By Tommy Gagliano
Last year, before I was Editor-in-Chief of this wonderful paper, I served as the Review’s Social Media Shitposter. (Yes, that was my official title.) While most of my job consisted of uploading articles to our website and sharing them on Facebook and Twitter, I did get a few breaks from the mundane when people would send online “fan mail” our way. Most of these fans just called us fascists or virgins or something like that, but there were some more creative insults in there as well that I actually enjoyed quite a bit. I took it upon myself to compile a list of these wonderful comments, and our staff read them in a video on our YouTube channel that you should totally subscribe to.
There have, of course, been more “mean Tweets” since that video was uploaded that have not been addressed. The award for “most hilarious” goes to @patington_bear, who unleashed a whole chain of tweets on April 12th, 2019. While a few months have passed, I just find their comments way too interesting to leave without a response. (I know the singular “their” is not grammatically correct; I apologize, I’m just using the preferred pronouns that they have explicitly stated in their Twitter bio.) So I will be taking this opportunity now to discuss them.
The Binghamton Review idolizer, who does not have their name listed on their Twitter account, starts off by pointing out that, at the time of their tweet, the official Binghamton University Twitter account followed us, but not the Free Press Twitter account. They also refer to Binghamton Review as the “alt right publication on campus,” and Free Press as a liberal publication. This is incorrect in a number of ways. First of all, Binghamton Review is a non-partisan paper. We do not have any official stance on any issues, we do not support or endorse any political parties or candidates, and the political views of our writers different pretty significantly from person to person. In fact, last year we had a staff writer named Jordan Jardine that wrote from his perspective as an anarcho-communist almost every issue, producing pieces where he advocated for giving houses to homeless people (“Abandoned Housing, Abandoned People”), or explained how it is flawed to use Venezuela as an example of failed socialism (“Venezuela: Not True Socialism”). We also do not have a single writer this year who identifies as “alt-right,” nor did we last year. Additionally, Free Press is not a “liberal publication.” I haven’t read everything they’ve published, but I try to read their new issues whenever they put them out, and from what I’ve noticed their writers rarely get political. They seem to focus much more on art, culture, poetry, that kind of stuff. Referring to us as “alt-right” and Free Press as “liberal” is not only an oversimplification, it’s just blatantly untrue.
In this first tweet, the self-described “Cuckold wearing clown shoes” also describes Free Press as “a group bing has forced to share an office with the review.” Binghamton Review has been around way longer than Free Press has, and called UUWB05 home before Free Press moved in. Free Press wasn’t forced to share an office with the Review, the Review was forced to share their office with Free Press. I speak in the past tense because, after reporting us to the police for having dogs in the office (after they pet the dogs themselves), among who knows how many other attempts to have us kicked out, Free Press has finally gotten their wish. We have a new office this year.
Our biggest fan, who insists in their Twitter name that they aren’t sleepy, goes on to say that the reason it’s interesting that the Binghamton University Twitter account follows us and not Free Press is because we “consistently puslishes [sic] hateful/dangerous content to the point that there have been multiple occasions when student groups came together to protest the paper and were ignored by the school. Bing AGAIN is supporting a hate group.” I’ve read this three times now, and I have literally laughed out loud all three times. I especially like how they wrote “hateful/dangerous” as if those two things are in any way synonymous. Have we published hateful things? I don’t know. Maybe. “Hateful” is a subjective term I suppose. I’m sure if one was to look deep enough into our past there are probably some things that we’ve published that I myself would consider “hateful.” There definitely isn’t anything we’ve published this year or last year that could be deemed hateful by any fair definition of the word, though. “Dangerous” is a completely different term, one that is really funny to see in this context. I can’t help but imagine our team of writers running down the spine, aggressively shouting about politics while throwing pencils at other students. Merriam-Webster defines “dangerous” as “1: involving possible injury, pain, harm, or loss.” or “2: able or likely to inflict injury or harm.” Words printed on a piece of paper cannot cause injury, pain, harm, or loss. Words cannot inflict injury or harm. Words are not dangerous.
