As someone who penned an eight-hundred-word editor’s pick on the HBO series “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver,” it is no secret that I have an affinity for comedic news, and whether you like it or not, it is undeniably a popular trend. It combines some of my favorite things — hilarity, relevance, wit and a deep understanding and concern for the current state of the world.
Comedic news is biting, but lighthearted. It is sincere, but sarcastic. It packs punches without being downright mean. It is funny because it is uncomfortable and it is uncomfortable because it holds elements of truth. It is thought-provoking in a way that you probably don’t realize unless you ask yourself why you are laughing. It doesn’t always hit all the right points, but it tries to.
This is how I see The Ramtime Times, the guilty pleasure blog that has, as of late, not only covered a changing campus climate, but become a catalyst for it.
Unless you are a freshman, or you have been living without wifi access for the past three years, you have probably come across this blog on a myriad of social media outlets. While satirical news often embeds its opinions not so subtly between the lines of critical text, there is a lot to say about the delivery of its messages. In my opinion, it proves just how much comedic talent its writers have, as well as how deeply perceptive a sometimes seemingly apathetic student body can be.
Fordham University’s version of The Onion arose from the anonymity of the internet in 2012, gaining its initial momentum from the Ann Coulter controversy that incited a wealth of student activism and put the university at the center of a national conversation. It was a tense time, an unsettling time…and it was also a ridiculous time. The blog gunned out somewhat partisan but hilariously composed posts about the relationship between Coulter, Bill O’Reilly and the university at large. The opinions became sharper and wittier as the blog gained traction and steady readership.
The Ramtime Times showcases our student body’s ability to think critically and question. It generates laughs from slapstick spoofs of Toothless Danny, but moreso for its wit and underlying intelligence behind issues of deeper concern. The irony of former commencement speakers ranging from controversial former CIA chief John Brennan to downright inappropriate Bill Cosby did not go unnoticed by those anonymous writers, who satirically penned an article about Fordham’s decision to invite the wife of the president of Ghana last year in an article entitled “Administration Accidentally Chooses Commencement Speaker with No Human Rights Offenses.”
The fake interview with Rev. Joseph M. McShane, S.J., president of hte university hit all the right buttons. (“I said ‘get me whoever runs Gitmo,’ and I guess they heard ‘get me the wife of whoever runs Ghana.’”)
Throughout the years, The Ramtime Times has captured sentiments shared by many students, though not easily vocalized. It has both mocked the Gabelli-Rose Hill rivalry while capitulating why it continues to exist. It posits valuable questions, such as whether or not the Calder Center is a real place. I’m still not sold on that one.
In my two years at Fordham, I have found it hard to deny that our climate can seem ridiculous, especially when decisions made by a nebulous “higher up” reach our ears. Did we ever have Monday class last semester? (Read: “Rose Hill Classes Cancelled Basically out of Habit”). Was anyone surprised that our homogeneous student body picked the preppy Kentucky Derby theme for Under the Tent? (Read: “Historically White, Wealthy Event Chosen as Dance Theme for Historically White, Wealthy University”)?
Why does CAB wait until the last possibly moment to release the name of the headliner, almost predictably someone anonymous, in exchange for Facebook likes? (Read: any blog post written during Spring Weekend)
I love Fordham. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t spend almost 20 hours a week entrenching myself in university news and attempting to deliver it to the student body. But I am so happy that The Ramtime Times exists, because it represents a group of young adults that aren’t apathetic or ignorant, but highly intelligent and intensely talented.