DAVIDSON, N.C.— This morning Brandon Borstein woke up on the right side of the bed—for the first time in his life. Or at least that’s how he phrased it in a recent roundtable discussion designed to raise awareness of digital harassment on campus.
“I was part of the problem,” said Borstein, a junior from Okeedokee, Kansas. “I would go on Yik Yak three, four times a day and say some really awful stuff about pretty much everyone. Every club, every student group, every sports team, every professor. But today I realized that each time I was just disguising something I hated in myself.”
Several other students, inspired by Borstein’s honesty, followed his example. According to senior Betty Kint, “A month ago someone was playing loud music in their apartment one weekend. So I took to Yik Yak and told them to STFU. And it got likes. Like, a lot of likes. But I think I was just lonely and wished I could have a reason to play loud music.” The President of the college even issued an email to the student body praising the recent string of “brave, courageous confessions.”
Despite such glimpses of candor and self-reflection, however, the tone on Yik Yak has yet to change. “I just hate it when people try to participate in class,” griped a red sailboat down on her grades. “Why are the girls here so ugly,” complained a green tipi frustrated with his own self-image. “Davidson is the worst. Nothing ever happens here,” declared a yellow compass fully aware that if only she involved herself in the community instead of sitting angrily on the couch waiting for Yik Yak to refresh, she might not hate her situation so much.
One student came forward with a message markedly different from Borstein’s. Benny Dickerson, a sophomore from Houston, claimed that this is all part of the suffocating, politically correct culture Davidson promotes. “There are literally no girls here who will ingratiate your every sexual craving whenever you want it. We have all these nice guys like me who don’t get what they deserve. It’s literally a tragedy,” he said. When pressed further, he claimed that “Yik Yak gives us a way to speak the truth. I don’t hate myself, I hate this place for not appeasing my every destructive whim.” When asked if he had considered the fact that he may just be unpleasant, misogynistic, or just an all-around loser, Dickerson would have none of it. “No way. It’s just part of the culture.”
Part of the culture indeed.