Mordini: Where are they now presents The VU Times

Jessie Markovetz

It was recently brought to my attention that the health center is no longer going to dispense salt as a means of medical aid, as personnel will now be substituting the popular condiment with actual medicine that may actually improve health.

Just kidding. That’s just a humorous anecdote designed to “hook” the reader into the story, which has nothing to do with salt or the health center. The actual topic for today is the campus publication lovingly tabbed The Villanova Times that, I’m told, produced another edition sometime this semester.

If you are an upperclassman, you are probably shocked to hear that the organization still exists. If you are a freshman, you probably have never heard of the Times, which made itself a lot of enemies back when it was regularly published because of its liberal stance on fundamental ideas like truth, ethics and accuracy.

I, however, am all in favor of the Times, even though some people feel that we need another student publication as little as we need a biology department.

Now before I get angry letters full of typos from bio majors who don’t have a sense of humor or newspaper style, let me just say this: I don’t agree with such a comparison. I think the Times is far more practical than the bio department, so let’s take the greenhouse the school built a few years ago and turn it into an office for the Times editors, who have complained about a lack of equipment and space ever since the publication was known as The Conservative Column.

The Times is an important outlet for students who classify The Villanovan as a “stuffy” newspaper that is “too concerned with printing actual campus news” and “doesn’t print any irrelevant nonsense,” with the obvious exception of this column. Whenever you tire of the kind of reporting that drives our public relations department nuts, because it is both accurate and damning, there’s always The Villanova Times, which has prided itself on its alternative news coverage and opinion writing, featuring passionately written columns about how even though Ronald Reagan committed some of the greatest atrocities in the post-World War II era, CBS shouldn’t air a program exposing him as the demonic monster he is.

But the humor doesn’t end there. Even the publication’s flag, which advertises that it is “Villanova’s Only Award-Winning Newspaper,” is a throwaway (get it?) joke meant to clue the reader in to the fact that nothing you read on its pages is true.

Its fun-loving disregard for hard-hitting stories is clearly reflected in the headlines. In its brief history, this publication has come up with such unforgettable headlines as “Hoops Mania to Oops Mania” and “Let’s Play Dress Up.” These gems alone speak to the immeasurable value of this publication on campus.

Of late, The Villanovan has been trying to match the Times in terms of artistic headlines – a recent sports head declared that the Wildcats were “slain” by Rutgers – but they have a long way to go if they want to match the storied tradition of the Times.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the only part of the Times that doesn’t earn a chuckle is its vaunted “Good Times” humor section, which takes Pretend Journalism to a low beneath even that of former New York Times plagiarist Jayson Blair. It is no mere coincidence that the vacuous articles in this section are immensely popular with bio majors.

In recent times, the publication has tried to break from its past and become a source of alterative news, which is really a shame, because I miss stories likening public safety’s presence on campus to the U.S. military occupation in Iraq. So even though it wasn’t exactly journalism, I miss the publication that came out almost every other week as opposed to three times a semester. Here’s hoping that the Times can make a glorious drive for five issues this year, in case I have nothing else to poke fun at next week.

Except for the health center, I mean.