The second part of that statement, that “Bing AGAIN is supporting a hate group” is also pretty funny. It shows a complete lack of understanding of laws and of the Constitution, at least. It would not only be immoral for Binghamton University to shut us down, it would be highly illegal. Binghamton University is a public university, which means that the first amendment applies on campus. The SA also can’t kick us out; that would be in direct violation of their own contract. Additionally, a college shutting down a paper simply because a small handful of students are too fragile to accept that some people have different opinions than them is completely antithetical to what it means to be a university, and would destroy Binghamton’s reputation and legitimacy. “Congress shall make no law… abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble…”
Tweet three: “in my three years at this school, it has felt like there has been constant action against bing as an institution and the ways it ignores the complaints, wishes, needs, and rights of minority students, coupled with accommodation of the review. Stop. Supporting. Them.” The irony here is that we are minority students. When they say “minorities” they are obviously talking about race, religion, and sexual orientation (and women get thrown in there somehow too even though women are the majority in the United States), and we have a good number of members that fit into those categories. More importantly, though, Binghamton Review represents minority opinions. It is a place for people to share thoughts that may be unpopular on campus. Thoughts that they may be afraid to share elsewhere, due to fear of being unfairly graded by a professor, of losing friends, or of being called names. In this tweet @patington_bear claims Binghamton University is ignoring the rights of minority students, while simultaneously calling for the university to strip minority students of their first amendment rights.
They finish up their final tweet of their initial tweet chain by telling Binghamton University “Protect your students, this is disgraceful.” Yeah Harvey Stenger, do a better job protecting students from the ink on paper that’s going around attacking everyone.
But wait! There’s more! Approximately four hours after the initial Tweet chain, @patington_bear tweeted a follow-up. The Binghamton University Twitter account had followed Free Press, but @patington_bear wasn’t satisfied. “Bing needs to condemn the hateful and harmful publication that is the review.” they stated. Ah, another word that doesn’t mean what they think it means. “Harmful” isn’t as far off the mark as “dangerous” I suppose, but it’s still a laughable way to describe a magazine.
They go on to say that Binghamton Review is funded by ads, which is just factually incorrect. Binghamton Review receives its funding from a number of sources, including the SA, (That’s right, your tuition is directly paying for our operational and printing costs!) but advertising is not one of them. This statement is a dead giveaway that @patington_bear has never actually read the paper that they are so vehemently opposed to. If they had opened any of the issues from the school year this was tweeted, they would not have seen a single ad, other than the occasional one for the High Hopes Helpline, which we include for free because suicide prevention is important.
The next tweet starts out with the sentence “This isn’t about me not liking what the review stands for,” which is a joke, because that is exactly what this is about. Regardless of how they try to frame it, or the accusations they throw at us, the tweet chain is quite literally about them not liking what we stand for, and telling the university to do something about it. They then say that BU is condoning our views by not saying anything, which is stupid, because Binghamton Review as an organization does not have any views, and Binghamton University also does not have political views. Ignoring something is also in no way the same as supporting it. I ignore a lot of the stupid shit that is said in my Political Science classes all the time, that doesn’t mean I agree with it.
The cuckold that definitely isn’t sleepy wraps things up accusing us of making fun of rape victims (which we never did, obviously), then repeating more of the same bullshit about how we’re hateful and dangerous.
The reason I’m addressing this tweet chain isn’t because it upset me. I was being sincere in the introduction when I said I thought it was hilarious. I’m addressing it because there is a lot of misinformation and misconceptions out there about who we are, and what we do. I’m aware that I’m never going to change the mind of the author of those tweets, or anyone else that has it set in their mind that we’re evil, but hopefully this piece was beneficial to those that appreciate nuance and honesty. Here’s your 15 minutes of fame, @patington_bear. Enjoy it. Maybe also take the time to read some of our other articles while you’re here, maybe you’ll understand a bit more about what this “dangerous” paper is actually about.