Serious is Hard

in Editorial & Opinion

By Julius Alexander IV

Writing serious articles is hard. Of the small amount of material I’ve written, it’s all been humorous (hopefully) and I’ve never really attempted an article pertaining to heavy, depressing, or thought-provoking subject matter. And why is that?

Well for starters, even coming up with an idea for a deep and insightful article is difficult. If I want to write about, say, the relative insignificance of the human race in the grand scheme of the universe, well that’s awesome, but is that going to be a topic that strikes a chord with people? Maybe, but that’s probably because it depresses the shit out of them (don’t worry, we’re super important!). For some that topic may be interesting but for many it won’t be as engaging as a humor piece and it also isn’t as readily accessible, because, you know, you have to think about it and stuff. Especially on the internet, where everything is immediately accessible and rejectable, it’s hard to find a topic that will catch the eye, engross the mind, and retain the reader for the article’s entirety.

But let’s say that perfect topic reveals itself: now it has to (or should) be presented in a way that not only pulls the reader in, but also shines new light on the topic, simplifies it, or somehow does something other than rehashing ideas that can be found in hundreds of other places. And that’s hard. There’s basically nothing I can talk about that Kurt Vonnegut hasn’t already talked about and he talked about it a million times better than me. The only solace I find in this fact is that maybe, as a college student, I can present ideas in a way that’s more relatable to other university students and a younger audience. I probably can’t, though, because Vonnegut was a genius and is smarter than me.

However, even if I could, what do I know? I have no authority on anything, much less life, and even if I’m writing something that will almost exclusively be read by students, more than half of that audience is older than me. I only have nineteen years of experience in gathering information about life, the most complex thing we’ll ever be a part of, and most of the people I’m writing for probably know more about it than me. I’m not the best at anything; I’m not the smartest person alive; everything I’ve done, other people have already done. What new thought can I bring to the table?

I have no clue. Maybe I can’t and that’s why I’ve never written a serious article: I think about all of the above and realize that serious is hard as shit. But maybe I can, so I’ll keep giving it a shot and if one day I come up with something that helps just one reader make a little more sense of the world then I’ll consider it a success. In the meantime, go read Kurt Vonnegut: he’s better than me.