkner, his complex sentences notwithstanding.
“Facebook frustrates student’s efforts to quit”
By Anastasia Erbe
February 13, 2008
Yes, we are familiar with the Prince’s frequent comma splices, improper semicolons, sentence fragments, and profoundly obnoxious habit of creating unrecognizable acronyms. We are also accustomed to the strange odor that permeates Christendom every time a copy edited unnecessarily capitalizes the word “university” for no obvious reason. Plagiarism, however, is a new low. The New York Times ran this story two days earlier under the title, “How Sticky Is Membership on Facebook? Just Try Breaking Free.” The only reference to the Times article offered in the piece is in the context of quote lifted their from their reporting:
“It’s like the Hotel California,” Nipon Das, a director at a biotechnology consulting firm in Manhattan, told The New York Times. “You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.” The shocking thing is that the citation itself is a kind of plagiarism. The phrase “a director at a biotechnology consulting firm in Manhattan” is lifted from the Times article without any mention of the article itself. “Told the New York Times,” does convey the full sense of the problem here. The whole article is based on the same idea, the same premise. To add to the pathos, the same day the Prince ran its rip-off, the Times toted the significance of its earlier story with the headline, “Quitting Facebook Gets Easier.” Way to go Prince—no integrity!—and still so wrong.
AND THE GRAND PRIZE WINNER, FOR SHEER IRRELEVANCE
“A rolling wheel gathers attention”
By Sarah Pease-Kerr
Secember 7, 2007
We have it on good authority that several Prince writers threatened to tender their resignation when this little beauty came off the presses. Dominating the front page: Some freshman in a safety helmet and padding sufficient for goal tending in the NHL. His deal: He has a unicycle. “He does look quite funny,” confirms another random freshman. A fellow unicycle enthusiast in the sophomore class sagely notes that he rides better now than he did when he first started riding. Quelle profond. If you are wondering how he turns the pedals (hint he moves his feet in a circular motion), just visit: www.i_am_an_idiot.com