Please don’t believe anything I write

But seriously, I’m not serious, and even when I am, you can assume I’m not. Got it? I thought so.

Mat Koehler

Although my column’s print-version picture shows me pointing at my head (as if I’m capable of intellectual discourse), my writing hardly follows suit. So after a few years of confusion, hate mail and calls from campus deans, I’ve decided to clear the air and proclaim that my columns are, in fact, written by a helper monkey with a laptop.

Ah, no, that’s not what I meant. What I’m trying to say is my columns are usually written with a couple of goals in mind. The first is to smear on so much sarcasm that readers don’t know whether to hate me or to hate my writing. The other is, ideally, to provide some sort of entertainment in an otherwise stodgy opinions page. (By choosing the word stodgy, I hope I’ve avoided the steel fist of my suppressive editor, who is swollen with Op/Ed pride.)

But seriously, I’m not serious, and even when I am, you can assume I’m not. Got it? I thought so.

The reason I’m writing this self-exposé is I’ve been getting dreadful amounts of hate mail lately. After my last column, I found two harshly worded e-mails in my inbox. Two! I can’t live like this. My approval rating is now at least 99 percent, down from the perfect mark I assumed I had.

See, that remark was in jest, people. Same with when I mentioned taking over our student government and instituting a rickshaw transportation service, when I argued that Carlson students were all the same or when I wrote about the 80 or so kittens I keep in my bedroom.

Well, actually, one of those views is true, but I’ll let you figure that out.

The bottom line is that my readers are expected to have a certain grasp of sarcasm and an “all-in-good-fun” attitude. I put that expectation on the reader because then I don’t have to think about what I write. Even now, I’m typing without a thought in my head. Isn’t this how most columnists do it? It sure worked for Marty Andrade.

Oh, but I kid. My approach aims to keep readers on their toes and perhaps rile up a little controversy, so naturally e-mails of criticism are expected. However, sometimes it goes too far and gets ugly. Imagine someone sending in hate mail to The Onion, complaining of incorrect facts. Now picture The Onion replying with, “Thanks for the bit of satire and for your support.” Such is my dilemma, as I can’t tell whether the e-mails I get are serious or whether they copy my crappy style.

To be safe, I’m just going to answer all my e-mails the same way, namely with an automated message describing how to get a free autographed 8-by-10 photo of me, Mat Koehler. Whoa, hold on ladies, I’m just joshing, remember?

I’m probably giving myself too much credit with this column because it assumes people are actually reading it – but oh well. Better safe than sorry, and with a herd of unfamiliar first-years potentially eying my articles, I’d like to limit the whiny hate mail.

So please allow me to trudge on this year, writing columns that deserve no scholarly analysis. Just don’t let my helper monkey know I wrote that. He’d be pissed.

Mat Koehler welcomes comments at [email protected]