If Professor Emeritus Douglas Archibald's essay ("Being a Liberal," winter 2006 Colby) had appeared in another publication--the op-ed page of the New York Times or the Boston Globe--it might not have raised such a stir. But presented as The Last Page offering in Colby, Archibald's comparison of the place of the liberal today and in the Sixties--and his pointed criticism of the policies of the Bush Administration--moved some alumni to weigh in from the right.
Three letters appear on page three of this issue. References have appeared in conservative blogs. Another alumnus said he might respond with an essay of his own, written from the perspective of a conservative of the same generation as Archibald. As I write this, that essay has not arrived. But that same fellow also asked exactly what it is that we see as the purpose of The Last Page.
So here goes. (Don't worry; I'll keep it brief.)
We see the magazine, like the College, as a forum for exploration and debate of ideas--political, philosophical, social, and otherwise. We hope we present all that in a way that is fair to a wide spectrum of views. The same issue in which Archibald was published included a feature on two alumni rising fast in the world of conservative talk radio and a profile of Sean McCormack '86, spokesman for Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
The Last Page is a place in the magazine that should surprise, provoke, intrigue, inform, or entertain readers. If that sounds broad, it's intended to be. We invite submissions on virtually any topic that would be of interest to our readers.
The essay by Rebecca Munsterer '01 in this issue is a case in point. A piece on an alumna's college dream man? What does that have to do with a retired professor's unabashedly liberal politics?
Nothing. And everything, in that both offer an opportunity to share the carefully written reflections of a member of the Colby community.
What's next? Hard to say. Perhaps that carefully crafted conservative counterpoint will arrive. If not, we have several other submissions to consider. Stay tuned.
Editor's note: We mean to inform readers--not to puzzle them. So we were remiss in not identifying the young woman on the cover of the winter 2006 issue. Playing her flute in the hayloft is Ann Marchaland '07, who was profiled in the feature "A Long Way From Home," about first-generation college students. If you missed it, the story is online at www.colby.edu/colby.mag/firstgen.
We can report that Marchaland, a music major from a farming community in upstate New York, is not only a gifted musician but a gracious, good sport.
Gerry Boyle '78, P'06